LOUD WHISPERS| The next president should lead us to the road of freedom

THE PHILIPPINES is now more than a century-old independent country. We must be jubilant and proud that we have reached this age. We must celebrate and there’s a reason for the celebration. We are free as a nation. We are not dependent on other powers that be. We have survived independently without having to be enslaved by other nations of wealth and power. (Albeit, as of now.) We are not controlled by foreign invaders and local dictators. However, this democratic way of life, the legacy of the Americans to the Filipinos, is something that is gradually fading out, it seems, as events have proven it.

       But are we absolutely independent? Democracy embodies equality, liberty and freedom of pursuit. It is a symbol of the Filipinos’ strength and aspiration. It is defined by government as, “government of the people, by the people and of the people.” What is this “it’? It means an “independent government.” Since democracy or freedom has been born out of our courage and determination, it has been the dream of every Filipino that he shall become free and emancipated from the shackels of poverty, terrorism, invasion and war. We stand and live freely as individuals but we feel we are still shackled to an iron chain of poverty and limited resources.

     With our present squabble with a foreign Asian country like China, we seem to be losing the war. We seem to have limited powers to overcome this struggle. China seemingly wants to invade our territorial seas, waters and shores. But more than the land that they really are interested in, the Philippine sea is very reach in enormous marine life and raw minerals that are found beneath and under our territorial waters. The Philippine Sea is a treasure. We have to cherish and keep this because this is manna from God our Creator and our Redeemer.

       In fact, literally speaking, there are jewels not only along the Philippine shores but also underneath the wonderful waters that surround and dominate this globe. For this, we must be grateful and be happy. We must not allow foreign invaders to take these rare jewels away from us. But if we are truly independent and free, we have to fight for this, alone, without seeking support and help from the so-called powerful nations and the first-world states. But, can we fight the battle alone? Do we have the means? Do we have the resources? We have, of course, but not enough to topple down the enemy. It seems then that our dream of full freedom is gradually becoming a distant reality.

     Any human being responds naturally to the principle of freedom. What then could be more appropriate and fitting to the common tao than to a government system where his voice is heard, where, small as he is, he could express his thoughts freely and is warranted the attention of the new Leadership, where he takes decisive participation in great strides for his country. He also wishes that when he walks down the street, he walks with an air of a free man.

     It seems that there still resounds in our midst, sad commentary that such is not the case. The ideals of democracy have not been imbibed by Juan de la Cruz. For him, the constitution is imperfect and obscure. It needs to be reviewed and refined. There should be a charter change, I

think, because of the advent of a new government entity within the Philippine government system, all or everything will have to be changed or expanded to fit into the requirements of the new government entity, i.e., the Bangsamoro entity or the other way around – the Bangsamoro Basic Law to fit into the existing Philippine Constitution.

     This is my question: Can the President, our leader, lead us to the next journey to the road of freedom? Let us remember that the objective of democracy is to expand the range of the individual’s choice. As one philosopher pointed out, freedom cannot be separated from human development and the absence of human development in freedom is not longer our country’s concern alone – it is an international concern with international press bringing freedom to our doorsteps.

     Political experts often argue on the definition of absolute freedom saying that freedom is difficult to measure. They say that freedom is so deep-rooted that it cannot be quantified, as the act of measuring it can diminish its value. On the other hand, some also argue that while literature, art, beauty and life can be judged, why not freedom? Our lessons in the past tell us that in politics, freedom means: multiparty system, fair elections, justice, human rights, or freedom of the press.

     Let us be reminded too, that the ordinary people toppled down the dictator’s regime in the Philippines more than a decade ago. This was already a manifestation and indication of freedom. Freedom in governance means: 1) freedom to participate in decision-making; 2) rule of law; 3) political participation; 4) equality of opportunity; and 5) freedom of expression. These and others are the responsibilities of the four branches of government: executive, judiciary, legislative and the press.

       I hope therefore, that with the squabble between the Philippines and a foreign country, we will feel freedom in our hearts and souls. Let not the foreign invaders claim our Philippine shores. Let’s pray harder for this dream, else…. We’ll go down to the dogs!!! (FVS)

Posted in Opinion