Friday, March 19, 2010

Here's To a Brighter Future

Marunong ba kayong magbasa?”, Loreen asked the children as we were in one big circle. “Hindi po!”, they all said out loud and in that moment, my heart broke into pieces.

My CWTS group mates and I had a storytelling for children in UP two weeks ago. We prepared food for them and brought them to an empty lot near the Church of the Holy Sacrifice. We formed a big circle, held hands and sat down. They were all thin, their skins were burnt by the sun, they had a lot of wounds and scars of poverty, they could not read but they were all wearing smiles of playfulness and ignorance. We read 3 stories for them and fed them after. When the sun was about to set, we called it a day.

As I was walking toward the jeepney stop, I got to talk to some of the children and got to know them better. I was struck by the story of Kim, the little girl who looked like a boy. Her hair was very short but she was wearing a tank top with Snow White's face printed on it, floral shorts and nothing on her feet. Her feet were already black because of the grease and filth of the streets. She was holding a small green plastic bag with biscuits, crackers and duhat in it. I asked her what’s inside the plastic bag and she replied, “Ibibigay ko ito kay Papa e.” When I asked her if she bought it, she said no and told me that various people gave it to her. As we were nearing the jeepney stop, I asked them if they could still remember my name. Hearing them say “Ate Mela!” out loud instantly touched my heart. As I was on my way home, I couldn’t help but smile because of a very fulfilling and priceless afternoon.

When I reached home, I turned the TV on and watched the news. Crimes. Accidents. Corruption. Deaths. Violence. Poverty. This is the Philippines. This is reality.

Presidential candidates take center stage and stab each other as they race up to the top. There is advertising king Manny Villar, who says that he has tried swimming in trash and experienced spending Christmas in the streets. He’s allegedly been buying votes as he was caught giving each child an orange peso bill. There’s former MMDA chairperson Bayani Fernando’s running mate, Dick Gordon who says he’s awake 24/7 to respond to the needs of the people. They call their duo The Transformers since they claim to transform the society for the better. There’s the green-coated lady Jamby Madrigal who gives away bead bracelets with her a photo of her face in it. “The use of actors—you had to pay P30 million to endorse you—is an insult to the Filipino intelligence,” she says yet she was endorsed by actress Judy Ann Santos when she was running for Senate. There’s former President Joseph Estrada who insists that PGMA isn’t eligible to run for Congress and says that Villar’s a copycat for using the color orange. In his campaign ad, he says with great confidence that the Philippines progressed outstandingly during his term. There’s Gibo Teodoro who gets the votes of people because of his exceptional intelligence and loses the votes at the same time because he is under the administration. Lastly, there’s Ninoy Aquino, the hero and former President’s son and the sister of the Queen of All Media. His campaign ad where Regine Velasquez was singing and big stars were all wearing yellow received a lot of comments. In his latest ad, he promises and says, “Hindi ako mangungurakot.”

We’re left with barely 2 months to think about on who to choose and elect as president. The challenge is on us to vote wisely and let our voices be heard. Let us not be blind with the things around us. We should stand up and be involved since this is our country after all. If we would open our eyes and be aware, we would fully understand our duties as Filipinos. We see the dead keep dying, the poor remain poor and advertisements, radios and loudspeakers are bombarded with countless of promises. Promises of change and progress. Promises of loyalty and honesty. Sadly, when they are already in power, they forget their promises. Promises just come and go.

As I write this, there’s still hope in my heart that our country could still stand up and step forward. One day, I know that things will be better and the next time I’ll see these children, they’re already in their uniforms, they already know how to read and they’re still smiling. I know that day would come and I pray that it would be soon because these children deserve a brighter future.

No comments:

Post a Comment