After 216 blogs and 3 ½ years I have decided to hang up my spurs. I have been contemplating this for months but there was always one more development, one more thought warranting attention; but the time has now come.
I started to write on May 6, 2010 (“Reasons To Vote For Noy-Noy”), four days before the Presidential elections, as my modest contribution to the political process. It was a tipping point in our marred history and it was incumbent on every Filipino to answer the call of a quiet and honest man, a relative neophyte, heir to a name; who had tossed his hat into the Presidential ring. I thought the man would surprise us once vested with the scepter of power and I said so and that, fortunately, has come to pass.
The “daan matuwid” has not always been straight and has at times been overly narrow but that is the nature of change. There were lows –the Luneta hostage crisis, poor people choices- but these were overshadowed by the highs – the corruption clean-up, the investment grade. I chronicled these as I saw them and there are things I now know to be true.
I know numbers do not always tell the truth. Despite (or as a result of) the glowing growth rates, the gap between the 1% who disproportionately own the wealth of the nation and the 99% who do not has widened. Unemployment in the last three years has worsened. Owners of land and capital became richer at the cost of urban congestion and social inequality. It is unclear how a nation can survive in dignity and health with this disparity in wealth.
I know the keys to a democracy are not its institutions but the vigilance of its people. Some say it is not the institutions that betrayed us but its members; but they are now indistinguishable from each other. With dynasties, influence and money, those in power have hijacked and subverted the institutions they have sworn to serve. The challenge is how to break their lock on our future.
Social media has led this street revolution, it has become the voice of the people. Technologies with inelegant names like Twitter, Google and Tumblr have replaced the Constitution, the vote and traditional media as the Filipinos’ weapons of choice. This phenomenon will grow which is what gives me hope.
I know we deserve the leaders we elect but I also know there can be no true political choices without true economic freedom.
I know we can only be as strong and as happy as the communities we build.
I know the most meaningful legacies to our children are the lives we lead, the values we uphold and the earth we leave behind.
I know that with common purpose we can be the nation we wish to be.
A blog is at its essence a personal journal but it could be more than that. You cast a thought. Mostly it returns barren. But sometimes the seed catches a wind and the wind drops it on fertile ground and the ground harvests an ideal and the ideal sparks change and that change raises the human condition.
Occasionally someone -often a stranger- will respond with appreciation to say your thought has resonated (“Thank you” always touched me more than “Nice work” for it speaks as much of the reader as it does of the piece). This is what makes the writing worthwhile. Some reply with vitriol and libel cases. These are also what makes the writing worthwhile.
I have always been curious what attracts an audience. Looking back, my most popular piece by far was not about PNoy, the impeachment or pork but about human behavior and what defines our national character. Entitled “Just For The Money “ (4/4/11) it spoke of a tearing kid –Jan-Jan, aged 6- who was forced to macho dance on national TV for P10,000. It was a commentary on our social mores (“Our idea of a good time is reducing a child to tears”), the debasement of our culture and why it need not be. That the piece drew a crowd shows we care about who we are.
The last three years have been unprecedented: The country became –at least on paper- an economic wunderkind, a Chief Justice was impeached, and a number of lawmakers could be prosecuted. I was fortunate to have recorded some of that history. However, barring something so extraordinary, so evil or so absurd it cannot go unchallenged; my journey has come to a close, at least for the time being.
I thank ABS-CBN.com for believing in me and the readers who will largely remain unknown in name and in number for caring to listen. I had to learn (I read the Constitution and the Budget more often than I care), think and be mindful of others. It was at times fun. For all this it was worth the ride.