August 26, 2013, Heroes Day. In Luneta, as well as, in other parts of the country and of the world, people from all walks of life gathered: students from different colleges and universities, employees, OFWs, families, activists, tv personalities, professors, vendors, and all the ordinary people converging to a common goal. On that day, we vented out a demand to abolish the twisted pork barrel system and, ultimately, to change the nation.
It is true that the protest wasn't that organized, as some people claimed—with different programs scheduled by different organizations— it, nevertheless, met its agenda: to show that we had enough! That we want change! Until this day, September 15, 2013, a series of mass movement have been organized to let the government know this demand (we are the “bosses” of the president anyway).
September 13, Friday. I returned to Luneta for another rally noticeable was the well executed program that sustained the attention of those who attended. The program was initiated by various religious groups for a prayer. Too various speakers took the stage, sharing their sentiments, providing us with different points of view, of different perspectives on how corruption and the system robbed people of opportunities and abused their rights. Not to mention performances of artists: Darryl Shy, Didi Garcellano, Abra, Jesse Santiago and many more. The night was packed indeed.
But I wonder how much can we sustain this. As I look at the composition of the crowd last Friday, I asked myself how many would go to the next rally, and to the next, until the transformation in our society is actualized. What would sustain the flames which have belched forth during Heroes Day?
It is no secret that the Philippines have been rocked by seismic scandals: the ZTE deal, the Erap impeachment case, the fertilizer scam, the hello Garci recording, the Corona impeachment (the main accusation being was corruption). I am pretty sure that there is more I forgot to mention. But what have come about from these investigations? Everyone goes missing or under hospital arrest. The guilty lives in suites while the many have barely a roof above their heads. Come on! We are being made fool of.
We saw time and again that these news are replaced the next day; from ZTE to Kris Aquino-Joey Marquez love foibles (if I recall correctly), and so on, until our collective memory of the issue is buried under rubble of information. My concern was such fate might also befall the Napoles case. Now, the problem is: THERE IS NO BIGGER CASE THAN THIS! If we sleep over this issue once more the nation might be anesthetized, and get used to it. Like the asinine traffic schemes implemented: we get used to it!
And so, when this issue gets buried again, when our consciousness tires, would we ever awaken again? Because if we do not take action—if we just complain and not act!—if we slumber past this issue, like having rattled the termites from a tree, the schemes of corruption will take its grip even tighter, its roots will bury even deeper, more complex. Then they’ll resume siphoning not only the national coffers; they rob us not only of money but of opportunities to a better life, of a means to ever dream. The damage: bearing mark from generations to generations. Yes! In our sleep, the nightmares that haunted us as a nation will continue. The injustice that we have swallowed will forever choke us.
Remember the proverbial saying, “what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.” The same could be said to corruption and the parasites in the government. May we be awake and continue to fan the flames that led us to Luneta!