Elusive freedom

Anthony Chua

The Independence Day speech of the highest person in Malacanang showed how far the Philippines is from realizing its dream: freedom.

Delivering her message at the Plaza San Luis in Rizal Park, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo summoned the heroes hidden in the hearts of the present beleaguered Philippine nation to intensify their love for their country.

“Our heroes laid the foundation for a new nation through their unity, sacrifice and common purpose…If we are to fill our hearts with the same fervor and love for country, we will harvest the sweet fruits of freedom, justice and progress,” Madam Arroyo said.

This message echoes the clamor of the Filipinos for freedom since the country was colonized by the Spaniards up until now.

Even at the onset of revolution against Spaniards Philippine history books are filled with accounts on how heroes, statesmen, historical figures and common tao have suffered from lack of unity and common purpose. This is a bane of the Philippine republic, considering that while an independent democratic country takes pride in a freedom of its citizens it is their unity that sustains this freedom and makes the entire nation healthy and progressive.

The recent abduction of ABS-CBN senior reporter and anchor Ces Drilon together with the station’s cameramen and a Mindanao State University professor by Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao is a case in point. Instead of uniting their group with other sectors in the society to overcome the current price hikes, the bandits resorted to “get rich quick” schemes by kidnapping journalists.

Just like the Abu Sayyaf, the self-centered personal interests have driven criminal elements to commit more evil. In the Philippines criminals thrive in different forms and guises. From snatchers and petty thieves to syndicates and bandit groups, such as the one that robbed and massacred the crew of an RCBC branch in Cabuyao, Laguna, they are the modern day oppressors and colonizers who are robbing their fellow Filipinos freedom and rights.

The sad thing is that these criminals keep on doing their vices because they have their patron crooks, the greedy and corrupt politicians. Who will be afraid of committing atrocious crimes if they have their “inspirations” and “padrinos” at the highest echelons of the Philippine society?

No wonder the Philippines is still crying for peace, progress and freedom.

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