by Manuel A. Rodriguez
Throughout history of our beloved Nation Philippines, it is the youth that has led our people in our struggle for freedom.
Dr.Jose Protacio Rizal,future national hero, at 26, wrote his first novel "Noli me Tangere" that awakened the nationalistic spirit of the Filipino people of his time.
Marcelo del Pilar helped lead the Propaganda Movement at 32; Gat Andres Bonifacio led the Katipunan at 26, he was later on named as the "Father of Katipunan";
Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was 29 when he was inaugurated First President of the Philippine Republic;Apolinario Mabini, the brains of the Revolution, was 34;
Antonio Luna was General at 29; Gregorio del Pilar gave his life for his country at 24.Under American regime in the Philippines, the youth led the nation in our parliamentary struggle for true independence.
Future Philippine President Sergio Osmena was Speaker of the House at 29; Future Philippines President Manuel Luis Quezon was Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. at 32;Future Philippine President Jose P. Laurel was Secretary of Interior at 32;Future Philippine President Manuel A. Roxas was Speaker of the House at 29.
During the chaotic years of the Japanese occupation, many young men and women in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao joined Mr. Luis Taruc's "Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (HUKBALAHAP)," a resistance force against the invader.
When Marcos declared Presidential Proclamation 1017, placing the entire country under Martial Law; the cream of the country's youth went underground and gave their all for the sake of freedom and democracy. Many died without seeing the dawn of freedom.
In the Holy Scriptures Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples, mostly obscure, unlettered fishermen, were all young men probably in their early 30s, who left their fishing nets to become fishers of men.
Those who succeeded them were also in the prime of youth when they heard the call of the Divine.History records that in the course ot time, they shook the Roman Empire and turned the world upside down.
Today, the challenge is for the youth of this nation, beset by the worsening problems of poverty, corruption and criminality, to consecrate their lives to a cause bigger than themselves. To live the life their father's dream and share it with their future children.
This challenge was already been laid down to us, it is already present even before our birth. The young men and women who came before we do already did their part. We enjoy the fruits of their labor and as a form of respect to their past efforts we must and should exert the same effort so that our children and children's children will enjoy the fruits of freedom, democracy and peace.
Doctor Rizal our national hero already made the query to our generation, long before our mothers gave birth to us. “Where are the youth who will dedicate their innocence, their idealism, their enthusiasm to the good of the country? Where are they who will give generously of their blood to wash away so much shame crime and abomination? Pure and immaculate must the victim be for the sacrifice to be acceptable. Where are you, young men and young women, who are to embody in yourselves the life -force that has been drained from our veins, the pure ideals that have grown stained in our minds, the fiery enthusiasm that has been quenched in our hearts? We await you, come, for we await you. "(From Rizal's El Filibusterismo English Translation by Leon Ma. Guerrero)
I sincerely hope you will join me in answering the query of Dr. Rizal saying "Here I am."
The youth of the past had their flaws, we must must learn from it instead of blaming it to them.
We must and should challenge ourselves to build a better world.In my opinion the main problem of our Nation is moral crisis, not just in the Government but also in private lives. Massive criminality and rampant corruption and poverty, they are all connected with each other and these problems emanates from a single issue...moral crisis.
We can start changing the Nation by changing ourselves. If we want an honest government, we must be honest as well. We can start by paying taxes right, not cheating in our schools or at work.
There are flaws in our cultural traits, such as utang na loob, pakikisama, the kanya-kanya syndrome and a lack of sense of community that tend to worsen the twin problems of corruption and criminality.Culture of immorality must change.
We can change it if we will start as early as now. If the youth of today will build a world as such, tommorrow will be a better place.
Now is not the time to hold guns and swords and fight, the youth of the past already did it for us. Now is not the time to fight the physical war, but instead the time to fight the spiritual war we are all into.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). The war has begun. We need youngbloods in the army of morality.
Often recalcitrant, but always principled.