Monday, May 10, 2010

The One Little Thing I Did for My Country

Dear God, thank you that I am a Filipino. Thank you that I can show my respect and love for my country with this privilege and right to vote. Thank you because whatever happens today, everything is under your sovereignty. Amen.

I whispered this prayer as I climbed the stairs to the third floor to find my precinct and cast my vote. I was still undecided as who to vote, though one presidential candidate’s name rang over and over in my head. Nothing was certain except the fact that only God holds the future. I knew then how crucial it was to trust that God will see the whole Filipino nation through this electoral process.

It has been a long journey to this day. There was much fear especially when the precinct count optical scanner (PCOS) machines started failing one after another during trials. Many predicted doom while others remained optimistic. Many feared the worst while many also hoped for the best. Many were apathetic while others remained passionate about their candidate of choice. Colors were all over the place. I think after this election, at least for a few years, yellow, green, blue, orange and red would always have their political connotation.

Regardless of what color we took to the polls, I believe that when all is said and done, the next best thing to do is to be true Filipinos. This means after we have fulfilled our duty to elect our leaders, we need to put our allegiance to our country. When the winners are proclaimed, losers should humbly accept it. When the new president, vice president, senators and local officials have been given their seat of leadership, we should “give to Caesar what is due him.” When the new government rolls, we should go with it regardless of who is in command. But above all, we should safeguard the legacy of those who have gone before us so that we may have something to bequeath to those coming after us: the legacy of a people with dignity, hope, courage, history, culture, faith. Our submission to the authorities does not mean turning a blind eye to unscrupulous individuals who use their government positions to amass wealth at the expense of millions who are starving. Our allegiance to our country means caring for one another for we are all Filipinos under one flag. At the end of the day, our loyalty should be to each other because we belong to one land. And this land gave us our lives, our identity, our heritage. No matter what others say, the Philippines is still our home. No matter how badly the Philippines has been criticized or the Filipinos have been maligned, we are still a nation ruled by our own countrymen. No matter how far away we settle, the Philippines is still our point of origin and our Filipino hearts will always yearn to go back. No matter how good it is to live in another country, it is only in the Philippines where we will be our selves. As Prof. Winnie Monsod said, “I don't care where you are, you go to Hong Kong, you go to Singapore, you're rich, rich, rich, you're still gonna be a second-class citizen anywhere. ANYWHERE, but in the Philippines. Think of what you can do for this country.”

I am married to a foreigner, not because of economic reasons but by matter of faith. When it comes to issues of where to establish our home, without a doubt, I would always say the Philippines is my first choice. It scares me to think of the day when my husband would say, “It’s time to move.” I feel my insides turning into a knot at the thought of surrendering my passport to become a citizen of another nation. I always held the conviction that God did not make me a Filipino for nothing. I am in the Philippines and will not leave it if only to escape the difficulties that plague it. I am a Filipino because I have a purpose to fulfill as a Filipino no matter how big or small it is. After all, there is nothing insignificant in the eyes of the Creator of the universe, who also happens to be the Creator of this land and its people. For now, casting my vote was my one little contribution to my country. I’m glad my right forefinger is stained.

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