For several years after EDSA that swept Erap from power, many Filipinos feel that the advent of democracy and prosperity has brought no positive changes. Despite of Gloria Arroyo’s political and economic reforms there is a widespread disillusionment among the country’s poor.
The fall of Erap-the common “Taong Masa” – see democracy mostly as an annoying disturbance of public life. Democracy and prosperity is only for rich people.The country of 80 million more with so many cultures and religions, known for its tolerance, was falling apart. For millions, daily life had become a simple struggle to survive.
Democracy did not automatically attract much-needed investors.Corruption became even more widespread.The Mafia in government had learned and master the art and tricks of corruption and were not afraid of their bosses anymore.Bribery used to happen under the table, now they steal the whole table.
Many times I have wondered when Filipinos would start to revolt. But they never did.They did not support the noble cause of the Magdalo and Jun Lozada, with remarkable strenght and survival instincts they managed to muddle through. Some Magdalo have chickened-out and pleaded guilty in exchange for pardons. The biggest change of all bravery that fired inside has gone. People are now afraid to voice their opinion anymore.
Corruption was the rallying call of the mass protest that toppled Erap from the presidency and the people are either afraid to correct their grave mistakes or to commit another mistakes.CBCP admitted that EDSA 2 was an error by their Cardinal Sin.
Many of the millions of political opponents of Arroyo imprisoned under her rule,the “Batasan Five” were being jailed for clinching there close fist on the air for expressing their opinions.Ka Bell was the one who stayed long and become permanent on the “Resident of Evil” on his solidarity room.Bless his soul. But, Arroyo’s Government denies any crackdown on political opponents.They only filed a Libel charged to those who are critical to her Government.Archbishop Oscar Cruz had been slapped with Libel case for refusing to give communion to the sinners. Now,Ces Drilon is still in captivity by her hostage takers.
Taong masa,students,civic and religious groups who considered themselves heroes of Philippine’s struggle for democracy from the previous EDSA are now feeling the pressure. Our democracy is only half-hearted. Disguised as democracy the government is still using iron fist and Democracy has brought unprecedented freedom.
This democracy, it’s just about promises, and promises, but then the politicians never keep their promises.Under Marcos and Erap ordinary workers found it much easier to make money and feed their families. Things were cheap then, now everything is expensive including talbos ng camote, people, making at least minimum wage a day is not enough to support his family, send his two children to school and pay the rent and electric bill, although Gloria Arroyo are giving them P500.subsidy in exchange for them to rally against Meralco para ibagsak ang kuryenti.
Food prices are spiralling, But the government says the opening up Philippine economy has lured foreign investors back to Philippines, creating the sharpest economic growth in a decade and a million people entered the workforce as OFW because they don’t have jobs in our country,the Indian National has conquered the 5/6 businesses. Gloria Arroyo also says that its pro-poor policies, which include a planned cash handout of 500 pesos for electric bill, as well as welfare benefits for the poor who keep their children in school, have helped reduce poverty levels by not wearing uniform.
Maybe, “Taong Masa” waiting is a miracle for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let me share you this story forwarded on my e-mail by our friend Chi.
May we all have the faith of a child…
A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet.
She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.
Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.
She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!
‘And what do you want?’ the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,’ he said without waiting for a reply to his question.
‘Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,’ Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. ‘He’s really, really sick … and I want to buy a miracle.’
‘I beg your pardon?’ said the pharmacist.
‘His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?’
‘We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,’ the pharmacist said, softening a little.
‘Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.’
The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, ‘What kind of a miracle does your brother need?’
‘ I don’t know,’ Tess replied with her eyes welling up. ‘I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.’
‘How much do you have?’ asked the man from Chicago .
‘One dollar and eleven cents,’ Tess answered barely audibly.
‘And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.’
‘Well, what a coincidence, ‘ smiled the man. ‘A dollar and eleven cents – the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.’
He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said ‘Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the miracle you need.’
That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well.
Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.
‘That surgery,’ her Mom whispered. ‘was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?’
Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost … one dollar and eleven cents plus the faith of a little child.
In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need.
A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law. I know you’ll keep the ball moving!
Here it goes. Throw it back to someone who means something to you!
A ball is a circle, no beginning, no end. It keeps us together like our Circle of Friends. But the treasure inside for you to see is the treasure of friendship you’ve granted to me.
Today I pass the friendship ball to you.
Pass it on to someone who is a friend to you.