The Philippines is ours

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - May 15, 2021 - 12:00am

If we are among those who genuinely love and believe that this country is ours, then prove it.

How do we feel about the increasing number and presence of Chinese and their boats in our territorial waters, in POGOs, and in other parts of the Philippines?

We are in the threshold of our history where we are asked to make a clear stand about our country now,

Knowing, understanding, recognizing, and asserting ownership of our own territories, as established and confirmed by historical and present national and international laws, is a crucial step to defending the Philippines as ours, as our country.

Defending, asserting ownership of what is rightfully ours doesn’t mean we are waging war. We are duly claiming our rights to our own territory and the vast resources in our waters, in our land for ourselves as Filipinos, for our forefathers who valiantly fought for our freedom, and for future generations of Filipino children/grandchildren.

Be among those who strongly demand that the present administration clarifies our territories based on solid national and international, past and current records, documents and studies. United, ask the present administration to present solid data/measures that will assure the security of our people and territory, ours too, from possible danger/threat posed by the presence and location of mainland Chinese in various parts of our country.

In our generation, during the daily school flag ceremony, we were required to memorize and recite this old version of Panatang Makabayan (our pledge to our nation): 1-Iniibig ko ang Pilipinas. Ito ang aking lupang sinilangan./3- Ito ang tahanan ng aking lahi./4-Ako’y kanyang kinukupkop at tinutulungan/ 5- Upang maging malakas, maligaya at kapakipakinabang./ 6-Bilang ganti ay diringgin ko ang payo ng aking mga magulang./

7-Susundin ko ang mga tuntunin ng aking paaralan./ 8-Tutuparin ko ang tungkulin ng isang mamamayang makabayan at masunurin sa batas./ 9-Paglilingkuran ko ang aking bayan nang walang pag-iimbot at nang buong katapatan./10 Sisikapin kong maging isang tunay na Pilipino,sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa.

The younger and present generation of Filipinos are reciting a new version that has basically the same first four verses but these notable changes as well.

The new verse 5 replaces “maligaya at kapakipakinabang” with “maging malakas, masipag at marangal.” The new verse 6 replaces the old “bilang ganti” with “dahil mahal ko ang Pilipinas.”

The new version retains the same message of verses 7 and 8 about listening to and following the advice of parents and school. However, the new verse 9 -Tutuparin ko ang tungkuling ng mamamayang makabayan naglilingkod, nag-aaral at (nananalangin) ng buong katapatan and the new verse 10 - iaalay ko ang aking buhay, pangarap, pagsisikap sa bansang Pilipinas are markedly different from the old version.

If asked now what pledge we will offer for our country, people, and ourselves, will we pledge, like the old version, to perform the duties of a patriotic, law-abiding citizen, to serve this country unselfishly and faithfully and to be a true Filipino in thought, in word, and in deed or will we pledge to perform the duties of a patriotic citizen, serving, studying, and praying faithfully and to offer your life, dreams, successes to the Philippine nation?

If you believe that the Philippines is ours, aside from our pledge and assertion of our independence and sovereignty together, we are asked as well to make the Philippines a country that we all want to be part of.

Do all of us Filipinos feel protected by and our basic needs amply, securely provided for by the present government? Are we Filipinos experiencing genuine truth, justice, equality now, here in our country?

Are we now living in the Philippines we want for ourselves and our people?

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