Freeman Cebu Business


BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Romelinda Garces - The Freeman

We just celebrated our 126th Independence Day yesterday. When we truly look at how far we have gone, considering the number of colonizers we have been through, it seems like we have gained the freedom our forefathers hoped we would have. We can now raise our own flag and sing our own national anthem, have our own identity as a people, be recognized as Filipinos for our achievements worldwide. Push our products bearing our name. Live in our land free to own it and work for it and take pride of it.

Watching the ceremonies of raising our flag always gives me goosepimples. Somehow, it makes me reminisce the struggles of our heroes. The many plans to release our people from oppressors, parrying all the threats to our freedom.

I pray that our people, especially the youth, appreciate the lengths in which our leaders have strived to keep our country free and independent. Every time I sing the national anthem, I find it a privilege to be able to sing our anthem. Oh yes, we have also been through so many presidents. Some of whose ideologies we may not even like or want to support. But at the end of the day, we all have to look into what is best for our country, and help our leaders in whatever little way we can.

There is nothing we can do about others. NOTHING. But we can do something about ourselves. Possibly starting with becoming less condescending of our own country. Taking on habits that have been ours even before the conquerors came to distort our way of thinking.

We have to release ourselves from our biases and our own hypocrisies, knowing that at a drop of a hat some of us would prefer to go to other countries to live on their resources and even patronize their brands at the sacrifice of the progress of our own.

Years ago, in the time of the first president Marcos, President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ clamor to “walk proud, you are Filipino” was beefed up to drum on nationalism. The plans to divide the land, to give those who till it more access and ownership through land reform gave farmers the opportunity to possess the land they farmed. He promoted a new society of responsible and stalwart Filipinos.

In the time of the Aquinos, they showed how the Filipino will stand up against oppression and how the Filipinos could come together to have a greater voice. And it was in the presidency of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III that the sovereignty of the Philippine territory gained international approval. Although the islands in the West Philippine sea continue to be disputed, the fact remains that our country is not giving in to pressure and are upholding the rule of law.

Between the Aquinos were President Fidel V. Ramos and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Both working for the economic progress of our country.  Improving on our GDP and GNP.  Showing how much will and determination can pace up our progress and improve our way of life.

The short presidential term of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, which came right after President Ramos showed how he worked for the poor of the country and tried to trim-off  guarantees on contracts where Filipinos were to assume the financial losses of private companies who were engaged in business with government.

Then came the darling of the masses, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who ran the country with grit and determination to topple the standing drug cartels, which gained him international attention for human rights violations as the Filipinos who were greatly affected by the maladies of the illegal drug operation in the country, silently applauded his dare. His willpower to clean some areas of government bettered processes in government transactions. He had to shield the Filipinos from COVID at all costs, and was criticized for his style of getting things done but he was able to pull the country through very critical threats on health, safety and progress, gaining him continued support that spread to his children.

Now we are under a new president. Equally resolved to do what he thinks is best. Like other leaders, his road is not smooth. He has many detractors as he has supporters. He is striving to stand firm over the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea as he parries political nitpicking and the stigma of his father being called a dictator. He continues to carry a conflicted nation on his shoulders, with, what I perceived as that fortitude to prove his father’s efforts were of good intention, just as his are.

All leaders have been criticized, one way or another. But I think we just have to release ourselves from our own bondages. Apathy, indifference, narcissism, entitlements without any effort, and more. Can we just be responsible at least for our own freedom by doing what good we can do? For people we touch and places we are in and will go to? Then we can continue to be free. For independence can never be achieved alone. We are interdependent, really.

God bless us all!

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