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EDITORIAL: Yesterday best mentor of today and tomorrow

Perennially looking back is not only impractical but also very risky. But stiffly moving forward ignores the past which is a very important guidepost in moving ahead. Indeed, yesterday is the best teacher of today and tomorrow, holistically speaking.

We do not look back but ahead that is the marching order of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. In Pilipino, it means “Hindi kami lumilingon. Abante lang kami”. In Bikol, it can be translated this way—”Dae kami masalingoy. Dagos lang kami”.

This policy statement of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. runs directly contrary to the Pilipino motto “Ang taong hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan hindi makararating sa kanyang paroroonan.” Roughly translated in English, it means one who does not look back will not arrive at his destination. The Bikol translation is more straightforward. “An dae tataong magsalingoy sa pinaghalean dae makakaabot sa papadumanan.”

Admittedly, looking back at all times is a very negative attitude. It opens the prospect of encountering obstacles along the way because that is practically moving ahead almost in a blind manner. But to be looking forward at all times has its disadvantages particularly when it comes to planning and management.

It is basic in planning that we start with a background, taking under consideration an inventory of resources as well as the experiences gone through by the target beneficiaries. By so doing, the people’s sentiments are given serious consideration, particularly in weighing either the social advantages or disadvantages. Social planners term this as social acceptability. Surveys towards this end are even conducted.

Given such situation, it is important that while planning for the future, looking back periodically is a must. On this point, the horrors of the past cannot be totally disregarded. Otherwise, the abuses committed during the conjugal dictatorship will simply be forgotten without ascertaining the facts in order to ferret out the truth and render justice.

Efforts may be necessarily resorted to, especially with the end in view of attaining national unity at which point forgiveness may be solicited. But it will be very hard to attain this, unless there is apology given. The situation becomes more complicated if the offender behaves more like a victim. This is a very bitter pill for those who have suffered the atrocities.

Decades have already elapsed since the collapse of the military rule and for this reason men and women bearing olive leaves have to play a vital role. A very general call for peace and unity is empty and may even be hypocritical.

Violation of human rights has also been very prominent during the immediate past administration. While it sought to rid the nation of drug users, it also created an equally disturbing grave abuse of power and therefore set aside due process.

The call for national unity had been a very effective political propaganda. Now that reality has already set in, it is time to uncover the details leading to national unity.

Being too simplistic in asserting that the people’s dreams are President Marcos Jr’s too, is bereft of reality-based pronouncements. Time to wake up and be realistic in going to the drawing table armed with the complete grasp of the past for it to be used for today and tomorrow. Otherwise, unity shall remain a dream, hopefully not hallucinations.

Be that as it may, any sincere call for peace and unity deserves to be accorded a serious treatment. We have no better choice anyway and the best course of action should be geared towards reconciliation, provided the final outcome satisfies the basic requirements in order to attain truth and justice. In this regard, pragmatism dictates that absolute victory is not asserted. At the end of the day a doable compromise is better than an empty victory.


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