Filipinos can learn from Ukraine | Inquirer Opinion

Filipinos can learn from Ukraine

Watching the events in Ukraine almost as soon as they unfold is a unique opportunity for Filipinos. Ukraine has giant Russia claiming that Ukraine belongs to Russia. The Philippines has China claiming that the seas around us belong to China.

Just to make it clear for those who do not yet understand (I heard rumors that a presidential candidate did not know the Philippines is an archipelago), the Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago, meaning it is a group of islands and/or a sea or stretch of water containing many islands.

Russia is invading Ukraine from borders of land, so far, just as China went into our seas to grab islands there.


The lesson here is not about strategy, the lesson is about bravery. The lesson here is about leadership and bravery, about citizenship and bravery. The leadership of Ukraine and the citizens of Ukraine are now shining examples of leadership and bravery under fire from a bully using force to make a free people and nation submit to his will.


I almost made the mistake of calling Russia a bully when, in fact, it is not Russia, just Putin. I read from news reports and see from television news how many Russians are protesting the orders of Putin to attack Ukraine. Of course, I also read that thousands of these protestors have been arrested.

Bullies are like that. They bully even their own people who do not agree with them. If we get in their way, and bullies happen to have access to power and resources, we can easily get hurt or end up dead. It is not only happening in Ukraine. We also know of violent abuses in our country and region, by bullies in positions or with great wealth.

There is little need to talk about bullies, however. They are depressing, ugly, and I can only wish the world is rid of them. It is their victims, however, that I would like to put on center stage here. The simple truth is that most Filipinos are not bullies. We neither have the power or the resources to be bullies.

Who can take away a native’s land? Who can take away nature’s resources from the people of any homeland? Only bullies can, and they did. Sadly, Filipino leaders accepted what bullies did and assumed they were right. Our own leaders forgot what the bullies did, leading by amnesia.

Anyway, let me expound on this in future articles. The subject of historical amnesia is so intertwined with poverty perpetuation that I am amazed how people forgot, both the few who lead and the many who suffer because of it.

Now, let us simply honor the leadership and the citizens of Ukraine. Attacked by superior power but resisted not only by the military of Ukraine but especially by its citizens, Filipinos can see in real-time what patriotism and heroism are all about. The love of country and freedom, two sides of one coin for the people of Ukraine today, are worth fighting and dying for.


Many women and children are taking shelter from the bombs of the bully in Russia, and hundreds of thousands have taken refuge in other countries. But the men of Ukraine, and many women as well, ordinary citizens living lives like most Filipinos, are digging in, resisting, fighting, and dying. For what? For their land and their freedom.

Would you believe that in our own midst are Filipinos who have no idea of what love of country and love of freedom means? They say so quickly that Ukraine should just surrender because they are no match for the firepower of Russia. They had said just as openly before about the Philippines and China, that we cannot possibly defend ourselves against a China invasion.

I almost believed them. I almost believed because I know we have nothing that can compete with the Chinese military. But what kept me from just submitting to that insidious propaganda is the fact that country and freedom can be so valuable that they are worth fighting and dying for. I even thought that millions of older Filipinos can be the front line against China. Like me, senior citizens must sacrifice ourselves for our children and grandchildren. Let our children bury us, not us bury them.

There is this shared reality between the Philippines and Ukraine. Both our countries are threatened by a giant neighbor whose leadership covets our seas and land. It may just be some seas and some islets now but remember that their claim is much bigger than their present possession of our territory. It is only a matter of time on their part and cowardice on our part to make this happen.

The Ukraine example is inspiring and an eye-opener. The nations of the West, the member states of NATO, have not joined the war in Ukraine territory. But they have, by their sympathy and support and sanctions against Russia, are already in the war. In fact, Putin made sure the world would hear him order his forces to be on high alert with their nuclear arsenal.

Long before his invasion of Ukraine, however, the militaries of NATO and other sympathetic countries with nuclear arms have already put their resources in battle positions. No one wants to get caught not being able to hit Russia as well just in case Russia fires ahead. All countries with nuclear power are on high alert aimed at their only threat. Putin knows that only too well.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

It now appears that small, bullied countries victimized by much bigger countries can see a new line of defense and salvation. Filipinos need not be alone in their fight for their territorial sovereignty. There is a big wide world out there that abhors bullies. They are not standing by quietly, they are aiding victims with military equipment, with economic sanctions. They may not save Ukraine now but they will stop the bully soon enough – or they will be bullied next.

TAGS: bravery, bullies, conflict, Diplomacy, leadership, Patriotism, Philippines, politics, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, War

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.