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Make PH desirable place to live, patriotism will follow

05:03 AM March 14, 2018

The article by Jovic Yee, “Teachers to Pacman: Don’t look at us if Pinoys lack patriotism” (3/11/18), mentioned a plan by Sen. Manny Pacquiao to file a bill seeking to include a subject on patriotism in our schools. I was once the chaplain of a school for girls and then for boys. I know that in both schools the virtue of patriotism is taught to the students.

But does teaching this virtue in schools suffice so that our citizens will practice it? The article brought up the suggestion of Benjo Basas, chair of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition: Government officials should be the first to practice it to set the example.

I think that aside from teaching the children what patriotism is and how to practice it, all the citizens must work together to make our country worthy of our patriotism, a nation worth giving our lives for.

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I recall a documentary film I watched about an American air force pilot whose plane was shot down over Bosnia in June 1995. He was forced to eject and landed in enemy territory. For six days, he tried to evade the militiamen who were looking for him while applying the survival techniques he learned.

In the meantime his comrades were also searching for him. By a stroke of luck a radio signal he sent from his beeper was picked up by one of his colleagues making sorties.

He was rescued by two big helicopters and 51 marines. I thought: If this country treats even just one soldier like this, this country will be worth fighting for. This soldier will love his homeland.

Another story I learned from a Filipino who was taking graduate studies in this same country. He was boarding in a dormitory and was alone when he had an asthma attack. Knowing that this condition could be fatal, he dialed 911, reported his physical condition and address.

The attendant said he should be at the door in two minutes because the ambulance will be there. In two minutes the emergency crew was there; they gave him first aid, and brought him to the nearest hospital.

The student noticed that cars and people gave way to the ambulance so that they were in the hospital in no time.

An event like this also makes one think it is very good to live in this state: here systems work and people help. One would perhaps not hesitate to pay taxes. The country helps and serves you.

If we want our people to be patriotic we must work together to make our land worthy of that patriotism: a very desirable place to live in.

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This will require the practice of virtue from all of us. Those pilots and marines did their job well and so they saved a comrade.

The 911 attendant and the emergency crew also did their job well and so they saved a life.

Let us make our society and its systems work well so that our country becomes worth fighting and living for.

If our systems work well, who would want to live elsewhere?

FR. CECILIO L. MAGSINO, cesmagsino@gmail.com

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TAGS: Cecilio L. Magsino, Inquirer letters, Manny Pacquiao, Patriotism
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