As a public school student, I, along with my schoolmates, were compelled to recite “Panatang Makabayan” after every Monday flag raising ceremony.  As a child, I was already oriented on nationalism.  I therefore presumed that government is that force behind such pledge and that it empowers the people to stay along the same principles.  Hence, “Panatang makabayan, iniibig ko ang Pilipinas…….tutuparin ko ang tungkulin ng isang mamamayang makabayan….”


So there.  Earlier on, my nationalism has been integrated in my being already.  Instead of joining foreign outfits or dreaming of leaving the country for a greener pasture, I sought employment in government.  In a matter of time, I was employed in the prison service.  Not much nationalism in the rehabilitation of prisoners actually except to serve and sacrifice for the so called “least of our brethren”, the prisoners.


But of all places that I have visited, it is in my workplace where I would discover an ironic fact.  A number of prisoners in the camp where I was assigned were serving time for rebellion, for fostering their beliefs, for just being pure nationalists.  According to one of them, they have  not forgotten “Panatang Makabayan”  They recited it and emphasized the last three stanzas, “Iaalay ko ang aking buhay, Pangarap pagsisikap, Sa bansang Pilipinas.”  I realized and recalled the pledged, which as a youth I was jubilant to memorize.  And among the throng in the prison community, there was someone who made an imprint and a number who fanned the flames of heroism in the past.  There was Ka Nilo Tayag, erstwhile head of Kabataang Makabayan, the fountainhead of youth activism in 70s.  Followed by a number of rebel commanders, the ultra nationalist command chain of Hukbalahap (HMB); then, the so-called ultra leftists rebel commanders, one after another.  They were charged and sentenced by the military courts to serve time in the penitentiary.  The military courts during Martial Law were likewise guided by a nationalist fervor along their ultra rightist tradition.  Nationalism was behind every conceivable political action and central in the life of the nation.  Nationalism was alive and still is at present.  But there are nuances when one exercises his duty.


Where then can we find the duty of the citizen to his country?  Is it through subservience?  But history will just dismiss that generation who never tried anything to advance their living condition.  It would only be a black mark, a dark age where those who lived merely existed like common street shoulder plants and extinct insects.  Is it through revolution therefore?  Social advancement cannot be achieved through adventurism.  Plainly, it is through the maturity of government that makes the citizen contribute to the greatness of his country.  Government is matured when it can receive and appreciate ideas from its citizenry.


Well, I did try.  When government found itself in a fix dealing with the disputed Spratly Islands, I floated an idea.  I posited the view that since we claim the islands as ours, we might as well use it—-not as a military station, which is provocative, but as a penal settlement instead.  I thought that with such floater, I would be able to invite thinkers from other agencies like the Tourism Department, which may propose that the islands be transformed into natural resorts.  Or, DENR may initiate a plan to make the islands as natural parks featuring exotic flora and fauna, etc.  What I found out later is that my idea never multiplied at all.  Instead, some people in government were even peeved that I submitted an idea!    Here is a situation that if one has an idea and would offer it for discussion, one is ganged up for being noisy.  If one keeps quiet, he is seen as an idiot and therefore deserving of a lousy governance.  Now where will that lead the citizen?


Over here and from where we are, the duty is clear.  One must not think at all.  To each his own na lang.  Or, to be brass about it, mind our own business instead.  And forget development.



About vjtesoro

A perpetual student of Corrections

Posted on June 12, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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