Real Change Is But A Change of Hearts Away

As we watched four typhoons devastate the Philippines in recent weeks we witnessed love and compassion in action among our citizens. It was very heart warming to see people helping people. The thousands of different scenarios that unfolded through the news media, Youtube and other sources, showed the world how we take care of disasters and each other. Without a lot of grumblings. Terrible as the situations were, and yes, we lost a lot of lives in the process, our countrymen almost without exception took things as they came with humble acceptance. We are indeed a nation of a lot of humble people. And life goes on after every disaster. The citizens of the Philippines have weathered all the beatings that nature can bring. We have learned how to submit ourselves to a lot of punishment whether it is by a natural disaster or whether it is man-made.

This is where our story as a nation of humble and submissive citizens turns sour. Our ability to handle unpleasant events and situations with ease has become our Achilles heels. Indeed it makes us wonder if it is total indifference and helplessness that make us or allow us to be submissive even to the perennial abuses and mismanagement of many of our elected officials.

The four typhoons did not dampen the drums beaten by Presidents-and-Vice Presidents-to-be and company. As we speak, the drumbeat is getting louder. Every one of these would-be Presidents or Vice Presidents have got a package and promises to sell to voters. But a lot of questions continue to haunt us. Will any of these candidates bring us the needed leadership, honesty and integrity to pull us out of the political, financial and social quagmires that we have been in all these decades? These quagmires are hundreds of times worse than all the floods of Manila and the northern Philippines put together. I KID YOU NOT!

While these floods devastated lives, homes and crops, they only lasted a few days or weeks. Compare that to the devastation, the constant destruction brought on by your corrupt, inept, dishonest and crooked politicians in many places all around the nation. See, they are widespread and their destructive effects cover the whole of the Philippines everyday! They are in our midst to continue the devastation 24 hours a day 7 days a week! At least typhoons leave, they don’t!

They are like termites deeply entrenched in all the nooks and crannies of our society. They continue to swallow, nibble and eat away at what belongs to the communities. They eat the walls of our nation, the columns of our democracy, the foundation of our economy. And we think we are a free nation! No siree! We have lost our freedom many many years ago!! This is when we as people surrendered our values to these crocodiles in our society. Our freedom to be a nation with a decent economy has long ago flown out of our windows. Our freedom to enjoy a life with relative abundance and comfort has long been taken away by these losers! When we lost our dignity by selling our values and ignoring corruption practices that stare us in our eyes day in and day out, we have lost our freedom! When we lose our dignity we don’t have much else left to lose! Yes, we have some more freedom left. The freedom to be an impoverished nation, the freedom to export our men and women for work because there is nothing left in their country for them, the freedom to be looked down upon and laughed at by our more progressive Asian neighbors, the freedom to be a third world nation forever, the freedom to be at the bottom of the food chain , the freedom to have NO true freedom at all!

And we in the Philippines think that we are a Christian nation. If so, how is it that we are ranked as one of the most corrupt nation in the world? The math does not tie up well. Eighty to eighty five percent Christianity, as claimed, cannot result in a nation being ranked very close to the top of world corruption! Are we missing something here?

Our perception of having these many ‘Christians’ or followers of Christ within our midst is total hogwash. Our definition of a Christian, it seems, is one who goes to church, makes the sign of the cross on Sunday, then goes to work and be corrupt from Monday to Friday. We all know that most of our corrupt officials do go to church on Sundays. We are indeed a nation of churchgoers. But a true Christian is one who is a follower of Jesus Christ. If we have as many churchgoers as we have followers of Christ, then corruption will NOT be what it is in our country! That is a fact! Our erring brothers and sisters in government think that going to church alone will be enough to cover for their sins. There is a seeming comfort zone in their beliefs that attending church alone cleanses them of their rottenness. Forgiveness only comes with true repentance whether you go to church or not. And true repentance comes from deep within our hearts and is accompanied by a permanent transformation or conversion from being an evildoer or a thief to a righteous person. So going to church and asking for forgiveness for our sins and followed by going back to the same old sin during the week is not going to cut it. You remain a thief!

The desired transformation is but a change of hearts away. The change that we so desire for our nation lies in the hands and hearts of you who sit in that office in government, big position or small. The change that we desire lies also in the hands of the citizens who will NOT tolerate corrupt practices of elected officials.

It does not matter how many more elections we have in the Philippines or who gets elected. Until hearts change, you who are corrupt will continue to saddle your country with your greed. Until hearts change, we will remain a nation that is an eternal basket case that no one can hardly be proud of! The unity that we exhibited during the typhoons can be replicated and applied to our challenges in corruption. The choice is indeed very clear!

Joe Joson, USA
24 December 2009