Thursday, August 03, 2006

A republic of beggars

In a televised mass, I heard the sermon delivered by progressive Bishop Antonio Tobias from the Diocese of Novaliches on the true state of the nation. In his sermon, the good bishop disputed the so-called economic platitudes of the Arroyo regime.

Indeed, the economic program of the regime based on creating "super-regions" and bridges to nowhere are perverted and flawed. Who needs bridges when everyone in this God-forsaken republic knows that, the bridges and other infrastructure programs are totally worthless to a family who barely can fend for themselves for a day. The height of this "enchanted kingdom-super-region" brand of economics is further perverted by the fact that, the republic will again have to borrow to raise the funds to support these projects.

When will this beggary stop?

I am reminded of what the great Claro M. Recto said in an address he delivered before the Baguio Press Association in 1951, to wit "Only when we rise from the knees we have bent in beggary, and stand beside the other nations of the world, not on crutches but on our own feet, thinking and speaking and acting as free men and as free citizens of a true Republic, in name and in fact, with undivided loyalties to our own sovereign nation and people, and under a legitimate regime dispensing justices and promoting the general welfare, then and only then can we rightly claim to have achieved and deserved our independence, and have cause to indulge in a national celebration of the glorious resurrection of our freedom after the long and mournful season of its betrayal, passion and crucifixion."

Rhetoric as it may seem, Don Claro's words are still relevant and rings true more than 55 years after they were said. We are still a republic of beggars. And we are still a republic in a season of betrayal, passion and crucifixion.

Many have asked me, is there still hope? How long must we nurture this dream of living in a republic free from its ill and irks. To those of us who have chosen to stay, we must continue dreaming. If we stop dreaming, we have become worthless and irrelevant.