From the start, let me just say, there is nothing wrong with having a National Day of Prayer on January 20, 2014, per se. It is a day for the congregations of various faiths in any country to come together to offer thanks to and to seek guidance from their respective deities.
But in the context of the Filipinos – particularly the overwhelming majority who are either Catholic or Christian – they pray every single day – or so they claim to. So what would make a National Day of prayer any different? How will it come out in such a way that Filipinos aren’t being too proud and boastful about being a prayerful people? How it will come out in such a way that it’s not merely pakitang-tao (merely for show)? Will the same prayer chanted by a huge number of people at the same time necessarily increase the chances of God’s listening to it?
But I digress…
The theme (does it need one, seriously?) is “One Nation in Prayer” (Isang Bansa, Isang Panalangin). Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma had the following to say about it:
“(It) is going to be held in accordance with the Filipino people’s recognition of the guidance of Divine Providence in our forward movement towards a more progressive future,” Coloma said.
Below are President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino’s own words:
“Some of you have marveled at the resilience of our nation, a people who’s (sic) fate though challenged remain constant and only deepened. Our unbreakable spirit and ability to recover find root in our firm belief in a benevolent God who has the perfect plan for all of us,” the President said at the Vin D’ Honneur last Friday.
“These tragedies tell us that despite all our efforts, we are indeed powerless without God,” Aquino said.
Finally, take a look at the following statement from Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay:
“Once again, let our faith in the Almighty guide us towards a better, more secure future for our countrymen whose lives may have been altered, yet remain steadfast and unconquered in spirit.
And let us use this day to fervently pray for unity and an end to divisiveness, pettiness and hate. Let us embrace each other as brothers and sisters, united in moving our nation forward,” Binay said in a statement.
Ahh yes, there is a recurring theme of submission to God’s will. There is also the frequent mention of resilience, and the reliance on Divine Providence for guidance.
On a side note, January 20 happens to be the day that EDSA Dos occurred. This is the EDSA street rally that toppled former president Joseph Estrada and installed Gloria Arroyo as the replacement. Coloma insists that it is merely a coincidence that the National Day of Prayer falls on the same day.
The Filipinos are a prayerful people, indeed. They pray a lot. They like to brag that they pray a lot.
Yet it seems that they do more praying than doing.
What is it that Catholics and Christians like to say? God helps those who help themselves? Well, Filipinos who consistently play the victim card, who overly rely on others, especially government, for help, and who keep making the same mistakes again and again, hardly qualify as those “who help themselves.”
If you ask me, BS Aquino and Jojo Binay in particular need a lot of prayers – because the year that just passed had provided them, as leaders of the Filipino government and nation, with trials – which they failed miserably. In particular, the Zamboanga standoff, the earthquake in Bohol, and Typhoon Yolanda stand out as big red dots. For Jojo Binay, you may as well add the incident at Dasmariñas involving his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
Most especially, they will need all the prayers the Filipino people can muster, because unless BS Aquino and his government start shaping up, he will not be spared the criticism which he has resolved to not listen to. As for Jojo Binay, mass media will not let the public forget the Dasmagate incident, and they will keep insinuating that what happened that night is but a taste of the abuse of power the Binays will be capable of if Jojo Binay ever becomes the next President.
If Filipinos have time to pray, then perhaps there’s one thing that they should be shouting to the high heavens for:
For BS Aquino’s government to move its ass.
Aside from the rebuilding and the rehabilitation needed from the three calamities mentioned above, BS Aquino and his government will have to get moving on other issues as well. BS Aquino’s government needs to step in with regards to the situation with rising electrical prices. Plus, the pork barrel issue and the issue with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) – the latter needs to be scrapped – are pending.
BS Aquino, due to his vindictive and immature disposition, is actually the one causing the divisiveness that he and his government are praying that the Filipinos will overcome. So, does it make sense to pray for it to go away when you are the cause of it?
BS Aquino has been dubbed before as The Prayerful One. Well, that’s exactly what he has been: all prayer, few deeds.
All the prayer in the world will not be a remedy for incompetence no matter how pious one is.
[Photo of BS Aquino praying courtesy: Manila Bulletin]
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