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Thursday, March 31, 2005

In the name of our flag

The disunity among us Filipinos is the major factor that keeps country from moving forward. We are a deeply divided nation. Since the 1986 People Power revolution, our division has never been healed. When Cory Aquino was swept to power, we had the loyalists making so much noise. It is really hard to tell how huge the following of Marcos loyalists but they indeed created a lot of noise not just in the streets but also the media. Cory's presidency was marked with a lot of coup attempts. These coups also show the deep divide inside the military.

When Fidel Ramos came to power, his presidency was marked with relative calm in the political front. Miriam Defensor Santiago created some noise with her allegation of cheating but her supporters simply faded away after the election. With relative peace on the political front, Ramos was able to make some headway in our economy until the financial crisis struck in 1997.

Erap's ouster from Malacanang brought back the deep division. Another people power, another divide. The Erap supporters were almost able to storm Malacanang on that fateful May 1 incident. Since then, Erap supporters have been very critical of this present administration and almost swept FPJ to presidency, if only they were not cheated, as they claim.

And the divide is always there. This does not even take into consideration the divide of the left and of our Muslim brothers. They have their own ideological agenda. The divide mentioned here is not about ideology but personality and it is pulling us down.

But we do have our moments of unity. Everytime Manny Pacquiao goes to the ring, we're all united cheering for him. In times of calamity such as the earthquake of 1990, the Pinatubo eruption of 1991 and the recent landslides in Quezon, we have shown how we can come together to help our affected brothers and sisters. Do we need more Angelo dela Cruz and Flor Contemplacion to come togetehr as a nation? In 1998, we came together as a people to celebrate the centennial of our independence. But on June 13, 1998, when the fireworks are gone, so did unity, nationalism and patriotism.

When will we ever sustain a sense of unity among our people? A sense of nationalism that doesn't happen only every June 12. Do we have wait for the next calamity to hit us? Or do we have to wait for our bicentennial? Can't we forge that sense of unity NOW?

Not now, not yet but it can be done. It can be done. We don't have to wait for the next disaster to happen nor the 200th anniversary of our independence. We don't need to see another adventurism in the military imposing their will on us. This will only make matters worse. We only need ourselves to do the things necessary to forge unity. It can be done through our flag.

Our flag knows no political persuasion, regional affiliation, ethnic division nor economic status. Our flag is our symbol. It represents our nation. We may differ in our political opinions. We may speak different dialects. We may differ in our religious convictions. We may differ in cultural practices. We may differ in so many things but one thing cannot be denied. We cannot differ when it comes to flag. Red, white and blue. Three stars and sun with eight rays. That's the flag for each and every Filipino.

Our disunity is a reflection of how we have been treating our flag. We do not take our flag seriously. We let old and tattered flags flatter on their lonesome reflecting the sorry state of our nation. To most of us, the flag is just a piece of cloth that doesn't deserve respect. How can we be respected in the community of nations if we cannot even respect our symbol. For as long as we remain disunited, our flag will always be treated the way we treat it now. Or is it the other way around? That is, because of how we treat our flag, we have remained disunited.

Let each and every Filipino treat our flag with respect. Let us revere our flag. Slowly we will see some form of unity. There will be no political issues. It will simply be a call for the respect of our flag. But it has to go beyond that. We should call on our people to display our flag proudly wherever they can. We should embark on a massive campaign to reach the most number of Filipinos here and abroad to display our flag proudly. With this call, our people will no longer be passive but become active participants of social transformation. Social transformation that will be inspired by our flag.

Let us admit it. We have cultural defects. Filipino time, ningas cogon, bahala na, pwede na, baka sakaling makalusot just to name a few negative attitudes. We lack discipline. Ours is a spending instead of a saving culture. We are not innovative and afraid of risks. Putting up a sari sari store or having a tricycle is the only business that we know. Buy Filipino still has a long way to go. But what has the flag got to do with these cultural malaise? We will inspire change through our flag.

After embarking on a campaign of displaying our flag and sustaining it, we will move on to the next level. Through a media campaign, we will call on our people to reject these attitudes that don't help in our advance as a nation. Just like a new religious convert who rejects Satan in the name of Jesus, we call on our people to change our attitudes in the name of our flag. And in the name of our flag, we will not bride nor accept bribes. And in the name of our flag, we will reject trapos and elect only those that who will truly serve the people and not enrich themselves in power. In the name of our flag, we can transform our society and make a better future for the next generation.

We do not need a bloody revolution or another people power. We are tired of coup d etats. We have had enough dose of political bickering. We cannot wait for the next election. We have to move now. We have to act now. Time is running out. Let us effect change through our flag.

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