Too much doom and gloom, the people hunger for hope

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 20, 2021 - 12:00am

Much more damaging than the COVID-19 virus itself is the prevailing atmosphere of negativism, anger, sadness, and disillusionment that seem to engulf the people these days. Many are blaming the government for its failures to address the problems with a sense of clarity of purpose, focus, and coherence. The government is also resentful of people who are ungrateful for all the things that the government is giving them. There is simply too much finger-pointing while the nation is losing its battle against the virus. The people are hungry for some rays of hope.

At first, I was tempted to join the fray and was on the verge of starting to throw brickbats at the public officials whose seem to be too slow, too incompetent, and too inept in addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic. I felt that there was a lack of unity of purpose among the various agencies of government, and the wrong people have been chosen to manage our coping mechanisms. I was very critical about retired generals being entrusted to manage the purchase of vaccines, instead of medical doctors. I questioned the erratic, disjointed and incoherent lockdowns, swinging from ECQ to MECQ and to all sorts of Q's without rhyme nor reason. I felt then that there was no competence, no sense of priorities and no sense of urgency. I had a strong feeling that the government did not at all know the gravity of the problems, and the officials are too unprepared, groping for options based on ignorance of the true implications of this pandemic.

In the meantime, the people are bewildered, confused, and are restless, insecure and are all in the dark as to how to avoid infection, and on how to survive when the economy is down and jobs are lost. The morale is very low as thousands of small companies and micro enterprises have closed, and millions have lost their means of livelihood. Small shops have closed down and many have decided to stop operations, rather than continue to pay rent while there is no certainty whether there is still hope to recover and reopen. The giving of ayuda is not sustainable as a long-term survival mechanism. The government is drowning in debt amounting to billions and this country has more than 87 million people needing help in a total population of 111 million. Thousands of OFWs have been repatriated and are here with children who had to stop schooling, and their house rent is unpaid with no certainty of being able to go back to their overseas jobs.

And so, in the face of all these, I reflected deep into my inner spirituality and I came to conclusion that to be engulfed by negativism is not the proper response to this pandemic. We have to stand up, be positive, stop blaming others, including the government and decide to become a part of the solution rather than be a part of the problem. In our parish, I proposed to our church organizations to come up with a positive project. We, the church leaders, agree to contribute P10,000 each and put up a cooperative among our neighboring urban settlements. We are embarking on vegetable gardening of all vacant lots growing organic cabbages, onions, tomatoes, camote, and malunggay for distribution to households. Imagine, there are thousands of vacant lots and there are hundreds of men and women who have no jobs. We help address the lack of food and the lack of jobs.

Let us keep our people busy so that we do not have time to be critical, to be too complaining. Let us fight the pandemic with positive action, instead of blaming each other. This is not the time to hit each other. Our common enemy is the virus. Let us hold hands together and create solutions, rather than exacerbate the problem. Let us bring hope to our people. Let us light a small torch in the midst of too much darkness.

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