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End result? Ulcers, rupture of your stomach lining, damaged vital organs like liver, pancreas or kidney, and iffy overall health.
I'm no health expert but I just want to use the gut as a metaphor for this thought which has percolated to boiling point in my heart.
A very recent news: Our fishermen's boat hit by a boat from China. As neighbors should, a little help—like bailing out the 22 Pinoy fishermen and bringing them to safety—would have been the instinctive response,right? Could have been a good closure. End of story.
But it was not meant to be. No such help was offered. Per reports, a Vietnamese fishing boat came to the rescue—corroborated the Pinoy fishermen's story, by the way—along with a Philippine navy ship.
Was the damage small? Were the fishermen shaken? Whether it was a big or small dent, or the fishermen remained calm or not—these don't matter anymore.
What matters today is: How did our leaders treat the situation? Take note, these Pinoys were fishing in Philippine waters. And the Chinese were the intruders.
"Maritime incident," dismissed the man from the palace. "It is best investigated. I don't issue a statement now because there's no investigation and no result. The only thing we can do is wait and give the other party the right to be heard." (Straits Times report, June 18,2019)
The incident happened June 9; above statement was uttered June 17; what happened in between? Whose right should he be concerned with—his people or the Chinese's?
OK, he's the top honcho. Where were his orders to investigate? Did his subalterns do it? Couldn't an official inquiry have been made sooner?
He said further, the Philippines will not escalate tensions with China by sending military ships to the South China Sea…" As a knee-jerk response, is "the need to go to war" even a justifiable statement?
What about compassion? What about a trickle of help? What about going there yourself or sending someone to commiserate with and get the fishermen's side first-hand?
What about assuring the public that this government is on top of the situation and will not tolerate abuse within our waters because we're a sovereign nation?
What about taking the offenders to task if they're proven guilty?
That's the stuff of statesmanship—doing right by the people or the nation who put you in power in the first place. Not to throw blame or a cold shoulder because, who knows, "they may be telling a lie." What separates noblemen from the ignoble!
Or he just doesn't want to ruffle the guy or the people next door. They who have swarmed our shores lately in the hundreds of thousands, either as illegal workers, 'build, build, build" financiers or contractors, businessmen and entrepreneurs, drug traders and many more. The list is endless.
Unless they're blinded or calloused, our leaders must by now know that our nation has run aground.
It is a gut issue when our fishermen could not fish in our territorial waters—something which our leaders have relegated to the back-burners even if the international courts have already ruled in our favor. Why?!!
It is a gut issue when a daily earner's wife is in debt—to cook something to sell, because her husband is unable to fish.
It's a gut issue when illegal workers render jobless our carpenters and other manual laborers; with the Malacanang resident even labelling them, "Lazy! That's why the Chinese are taking over them."
It is a gut issue when a people is divided—with lies, cursing, sexual and rape jokes, shock and awe tactics, and bullying becoming a nation's daily fare. O, pity our children who are confused about which one is the better way—the bad or the good.
It is a gut issue when well-meaning politicians, and responsible media and media practitioners, are threatened, unfairly accused and lied about.
These are gut issues because of their spirit-quenching and economic-shattering impact. Pinoys deserve better!
All these from one man (and his minions)? President of the Republic of the Philippines! What weight that title carries. But the one who answers to that exalted salutation—does he even care?
The One in heaven cares. He listens and He acts. What seems impossible with men is possible with Him. Meanwhile, let's not be coyed from speaking truth, calling out evil as it truly is—evil.
We desire a corrupt-free and peaceful country? It comes at a price: taking a stand for what is right, obeying the law and contributing our fair share of productivity to nation-building. All these shall come to pass.
Pray and do good! We can do no less.