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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We Are Better Than This

So much hate, distrust, and negativity. We claim to be  strong and united, but we ourselves are very quick to depict that our government and our military are useless. This is the time to work together, not point fingers. It’s past time that we realize that the government alone cannot hold this country up. We all need to hold this nation up. I agree that aid should have come sooner, things should have been done better, response could have been faster. But it is always that way in a calamity. In life, generally. It could always be done better. You always wish that things could be better than reality. We wish people were better informed about storm surges. We wish we had roads that don’t wash away. We wish we had endless supply of fuel so that the helicopters can just transport everyone out of Tacloban into a massive evacuation camp. Hell, we didn’t ask for a super typhoon to begin with. A lot of things in life we ponder about in retrospect, and a lot of things in life we just have to weather through.

So much information going around that are just plain rumours. People are trigger-happy with that ‘Share’ button. I would rather see information on how to help and stories on how people are helping and are being helped, shared many times over on social media, than the bickering and blaming and painting our country as a nation of thieves and liars. We are not. There are a few individuals that steal and lie to the masses, but as a nation we are honest workers, loving and kind to each other, devoted to our families, decent, peaceful and God-fearing. But now where is the love? Where is kindness? Where is healing?

Each of us are held accountable for what we do in our lives. Each of us are held accountable for what we do now in the face of such devastation. In my capacity as a Filipino living abroad, I extend what financial help I can and encourage friends and family to do the same. A government official in Leyte has different responsibilities, to his constituents, to his own family, to the nation in general. A soldier tasked with recovery operations has a whole other set of responsibilities. We all need to realize what we can do and we all need to do them now and without fanfare. Those that fail to do their job will be judged and held accountable in due time.

I agree that we need to be vigilant and critical of services that we should get from the government. But I think that calling out the government should be done in an informed, factual and educated manner. Let us not get emotional and political. Don’t get me wrong. I am very emotional every time I watch the news and see the extent of desperation in Visayas. But I wish that our emotions would push us to set aside differences and hatred and negativity and focus on helping and healing. We have to be careful about where activism takes us. In a real apocalypse, there will be no government and we will have to survive on our own.

If we want to really, really change our nation for the better, and not just about dealing with catastrophes like this, we need to change our way of thinking. We need to educate our kids. We need to elect real leaders. We need to respect ourselves and trust that as individuals and as a community, we will rise above anything and everything. We need to recognize that there will be difficulties and that we work together to overcome it.  Tama si Maya, dapat kapit-bisig.

Here are just a few ways to help:

**For every dollar donated by individual Canadians to UNICEF Canada from November 9th to December 8th, 2013, the Government of Canada will contribute a dollar up to $100,000. UNICEF’s generous corporate supporters will be matching all donations for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, excluding the Government of Canada donation match, up to $25,000.