Today isn’t just some holiday, kids.
The significance of what occurred during the Martial Law years may vary on the year a person is born, his place of domicile, his affinity and apathy to politics and current events, his notion of patriotism, his status in the community, his level of curiousity, the stories he gets from elders.. to sum it up- his ability to connect with a consciousness other than his own personal reality, which enables him to willingly take an understanding of such circumstances and develop his own sense of belief.
I was born years after it was lifted and months after the current constitution took effect. I was born in an island far from the capital. So our sense of martial law may have been “localized,” a decentralized view and application of the limitations imposed on human liberties. By ethnicity, I am partly Filipino and partly Not Filipino. Most of the time, this aspect of halves affects our affinity or apathy towards politics and current events. Sad fact. But even so, those who live in daily struggle to survive might have more reason to feel apathetic towards the insensitive woes politicians have in politics.
A few years ago in college, when my convictions were as soft as a loaf of pan, a friend dropped on me bombs of opinions on how and why she felt the Philippines was more progressive under the Marcos administration. I kept silent, maybe nodded once or twice for acquiescence.
Motive is a creature of the mind, a very dangerous one at that. We may not know what made Marcos tick. A part of me is impressed by the fact that he topped the bar while reviewing behind bars. Another part of me is wondering how Laurel feels after all these years. He is, after all, that one guy who made it possible for Marcos to take the bar in the first place. So in terms of achievements, this dude has remarkably made something of himself inspite of the circumstances he was handed.
What many of us do not understand is that, at the risk of building infrastructures for a better nation… the government had to take loans, the government has to take loans. The amount of taxes collected is not enough to fund the millions, the billions, the trillions of pesos proposed in the General Appropriations Bill. In wanting to raise revenue, the government cannot outright pass a law increasing taxes when labor and capital are being choked to death by the rising costs of basic needs. In wanting to raise the spending capacity of Filipinos, the government cannot just pass a law increasing wages at the risk of businesses closing and rates of unemployment to rise. It’s the economy, student.
Yes, many of the infrastructures we have now were mostly built under the Marcos Administration. But, my dear friend, it was because of the rapid development that our foreign debt balooned out of proportion. The same foreign debt that eats up most of the General Appropriations Bill. Plus the interest. This, I would have replied back to her. You can’t justify one thing without weighing it from both sides.
Today isn’t just a holiday, kids. Imagine if many of the youth of my generation are living in the same apathy I felt (and sometimes feel even today) of the current events and those of the past that will shape and have shaped our nation. Imagine if most of the youth, younger than my generation, are constantly caught up in a world dominated by their sense of self- absorption and self- privilege. Apathy does not even merit an invitation to exist in that world, much less a sense of consciousness. What kind of future will we have as a nation?