5 magnificent sources of inspiration
It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2015, so we hail with gratitude the “Magnificent 5” who greatly inspired and strengthened the spirit of Filipinos at home and abroad.
1. Lolo Kiko, Pope of the Poor. In his flight to Manila, Pope Francis lifted the hearts of Filipinos when he declared: “The central message of this trip will be the poor, the poor who want to carry on; the poor who suffered from Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ and who are still suffering the consequences; the poor who have faith and hope…” Lolo Kiko surely uplifted the spirit of calamity survivors who got only insensitive words from President Aquino (“Buhay pa naman kayo, di ba?”) and his anointed one, Mar Roxas (“Bahala kayo sa buhay niyo”). In Malacañang, Pope Francis said: “This year has been set aside as the ‘Year of the Poor.’ I hope this will challenge everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption that diverts resources from the poor.” (We have yet to see the President and the majority of legislators heed the Pope’s challenge by giving up the corruption-ridden pork barrel.)
2. Manny Pacquiao, the “People’s Champ.” Pacman dedicated his latest fight for a worthy cause as he joined Filipinos in asking Indonesian President Joko Widodo to save the life of human trafficking victim Mary Jane Veloso.
3. “AlDub” Nation. Kudos to AlDub Nation for supporting the Stop Lumad Killings and Save Our Schools campaign, especially through the fund drive to provide books for lumad children as well as for typhoon-ravaged communities. We hope the government will get the message: The lumad need books and teachers, not bullets and destructive mining!
4. Rep. Neri Colmenares, outstanding lawmaker. “Stop killing Filipinos with excessive taxes”—Neri’s message to government as he pushed for lower tax rates. For the benefit of 1.9 million pensioners, Neri also authored the bill to raise the pension of SSS (Social Security System) retirees. The bill is now awaiting Mr. Aquino’s signature. For the many propoor bills he authored, Neri is the lead awardee in The Outstanding Congressmen/women of the Philippines of the Publishers Association of the Philippines, the largest and oldest association of publishers and mediamen in the country organized in 1974. The “Fighter ng Bayan” is running for senator. He certainly deserves the support of Filipinos at home and abroad. Neri pushed for an increase in legal assistance fund for distressed Filipino migrants on death row; he also opposed new tax burdens, the opening of balikbayan boxes and other unjust government schemes.
5. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle. In a surprise visit to the lumad in Liwasang Bonifacio, he added his voice to the call for peace in Mindanao, urging President Aquino to immediately disband and disarm paramilitary groups to bring peace to lumad communities.
Kudos to the “Magnificent 5” and all Filipinos united in prayer and action for meaningful reforms to end scandalous inequality. Let’s welcome 2016 with the collective hope for a better Philippines!
—AMIE DURAL MAGA, volunteer, Neri Colmenares For Senator and Migrante Partylist New Zealand, [email protected]
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