A Call to all Filipinos: LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD

Tonight I cry because of fear, anxiety and frustration. There is something very wrong with the country today and not enough people care.

Most of us have stopped caring. Regular and endless political bickering, grandstanding and senseless protests has made most of us numb and apathetic towards our nation’s political status.

Yesterday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared the entire Philippines under a “State of National Emergency.” Having done so has allowed her to arrest without any warrants and interfere with the right to freedom of expression. First to suffer was UP’s Professor Randy David who was marching from UP towards the EDSA Shrine when he was “invited” for questioning. Then, Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran was arrested based on a 21-year old case of rebellion against him. Tribune, perceived to be pro-Estrada, was supposedly raided. The Philippine National Police (PNP) downplayed the reported raid by calling it a “strong presence” in the Tribune offices. And as if not content with their “strong presence” at the Tribune office, the PNP has issued a warning to all media organizations who do not follow the “standards” of the Arroyo administration could suffer the same fate.

Many people do not protest against Arroyo not because they trust and believe in her. Rather, they fear the unknown. If not Arroyo, then who? I have asked myself the very same question a hundred times (or more). Raul Roco and Fernando Poe, Jr are both dead. Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson is unusually quiet and seemingly unwilling to step up. Vice-President Noli de Castro is firmly on Arroyo’s side and so is House Speaker Jose de Venecia.

The only logical and legal choice is Senate President Franklin Drilon. Unfortunately, Drilon has failed to strongly convey his stand against Arroyo. He has not sufficiently aligned himself for the opposition. He is, to a certain extent, fence-sitting.

So the country is left with no choice.

Yes, there are no real alternatives to Arroyo. But I don’t think that the choice right now is between Arroyo and somebody else. The choice we make is between democracy and martial law.

And I choose democracy. At this point in time, I don’t even care who leads the country, as long as it is not under martial law or something akin to it.

Although I understand the confusion and conflicting thoughts bothering the minds of most Filipinos, I strongly urge everybody to pick a side. Not for Arroyo or against her, but for democracy or against it. This is not about picking a lesser evil, but about standing up for our rights.

This is a crucial moment for all Filipinos. What we choose and how we express it can be a new way of expressing people power. Rallying in the streets might not be effective any more, but speaking up can be done in other ways.

Personally, I don’t think that going out in the streets at this point in time is the right way of doing it. It only gives Arroyo more ammunition to do as she pleases.

I urge all Filipinos to pick a side and let your voice be heard. Let us not wait for something drastic or tragic to happen before we pick a side. Let us not wait for our right to freedom of expression to be supressed before we make our choice.

This is my way of saying
No ifs, no buts.

-Maria Jose
Filipino citizen

{Entry cross-posted from Alleba Politics.}

1 comment:

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