A call for young, patriotic Filipinos to consider public service
When Richard Goodwin graduated as editor of the Harvard Law Review and at the top of his Harvard Law class in 1958, law firms were lining up to hire him. He would have earned three times as much if he accepted any private law firm offer. He turned down all of them for a job in government and served publicly until his death in 2018.
When asked why he stayed, despite living through the Depression, being there during the early days of World War II when it seemed everyone was dying, being in the White House when both Kennedys were killed, seeing the impact of Martin Luther King’s death, and seeing the antiwar movement spiral out of control, he simply said, “I always believed that our country is not as fragile as we think. We always got through it. We will get through everything.”
Eight thousand miles away, 60 years after Goodwin graduated from law school, in a small Third World country called the Philippines, fewer and fewer Filipinos in their mid-20s to 30s, our generation, have the same mindset. The government does not deserve my service, our generation says, because the system is unfixable. Our country is hopeless.
There needs to be a collective belief that it is our generation that will deliver this nation from these dark ages. Our motherland is more resilient than it seems. Undoubtedly, this poor mindset needs to be fought, for a century from now or even earlier, we might lose what was once ours.
Clearly, the government is in direr need of youthful, patriotic, and well-educated citizens willing to serve well and with integrity. The government needs young people who care more about public service than their own private lives to propel the country to move forward. Ironically, the greatest disservice to our nation is to deprive our motherland of the quality of service that it truly deserves. Indeed, to hastily generalize about the nation’s intrinsic worth without aspiring to serve it would be to succumb to supreme indolence.
A call to serve the Republic of the Philippines must thus be heeded by our generation now more than ever. Our country is not as fragile as we think. We must collectively believe that we will get through this together. It is the only way we will heal as a nation.
Sarah Liliana Z. Sarmiento and Marlon Iñigo T. Tronqued
Supreme Court of the Philippines
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