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Inspiration and hope from unlikely sources

/ 05:01 AM August 27, 2021

These are bleak times because of the raging pandemic, and our suffering is made worse by bad governance and political repression. Amid this uncertainty, several inspiring individuals and institutions have succeeded in proving that there is still hope for our nation.

First, a small community pantry in Quezon City sparked a nationwide movement that enabled ordinary citizens to share what they had with neighbors who were barely surviving the economic crisis.

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Second, our Olympic heroes lifted the morale of our people. Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz became a role model for many on how to overcome adversities and early failures in life.

Third, by flagging suspicious money management in the bureaucracy, the Commission on Audit (COA) demonstrated the importance of promoting transparency in government.

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Perhaps the individuals in all these cases never expected that their actions would generate national attention. They might have been simply fulfilling their duties as citizens, but those became outstanding deeds at a time when we needed to counter the nefarious legacy of the Duterte administration.

The pantries exposed not just the slow and inadequate arrival of pandemic aid, but also that there was a better way to mobilize people instead of relying on militarized checkpoints and harsh lockdowns.

Diaz was a victim of cyberbullying after she was falsely implicated by Palace officials in a dubious “matrix” featuring opposition personalities. She ignored the threats by focusing on her Olympic preparation, and went on to become the country’s first gold medalist. She triumphed over those who arbitrarily persecuted her in 2019.

And lastly, the consistency of the COA offered a refreshing example of an agency exercising its independence and upholding its integrity. It never wavered in releasing reports that could potentially undermine the anti-corruption pledge of the Duterte administration.

It is telling that so far, our inspiring heroes this year are not elected officials but frontline workers, athletes, pantry volunteers, and government employees. The major takeaway here is that public dissatisfaction over the government’s pandemic response may continue to rise, but we can always rely on our people’s vigilance to make officials accountable. Collective acts of solidarity, a winning mentality and perseverance, and public servants duly performing their mandates—these may be what we need to harness to defeat tyranny in 2022.

Mong Palatino, chair, Bayan NCR, [email protected]

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TAGS: COA, health crisis, Hidilyn Diaz, pandemic
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