I remember my Mom once shared to some people how they raised me to speak up my mind especially when I know what is right. I remember being scolded and Mom would tell me, “Don’t just keep quiet. I know you have something to say.” For some people, the way my parents raised me might be something they will never consider especially in this country where we value our traditional beliefs. We treasure respecting the elderly and even come to a point of arguing to people who disrespect them. But for my Parents, telling what’s on my mind is a way of showing my respect to what they have just said. For them, it’s a proof that their words didn’t fall on deaf ears.
Although as time goes by I learned how to say words with discretion or speak my mind without insulting people, I’ve lately chose to keep things to myself –things that I know is right but I just don’t want to start an argument.
But now, I choose to speak up: As a Filipino and most importantly, as a Christian.
For (almost) two years after Bagyong Yolanda or Internationally called Typhoon Haiyan has hit Philippines, I’ve always wondered how my country has spent the money the other countries has given us. I was one of those who eagerly posted here for a prayer request when there was a raging storm in Visayas. I was one of those who thanked the other nations with again another posts despite the fact that many will not even read it. I was one of those who tackled a series talking about suffering and what it has to do with what is going on with my country or anywhere else in the world.
Those were the days I speak up for my country –the country I choose to love despite the cancer I see each and everytime. My highschool classmate even once asked me, “If you are going to become a Doctor, where do you want to practice?” He was expecting that I would answer him with this: “I want to work abroad or in a very big city in our country like Manila, Cebu or Davao” but contrary to what he expected, I just simply answered “I want to go back in our hometown.” He continued arguing with me that I am too idealistic. He saw our hometown to be a helpless town that even if how much hope I give into it, I can never be a help. Of course, he said it in a nice way, but I get it: I’m too idealistic –I see hope in every discouraging situation. I see hope that someday the healthcare service in my hometown will be as good as those in the big cities in my country. I may not be the pioneer or the hero who started it, but at least I am one of those who will try so that I won’t leave this world with any regrets about something that my heart has been crying out to do.
Right now, while trying to calm myself as I hear the raging storm outside brought by Typhoon Koppu, I am here flooding myself with so much questions and at the same time trying to search the internet for the best answer to my question: What happened to the survivors of Haiyan? And the most frightening answer is, the plans were never met and it’s saddening to know that, only few now cares.
It’s hard for me to believe that with Billions of money given to our country as an aid from international communities (I’m sorry I cannot find, the exact worth), there is still not enough change in Tacloban and other affected areas. Some families were left with no other choice but to go back to their original places (those places where their houses were washed away with flood). I remember once that they were promised to have new homes, but I guess given efforts were not enough. Some even fled to Mindanao and other islands in Visayas just to take refuge after what happened. There was this video that I saw last last week in Facebook talking about the what happened almost 2 years after Haiyan (I tried to search it now but It’s nowhere to be found). The video made me cry. It made me realize that maybe they were not given enough aids and most of the efforts were only from private sectors.
So what exactly happened? Who are we going to blame? Those were just two of the questions I have in my mind but I can never answer. And for reasons that I don’t even know, there were only few updates I’ve seen or heard after the almost 2 months of constant updates that the media has given for Haiyan aftermath and relief efforts. Even up to now, the ‘good’ changes in Tacloban and the other affected areas are just mere speculations and people only tend to see the truth if we, ourselves, will visit those places.
After almost 2 years, I still hear complains. I still hear dissatisfaction. Will we blame it to our too idealistic thoughts –thoughts that make us think that not enough has been given? Maybe. But for me, when you get to live in a place where corruption is rampant, people will always tend to doubt if the money was spent in the right way or again stolen by some politicians who will use it for their own personal gain.
And now that Typhoon Koppu is here (and even making some noises outside), I’m worried if what happened to Haiyan survivors will also happen to the survivors of this Typhoon. I’m afraid that when the people all over the world will help us, only few ‘help’ will actually reach them.
But despite these too much discouragements I hear and see,
I still long to someday see my country prosper. I still long to finally see a ‘good’ change. I still long to see passionate, selfless and truthful leaders who will run our country. I still long to see that day.
I want to live with so much hope because I believe in the one and Only God who keeps His promises. I choose to hope for the best because I believe that someday God will hear our prayers and give us leaders that will change our country for the better. I choose to live with hope because there will always be a happy ending where my country will not suffer this way over and over again.
Now as I close this one, I ask for your prayers that we may get through this without too much damage and casualties. Please say some prayers for Philippines. Pray that we may get through this knowing that there is a perfect refuge in the arms of our LORD, Jesus Christ.
All glory and honor belongs to God alone.