Prints and Traces

By Don J. Pagusara
Davao Today

Early today, I came upon this strange advertisement — so to speak — printed on a 4-inch square piece of thin cardboard that was well-glued on a same-sized flat wooden board. In spite of its dull white color, it readily arrested my attention seeing that it lined up, in bullet fashion, a set of ponderous qualifications for men to possess supposedly for the uplift of this world we live in.

The little frame is provided with a buttress at its back that makes it stand upright comfortably on a bookshelf. It has been standing here on the bookshelf for years, but it’s only now I hear its silent voice
saying:

THE WORLD NEEDS MEN

…WHO CANNOT BE BOUGHT;
…WHOSE WORD IS THEIR BOND;
…WHO PUT CHARACTER ABOVE WEALTH;
…WHO POSSESS OPINIONS AND A WILL;
…WHO ARE LARGER THAN THEIR VOCATIONS;
…WHO DO NOT HESITATE TO TAKE CHANCES;
…WHO WILL NOT LOSE THEIR INDIVIDUALITY IN A CROWD;
…WHO WILL BE AS HONEST IN SMALL THINGS AS IN GREAT THINGS;
…WHO WILL MAKE NO COMPROMISE WITH WRONG;
…WHO WILL NOT SAY THEY DO IT “BECAUSE EVERYBODY ELSE DOES IT”;
…WHO ARE TRUE TO THEIR FRIENDS IN ADVERSITY AS WELL AS IN PROSPERITY;
…WHO DO NOT BELIEVE THAT SHREWDNESS, CUNNING, AND HARDHEADEDNESS ARE
THE BEST QUALITIES FOR WINNING SUCCESS;
…WHO ARE NOT ASHAMED OR AFRAID TO STAND FOR THE TRUTH WHEN IT IS UNPOPULAR,
…. WHO CAN SAY “NO” WITH EMPHASIS, ALTHOUGH ALL THE REST OF THE WORLD
SAYS “YES”;
WHOSE AMBITIONS ARE NOT CONFINED TO THEIR OWN SELFISH DESIRES.

I cannot help but reflect on the weight of each of the personal qualities spelled out in the strange ‘ad’. And certainly, my reflections did not take too long to connect it to the current issues and problems faced by our nation and the world in these beloved times.

My mind wanders to the thick of the Pork Barrel controversy that involves men and women in high places of our socio-political institutions. And pinpointing some particular profiles in my mind, I seem to forthrightly exclaim, “Oh My Honorable (OMH), how can you be so ignoble and dishonorable! And to think how some of you were bubbling with rude eagerness and arrogant enthusiasm in pushing somebody to the pit of guilt! When you yourselves are equally guilty in plundering the money of the national treasury! Shame on you! The world has no need of people like you!”

Admittedly, the lined-up personal qualities for men and women to adopt in order that ours may move onward to a more humane society are extraordinarily challenging. But these are all we need for a humane humankind to flourish in this beleaguered world. No excuses!

These are general mottos and or slogans that need to be applied in the particular and concrete conditions of our little world here in Mindanao — nay, in each and every island of our country. Wherever we roam across the archipelago, inhumanity stares us in the face — poverty like no other! And while the vast majority wallow in misery, the handsome face of a “woman in shades” sleeps on a bed, not of roses, but money, money money!

Porbida Huwan! Wala na ba gyuy kalingkawasan kining kaalautan sa atong nasod ug katawhan? Sige tang pili’g mga lider nga atong gibotohan matag eleksiyon ubos sa pagtuong mao ni ang atong kaluwasan! Gikan kang Marcos, ngadto kang Erap, ngadto kang Gloria. Ug karon! Naa bay dan-ag sa tumoy sa langob?

[My gosh Juan! Is there no escape from this mire of miseries our people has sunk into? Every so often we vote for some leaders in whom we have lodged our faith that this time around we will be saved! From Marcos to Erap to Gloria. And now! Is there light at the end of the tunnel?]

That woman in shades? She surrendered, yes. Not her stolen money, only her body which, like Gloria and the rest, aches for a wheelchair! And not to any law-enforcement agency charged with the capture of fugitives! But to the soft arms and special treatment of the Republic’s head of state!

One surmises or speculates she is cunningly made an instrument to tie a noose for the necks of some political oppositionists?! Oh well, for all the people’s miseries deepened by their thievery, they need to just jump to hell together! Unfortunately, only a certain military general had the guts to die, at least, with some quirk of unconfessed guilt and a pistol in his hand. All the rest of this nation’s gangsters and “crime-weavers” have gone scot-free! Thanks to the conspiratorial stance (or perhaps, involvement?) of generals and /or our rotten Judicial system!

Excuse me! At some unvisited nook in my cerebrum, a signal flashes certain instant queries: “Where is Palparan?” and “What becomes of the Ampatuan case?”

And the vicious cycle goes on and on and on! After the initial noise of cogon grass burning, there is now the silence and the fading away of the birds of prey to their inaccessible, unreachable, untouchable
mafia lairs.

In our little corner of humankind — in the center of the Pork Barrel Scam and the little war between the Moro rebels and the government soldiers — the long-term need for genuine leaders is cried out silently, eternally. This is also found in the heart of every Filipino who has long been deprived of the quality of life that equals his/her dream for a humane humanity. (davaotoday.com)

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