Friday, January 30, 2015

#NasaanAngPangulo - Where was our President?

Another disappointment, another wrong decision.  I proudly voted for you, our dear President because I believed that you were the right choice at that time, someone that would lead the country with integrity because I believed that you were brought up by upright, faith-filled and nationalistic parents. And that you yourself by your own words, could not live with yourself if you didn’t run for president.

“#NasaanAngPangulo”, in our social network-filled world of Twitter and Facebook was the #2 trending hashtag in the Philippines and top ten trending topic in the world.  “Nasaan ang Pangulo?” (“Where is the president?”) was a question that I also asked looking at the crowd and the dignitaries gathered at the arrival honors or the 44 fallen men at Villamor Air Base yesterday.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one asking.

President Noynoy, you are the Commander-in-chief, the head, the boss of these uniformed officers who daily put their lives on the line for the safety of our countrymen.  You know that on occasions such as these where your priorities should be.  Not at the Mitsubishi anniversary that was scheduled with businessmen, a lame excuse if ever there was one.  The least you could have done was to be present.  You should have been there to at least console those who lost their loved ones in battle, a battle that is still filled with many questions.

Even if you will be present in today’s necrological service, it still does not fill the void of yesterday’s absence.  Who makes your decisions?  Who makes your speeches?  Do you sit down and reflect on what you will do for the day? Or do you just follow the schedule that your advisers give you?  It wasn’t on your schedule to be at the arrival honors of the 44 SAF soldiers who died in Maguindanao yesterday.  The Mitsubishi event was.  Ask anyone, even a grade school student, where they should go given their choices, and they would answer to Villamor Air Base, to at the very least, pay their respects to those who sacrificed their lives in defending our country.

I want to add another hashtag: #PrayforPNoy.  I don’t know what his state of mind is, or his heart, or his spirit.  I know that by the speech he gave in Malacanang at the Pope’s welcome visit, he had some issues against the Church and its members, something deeper than a grudge against a bishop who insulted his hair.  Wherever he may be in his life, I believe that we need to pray for him, our elected President, who makes decisions (or non-decisions) for our country and the millions of our countrymen.  A heavy load indeed and obviously, he can’t do it alone.  

And another hashtag #Prayfor44Heroes.  Thank you to the 44 PNP-SAF (Philippine National Police - Special Action Force) men who sacrificed their lives. My sincerest condolences to their families. It was a part of your duty to defend our country.  You fulfilled it up to the end, that which we sing in our national anthem "Ang mamatay ng dahil sa 'yo."  We salute you men of honor, integrity and bravery.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Lessons from Pope Francis' Visit - Charity

Pope Francis on his recent visit to Palo, Leyte with the victims of Typhoon Yolanda
Charity. When we hear this word, we usually connote it with monetary donations; giving a donation in money or in kind to the less fortunate or one who is in need.  But whenever I saw Pope Francis on his pope-mobile or as he walked through the crowds, this word is what came up in my mind as one adjective that best described his actions.  He gave no money or any material possession, but gave of himself – his smile, his wave, a hug, a pat on the head, a word or two of fatherly advice, a sympathetic ear, a listening heart, his blessings, his time - his presence.  We witnessed how he gave of himself as best as he could to as many people as it was possible for his 78 year old body.  Charity – a virtue defined in Merriam Webster’s dictionary as the “benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity”.  This is what Pope Francis had, a charitable heart and soul for all of humanity.

Last December we saw a celebrity/TV host in the park where we were having a get-together with school friends.  We waited patiently hoping to get a selfie/groupie with him.  To our dismay though he took no notice of us and after his taping, took a quick exit that he and his crew plotted as part of their taping.  I’ve tried to understand that this celebrity wanted to finish their shooting and taking pictures with fans would be a waste of their valuable time.  It is unfair too to compare him to the Pope.  But I do hope that celebrities/actors/actresses, do show more charity to those who admire and support them by watching their shows.  Is it too much to ask for a few minutes of their time, if in exchange it would bring a smile to someone’s face?  But like I said it is totally unfair to judge and compare. 

I have been conscious since the Pope's visit of the times when I am too busy to notice those around me, especially those who rely on me like my children and husband.  My children's needs should not be too demanding and nothing should be more important than to give them my love. "Huggie" is something that they ask for countless times in a day.  Sometimes when I'm in the midst of some chore, I take no notice of their pleads to just be hugged.  But sometimes when I do and they know that I'm busy, they say "Ok" and push me as if to say "Okay, I've had my share of hugs, you can now go do what you need to do."  "Story" is something that my daughter asks of me so she can drift off to sleep.  But at times especially after a tiring day, I tell her I'm too tired and try to talk her out of it.  And then I'm reminded that her request is simple and try harder to give in and start narrating a story from my mind.

The janitors, the guards, the helpers around and inside SM Mall of Asia, Pope Francis treated as if they were the VIPs.  To the smallest in the crowds, the babies and young children, they were truly blessed to have the Pope stop his entourage, to bend down and kiss.  To the sick, the outcast, those who have some sort of disease that most of us would do our best to avoid, the Pope openly hugs and caresses  “as if it was the most natural thing to do”, former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican, Henrietta de Villa, said in an interview as she witnessed the Pope kissing a man covered with boils.
Pope Francis visiting the orphans in his recent visit.
Picture c/o
I do hope that even a small part of Pope Francis’ charitable spirit rubs on us.  To take notice of those people who in the world’s eyes are nobodies, but to God’s and to Pope Francis’ eyes are somebodies, worthy of attention and precious in His eyes. 

Thank you, Pope Francis for your example of how we should walk in Jesus’ steps, to follow Jesus’ example of being charitable to others, to give love to all of humanity.