I am sad because I lost my cell phone again. I am sad because after several attempts to find it, I realize that getting it back is almost impossible. Given my meager finances, losing a cell phone is a cause for distress. I had sacrificed many things just to buy it, and now I guess I would have to make new sacrifices in order to save enough money to buy another phone.
For me, losing a cell phone means losing my fastest way of communicating with loved ones, friends, colleagues and co-workers. The loss affects my emotion, my social activity and my work.
I have already lost three cell phones and none of them was ever returned to me. This prompts me to ask whether I am careless or it is just too hard for some people to be honest.
As I ponder this question, I get even sadder. And as I try to dig deeper for answers, the realizations hurt me even more. I am not just hurt because I lost one of my important gadgets and a source of entertainment. What hurts me more is the realization that there are people who are so selfish and dishonest. It would seem that moral poverty aside from the material one pervades our society today.
As we can see on TV, read in the newspapers and hear on radio, dishonesty is rampant in Philippine society. So many government officials stand accused of graft and corruption, fraud, bribery, perjury and other forms of dishonesty as well as abuse of authority. We saw how dishonesty forced a top government official to give up his high office and prompted a former top military officer to take his own life. Even some of our church leaders who are supposed to shepherd us away from the dark and twisted path and some police officers who swore and are expected to serve and protect us have been dragged into all kinds of controversy involving misuse of public funds.
I know our government today is doing its best to combat these problems. I still believe that many of our leaders are truly trying to deliver on the promises they made during the election campaign. But my eyes and ears keep me aware of the realities that my heart and my brain want to deny. I continue to hear the deafening cries of countless victims of injustice and discrimination while many of our leaders choose to play deaf and dumb. I hear the many homeless and landless people in their own homeland wishing for shelter while shivering in the cold of government neglect. I see drivers and commuters trying to keep their blood pressures in check while prices of fuel and fares continue rise. I hear families sighing as they see their water and electric bills rise because of higher generation charges, systems losses due to illegal connections (another form of dishonesty). I see hospitals turning into morgues rather than places that preserve health and life because of the lack of bed, beddings and medicines as well as doctors and nurses. I see children, who are supposed to be in school, forced to work to supplement their families’ incomes.
These are just few of the glaring realities in our nation today, and I guess enumerating them all will just eat too much space, although most government officials would not admit them. Because of such realities, I can accept the fact that my cell phone is lost for good. I just hope and pray that the person who found it really needs it. I hope that through my cell phone perhaps a dying person will be restored to life.
But this does not mean that I am willing to justify stealing from others in order to live. I also do not agree that people should blame the government and our leaders for their poverty. We must also do our best to turn our dreams into reality and help the government to achieve its plans for us even by just being law-abiding citizens.
I pray that God will give our leaders, both in the church and in the government, the grace and strength to lead us on the right path and toward greener pastures, where lost cell phones and other things are returned because everyone respects each other and fears God. Our nation can only be what we make it.
Stephen Louie Checa, 27, is member of the staff of a radio station in Antique.