Again, I find myself forced to respond to the many disappointing criticisms leveled against Ms. Lea Salonga as written here in this article by Kate Natividad. Also, I’d like to congratulate both Kate for defending Ms. Salonga and the commenter Mr. Dale Gozar for his in-depth comment on the Pinoy condition and why we can never call ourselves “free” in the true sense of the word.
Truth be told, I’m not exactly a big fan of Lea Salonga but she is one of the few celebrities I know that can be considered truly talented. While not exactly drop-dead gorgeous, her singing voice has graced many Disney animated features which I think is a true achievement just like Manny Pacquiao’s victories in boxing. It came as a surprise and delight to me when she commented on how the Philippines could not be considered “free” just a few days ago during the Philippines alleged “Independence Day”.
Going back to my very first article here in GRP, I would like to ask again: What does it mean to be “free”? Can we really claim to be “free” all things considered? Can we really call ourselves a “free” country?
Well, here are my answers as to why I choose to agree with Lea Salonga:
No Career Options For The Common People
They say that a free country is a place where people can be what they choose to be. If that’s the case, then the Philippines is most certainly not a free country. Because of a lack of opportunity due to the current “yellow” constitution, many of our countrymen are forced to leave the country to do menial jobs. Worse yet, even professionals like doctors, engineers and lawyers are forced to demeaning jobs like cleaning toilets because laws there keep them as second-class citizens or worse.
I need to repeat these questions, endlessly if I have to: Why is it that we have to force our citizens to leave the country just to give their families a decent life? Why do they have to force themselves into jobs that are either embarrassing or degrading just to make ends meet? Why do they have to seek opportunities elsewhere when we can always bring said opportunities here to the Philippines instead?
I will only consider the Filipino people free when they can finally live their dreams in their own country.
No Choice In Politics
Don’t need to say much here.
Year after year, very little changes when it comes to the selection of politicians. They either tend to be the same person or simply relatives of the people who ran last year. It never changes. Ever.
Again, it’s always about personality and popularity. Heck Nancy Binay even made the analogy that families of politicians are like families of doctors which, unfortunately, is similar to comparing a mouse to a meat grinder.
No Freedom From Foreign Invasion
To this day, we seem to be at the mercy of foreign powers. We can only rely on the United States to help us when China lays claim to our islands or when terrorists from the south threaten our countrymen. Until we can truly stand on our own as a people and fend off enemies with our own military strength, we will always be beholden to foreigners.
It’s sad to see that many Filipino fishermen of late have even begun selling their boats because they’ve simply lost hope in being able to fish in the same waters again because of China’s power plays in the South China Sea. The United States has always been a staunch ally of the Philippines but I long for the day when we won’t need their help anymore. The day when we can emerge as an independent power in our own right. Sure, we may never become anything like United States or Russia, but I at least hope we can be something like Japan or South Korea with a sizable and formidable military force to defend our country from enemies both beyond and within our borders.
No Freedom Of The Press
There’s no denying the fact that the Philippines is still one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. As an example of that, I’d like to point no further than Mei Magsino who was a strong proponent against political corruption but was shot dead by a hitman when she began to unravel a political conspiracy. The government’s reaction?
Well, in Belgium, Noynoy Aquino made it quite clear that he had no interest in protecting the lives of Filipino journalists. In fact, he went on to imply that Filipino journalists are often killed because they tend to snoop into the corrupt nature of Philippine politics. He was implying that journalists have no business whatsoever in delivering the truth about politics to the common people.
Without knowing the truth, ladies and gentlemen, we can never call ourselves free.
No Freedom Of The Media
As a Russian friend of mine said, a free media is one with variety. There should be action shows, horror shows, dramas, comedies, animation for children and animation for adults. However, similar to the second point above and tying in with the point directly above this one, viewers have no choice when it comes to local shows.
It is almost always about romantic love and sordid affairs. While these are common story elements, the fact that they seem to be the only thing on seems to show just how “free” our media is. Worse yet, many shows today have been proven to have strong detrimental effects on its viewers and are all too often used by politicians to further their own agendas.
Until the media is free of biased shows and has something for everyone, I can never call it free as it will always be a tool that fits neatly into the pocket of greedy politicians.
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