FOR me, the definition of responsible citizenship is simple. He or She is someone who leads people to endeavors that will benefit the majority. He puts his interests last. He is selfless and just. He is mature in his judgment and actions. He is ready to help others at all times. And he is happy with the success of other people.
At present, the country is in dire need of responsible citizens. Everyday, we read in the dailies, hear over the radio, and even see with our own eyes the condition our country is in: Destitution rooted crimes in various forms and levels happen left and right. Nobody is utterly safe anymore. Poverty is felt in all walks of life. No amount of window dressing can hide the poverty we are experiencing. The oppressing of the poor seems very evident. Beggars loiter the streets. A lot of people are homeless and jobless — all of which is further aggravated by our COVID-19 health crisis.
May I quote Mr. Teodoro Benigno, in one of his articles, “What is happening to our country?” Yes, what is happening to our country? But I want to address the question to all of us for I don’t believe that we have to blame everything to our government. As responsible citizens, it is our primordial duty to safeguard our country’s interests.
It is not enough for us to be debating about issues and simply posting them on social media? We should do something to help solve the problems.
Dear friends, responsible citizenship is not measured by cleansing our souls and showing our faith in God through kneeling in church. It is neither gauged by how many times our names appear in the donors list of this or that civic organization. Responsible citizens help with sincere interest in their hearts. Mother Teresa never announced her sacrifices. People just learned about her and the press thought she was a good example of what a responsible person is, so they write about her good deeds. Being a responsible citizen does not limit oneself to his country. One is even a better citizen if he extends any help, he or she is capable to render anyone regardless of color, ideology or faith.
I refuse to believe that Filipinos with positive values are now considered endangered species. I refuse to believe that Filipinos are no longer noted for religiosity, hospitality, generosity, honesty and dependability. But because of the acts of some government officials and our other countrymen, a lot of people from other countries are now tagging us with names that have negative connotations. And we can not blame them. For who can blame a foreigner who lost his luggage in the airport for thinking that Filipinos are a bunch of robbers? Who can blame a foreigner who would say that Filipino officials are crooks if inside government offices he is asked to shell out a considerable amount of unexplainable fees? And who can blame our fellow Filipinos from losing their faith in government and with other fellow citizens if they are oftentimes taken advantaged of even during this COVID-19 pandemic? Where have the responsible citizens gone?
We should all be concerned with the present predicament of the country. We are duty-bound to do something for this country. We are Filipinos. The Philippines is the only country we’ve got. We may be able to migrate to other countries, but in the core of our hearts, in the smallest tunnel of our veins, our Filipino blood would always call us back home.
If we want to have responsible citizens among us, if we want to have responsible government officials in position and law enforcers back on the streets, let the change begin with us. Let us not be corrupted by unscrupulous officials. It is really very deplorable that for a measly amount of P20 or P50, some of us would be willing to sell our votes to incompetent and crooked politicians before, during, after an election.
As responsible citizens, let the teaching of God guide us in everything that we do so that nothing would go wrong. Let us not be tempted by the glitter of false gold on this earth for our true treasure is in heaven. Let us not work to just satisfy the needs of our flesh. Let us work for the salvation of our souls and of other people’s souls. Let us be like St. Francis of Assisi. Let us make ourselves instruments to propagate the words of God in our temporal order.
“Democracy is not simply a license to indulge individual whims and proclivities. It is also holding oneself accountable to some reasonable degree for the conditions of peace and chaos that impact the lives of those who inhabit one’s beloved extended community.”(Aberjhani, Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
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