A pack of noodles, a shovel and busloads of bullets

June 25, 2008 § Leave a comment


It is always said that Filipinos always rise to the occasion. You see Pinoys smashing their piggy banks a few days before a fiesta.  You see Pinoys going to that 5-6 guy and loan 250,000 pesos just to give Inday her airfare to Taiwan (and going back, penniless, a victim of illegal recruitment). And you see farmers selling their carabaos for Juan’s tuition fee in one dingy little university.


Filipinos do indeed rise up to the occasion when they, themselves, are affected. When the entire nation is, they see no reason to rise up from their stupor. It’s only the intelligentsia who do that.


We see Filipinos rushing to the streets when they smell blood. Look at those two EDSA coups. Filipinos ran to EDSA when everybody else knew Marcos was gasping his last breath as a leader. We saw Erap’s friends, even Nora, going to the same shrine when they saw power-hungry generals on stage with Gloria in that infamous EDSA dos.


We didn’t see Pinoys rushing toward the aid of JLo when he cried foul over that airport fiasco. Nor did we see Pinoys going to Congress, when legislators were cutting off JDV’s head. Only a few hundreds went to Welcome Rotonda when Gloria cheated FPJ.


We saw Pinoys nearly smashing the gates of the palace in what was described as EDSA tres. We saw an enraged nation when a maid was hanged in Singapore, but we didn’t see it when another head was cut off in Saudi Arabia.


When gasoline prices shot up to 60 pesos per liter recently, we heard no whimper. A few militants massed up in Makati today, but no fireworks were seen. When price of rice went up to 40 pesos per kilo, yes, we saw Pinoys lining up in NFA distribution outlets despite the heat of the sun. Yet, nothing, absolutely nothing, no dissent there.


Now this.


When mudslides killed thousands in Leyte and Antipolo, we saw people express outrage. After the usual finger pointing and being exposed to it for a few weeks, interest waned and we forgot all about it. That’s also the case with that oil spill which destroyed Guimaras or that tanker collision off the coast of Romblon.


We felt anger when we found Gloria dipping her tiny fingers into the ZTE deal. But, it was more of feeling “why her, it should have been me”. We felt cheated when Bedol manipulated those election returns in Mindanao but forgot about him when the papers stopped writing about his dastardly crime.


Tis not a “sinking” feeling that we feel right now. Rather, a virus called “senseless defeatism” afflicts us.


When we’re faced with difficulties, do we say “mag-alsa” (fight or rise up)? No. Many of us would say “mag alsa balutan” or go some place else instead of struggling it out here.


When someone did us violence, do we say, “let’s seek justice”? We say, let’s compromise. “Daanin sa paupo ang pwedeng kunin nang di nakatayo.”


When scores are killed due to the obvious negligence of a few officials and Sulpicio Line executives, we say, just let us go to Cebu and identify our relatives who died. Or be comforted by 200,000 pesos per casualty that would make us happy.


Or, be comforted by a solution—not let those ships sail when there’s signal number one. Or, be comforted seeing all those officials meeting in Malacanang busy talking while no rescue missions were sent to at least look for survivors.


Are we to let this travesty pass the scrutiny of Lady Justice once more? Are we to allow Sulpicio Line executives and Coast Guard officials get off the hook another time, with just a fine and a laundered report?


That man who went up to that Sulpicio Lines tower reminds us of another who went to an airport tower and got himself killed. Both were asking the heavens for answers, only to find that God was deaf at that time.


When faced with a pack of noodles, what do we say? Are we to eat them or use that shovel to find others buried in those mudslides? Or are we to use a busload of bullets and seek justice that, for so long, has evaded us?


Change is what we seek. Yet, change cannot and will not happen when we give those pack of noodles to those victims of injustice.  


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