Patriotism is manifested not only in word but also in creed and deed.
I am proud to say that I love my country and my government. Though there are many elements in our culture that we need to change, I can still say that we, as a nation, are moving forward. We may be light years away from being a first-world nation, but we are getting there.
Why am I saying that we are on our way to progress and eventual prosperity once again?
First of all, our government- led by the patriotic, compassionate, and proactive President Rodrigo RoaDuterte- has been successful in eradicating crime, corruption, and communism in our country, and it shows (though there are many who turn a blind eye on PRRD’s accomplishments). Second, our country has one of the most proactive strategies in minimizing the number of active COVID cases (I have been immunized, and it has been a liberating experience for me). Third, the active war against drugs, insurgency, communism, and anarchy is consistently being implemented and I thank the government for making our country a very safe place to live in.
Despite the number of elements in governance that leave much to be desired, including the state of education, our government is doing much better than before. I am not being hagiographic here because I am not blind to the dark realities of our society. PRRD may have his shortcomings, but I love him as the father of our nation and even as he steps down in a year and three weeks, I will still have my highest respect for him.
As I write this article (June 10), I believe that we are waiting for two more days before Independence Day, which we celebrate as a holiday. Independence Day is more than a holiday because we should consider it the birthday of a free and sovereign Philippines.
Harking back to history, we first gained our independence on June 12, 1898 (which fell on a Sunday) but temporarily lost it when the Americans came in and subjugated us in 1899.
Though America granted us our independence on July 04, 1946, then-president Diosdado Macapagal declared in 1962 that our actual independence day is on the 12th.
Though our nation celebrates June 12 as a very special day, there are some who are seemingly apathetic to it. These people would rather go on vacation or sleep (I do not blame them, though) than reminisce the valiant efforts of our heroes in fighting for Philippine independence and join (at least virtually and remotely) the ceremonies celebrating our independence day.
For me, June 12 is for all Filipinos, regardless of ethnic group, creed, and political belief.
Why is this so?
As a country with diverse ethnic groups and cultures, we must realize that we are united as a nation and that we must keep it that way. We must also honor, respect, and work hand in hand with our fellow Filipinos without any reservations.
We may be an archipelago, but that should not stop us from reaching out to our fellow Filipinos even online. For instance, whenever there are armed conflicts, we must show solidarity by praying for those caught in the crossfire. Another example could be that we must help our fellow Filipinos who have been displaced by natural or human-caused calamities instead of condemning or belittling them. We could also reach out to our fellow Filipinos by patronizing their products and using them, especially now that the one town, one product (OTOP) program is now in force.
I do not blame those who have no love lost for our leaders, but all I can say is that I am proud to be Filipino and I love my government because our leaders are doing their best to arrest the pernicious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest caused by lawless elements. They exemplify patriotism, selflessness, and sense of commitment to our country and our people. Nonetheless, they have shortcomings but these are far outweighed by their good deeds.
How should we continue to celebrate our independence and sovereignty even after we celebrate Independence Day annually? These are my practical tips (of course written in the context of the current pandemic):
- Follow our laws, especially laws pertaining to respect for life and property.
- Appreciate our frontline workers by thanking them for their efforts instead of mocking, patronizing, or denigrating them especially on social media.
- Pursue your education, whether through online or modular modalities, instead of merely dropping out (this concerns especially the youth). Do not complain about your teachers and your lessons because you are very lucky to have been given education.
- Have yourselves vaccinated right away because it would redound to your better health.
- Follow safety protocols wherever you are.
- Respect our law enforcers because most of them are law-abiding, compassionate, honest, erudite, and kind.
7.Be honest and responsible especially in our professional and financial dealings. Veracity begins with us and is contagious.
- Talk about our country in a positive light, especially to foreigners. We are ambassadors of our country and so we must be paragons of true patriotism, not jingoism or xenophobia.
- Vote wisely. Enough said.
- Learn our local languages and observe proper grammar, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Using our national language erroneously as a force of habit is unbecoming of a real Filipino (exceptions are those born and raised on foreign soil or those who are foreigners who are expats here).
- Respect our elders and authority figures. Use po and opo.
- Pray for our country. Once again, enough said. No ifs and buts.
Our love for our country must be ceaseless and limitless. In doing so, we Filipinos would become peerless in terms of respect, unity, and patriotism.
Happy 123rd Independence Day!
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