It’s so easy to be cynical. What are you cynical about?
Take the national ambition towards progress, for one. I remember more than 20 years ago, the Philippines was referred to as one of Asia’s economic tiger cubs. Now, the Thais have growled louder than our economy. Vietnam seemed to have forgotten the war and has even maneuvered it to its advantage. At home, we seem to be that cute cub that can’t find for itself how to come to be full-grown, the up and coming actor who won the award for most promising personality, and whose career never really took off the year after. But he’s still around, with shows here and there, still seems promising, but audience just scratch their heads because the promise can’t really find fulfillment. How about politics? Does anyone still remember Pilipinas 2000? That was exciting. After that, we had another revolution because of allegations of corruption from illegal gambling, an administration marred with electoral fraud, another one which is taunted with indecisiveness and now, with violence and conceit as its battle standard. I think we as a people always strive hard to do better each time (or do we really?), but we always somehow manage to miss the mark. Long before Kris Aquino was officially a show business personality, she was making anti-drug TV campaign ads. Everyone seems to agree on its evils. But even now, in an internationally indignation instigating initiatives on illegal substance, it’s still a stench that shoots up our nostrils because it’s creeping up around everywhere. Just try watching local news. It just seems that there’s nothing that could be done; or is it?
Last year, the Philippine tourism industry and the environmental sector witnessed the unthinkable. National government shut down the country’s premiere island getaway. I honestly thought that calling it a cesspool was too much. Yes, maybe it was not ideally clean, but I believed it was far from a pit of pathogens. Yeah, maybe resort owners were irresponsible here and there; but the island’s economy had continued to curlicue. I thought then, maybe it just needs some mild modifications; no need to be harsh. Within me, I was revolting. Why should people’s livelihood be lost for the sake of the serenity of the seascapes? What good is that if the people are hopelessly hungry? Well, that has gone through. Now, recently, they’re doing the same with Manila Bay. Authorities are cleaning it up. I remember there was this infamous video footage of Mayor Erap Estrada’s entourage throwing the trash back to the water while on an inspection tour of the bay. Could they really clean the bay’s waters? I mean, if they could do it, why had they not done it long before? Since they had not, I presume, they could not do it after all. This will probably be one of those pushy projects that take off ambitiously, but don’t really get completed as expected, and just leave abandoned equipment
or unfinished structures that make the landscape a scene of worse worries. But hey, they did clean up Boracay, and so far, they made Manila Bay appear clean (at least).
I’m not going environmental here. Maybe the waters are teaching us some lessons. It all starts with a durable, deliberate decision – a solid will that would be unwavering and unmindful of opposition and condemnation. Peripheral sectors may say this or that, but a pronouncement will positively push through any pillar. This resolution will not consider negotiations with compromises an option. It has simply to put the fortitude of its foot down. To realize restoration, sore sacrifices have to be surrendered. Yes, there will be inconvenience. There will be discomfort. Formerly comfortable lives will be conceded, to the point of temporary displacement or deficiency, with the eventual promise of progress. Real renewal, requires continuous commitment; one that would stay standing strong to the end of a given time frame. The capacity has to carry on to completion, careening off any conflict or contempt along the way.
Die hard Duterte detractors may hate this; but we have to give it to the man. He has proven that rehabilitation and restoration is not forlorn fiction, but an achievable authenticity. He has shown the Filipino people that it could be done if we put our foot down and focus. Now, if we only could do the same with illicit drugs corruption and the economy.
“That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,”