Nationalism should not be barred by distance
By Apolinario Villalobos
Filipinos who are fortunate to be living elsewhere – United States, Europe, Asian and Mediterranean countries should not distance themselves from their country of birth, short of despising the suffering Filipinos left behind. First and foremost in the mind of the overseas compatriots should be the thought that their host countries granted them citizenship or green card, because they are hardworking and trustworthy “Filipinos”. The color of their skin, accent, and aching for indigenous Filipino food, are lifetime marks that will never be erased from their persona, anywhere they go. They should not be ashamed of the present situation of the country. The Philippines may be run by corrupt officials, but these selfish citizens should not give overseas Filipinos reason to detest the country, as those who are left behind, and who still have the true Filipino spirit in their person are moving heaven and earth in their fight for changes, how elusive they may be.
Although, it is true that during campaign period prior to election, vote buying is rampant, there is a question on how the hungry compatriots can be blamed in the face of desperation, so that some Catholic bishops, even would go to the extent of telling their hungry flock to just accept the bribe but follow their conscience. A person who did not experience going hungry for days will never understand the feeling of being tempted with fifty pesos…how much more for a thousand pesos in exchange for one vote?
It is not enough that those who got paid for their votes be told that they should have not accepted the money in the first place. Perhaps what brothers and sisters out there can do is think of suggestions on how those wallowing in grief can alleviate their lot through other doable means. Unfortunately, it might be difficult to make suggestions if one has not been to slums. Looking at the flat shared photos and videos in the social media is not enough, although, they can move viewers to tears.
My suggestions are for those out there to stop making remarks that cannot help but just emphasize the sorry state of the unfortunate as seen in photos and videos. They should offer prayers, instead….as something is being done anyway, and despite the difficulty, the fight goes on – a hurting reality. At least, with prayer, those out there are able to let the Lord know, that they are showing their “realistic” concern and sympathy….yes, realistic, and hopefully without a tint of hypocrisy!