We just celebrated our 121st National Independence Day and were encouraged by the President to realize a truly independent Philippines. Besides enjoying the non-working holiday, the celebration gave us time to hang our flag on our homes, stores, offices, and vehicles, as well as, ponder on the subject matter of the holiday. Those who are able to appreciate the meaning and value of national independence, share the responsibility of helping build a society that supports the independence of our nation.
The editorial of a national daily pointed out, “National independence; freedom from oppression, from want, from fear. These are still principles to live by, lasting ideals to teach children. Don’t let them dissolve into nothing, and the ritual to ultimately be empty.”
Another editorial of a national daily opined, “… another component is freedom from poverty, which the founders of the Philippine Republic had aspired for when they declared the capability of Filipinos for self-rule during ceremonies in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898, announcing independence from Spanish colonial rule. Over a century after declaring independence, the country remains heavily dependent on various forms of foreign assistance. Attaining full independence is a work in progress as the country marks Independence Day today.”
Indeed, our attainment of a truly independent Philippines is a work in progress. It is important for those who are privileged to be able to be reasonably free from want realize that such a privilege carries the responsibility of sharing the work of helping those struggling with meeting the basic needs of life, such as food and shelter. It is dismaying to learn that those entrusted to live and work with a perspective of helping others, succumb to the weakness of greed and endeavor to enrich themselves at the expense of those in need.
Current revelations or allegations of corruption in the operations of our Philippine Health Insurance Corporation may be another highlight of our nation not learning the lessons of greed and corruption from the past. If the allegations are proven, what now? Will this be another testament of how others not doing their share of our country achieving true independence? As we look back at the past, it is vital that we learn and look forward to the future a more learned people so we can build a nation where the weak become strong and the strong are just.
Let us end with a quotation from President Diosdado Macapagal who said, "The strength of the nation lies in the well-being of the common man."*
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