My good friend Lito posed a very intriguing question: “Bai, nganong makuli man pasabton o makabana ang mga arangan og kahimtang sa kinabuhi?” [Why is it so hard for the well-to-do to understand or to be socially aware?”

“Abi nimo Bai, ang kinatibuk-ang kultura sa atong katawhan maoy dakong babag sa pagka-buta sa pakabana o panginahanglan og kausaban. Aktuwali, di man lang ang mga arangan og kahimtang sa kinabuhi maoy walay pagpakabana sa mga suliran sa nasod. Hasta ang mga pobre!”   [You know , my friend, it is the general cultural consciousness of the people that stands in the way of their social awareness or their concern for the need for change. Actually, it is not only the well off who lack social awareness, but also the poor masses!”]

“Pero sa akong kasinatian, Bai, ang mga ;pobre kadali ra man kaayong makaagpas sa panginahanglag kausaban!” [But in my experience, Bai, it is the poor who readily grasps why change is necessary.”

            “Salabtonon kaayo ngano nga ang mga kabus dali rang makaagpas sa panginahanglan og kausaban. Daan na gud na silang nag-sakripisyo sa ilang pangimbisog sa panginabuhi. Busa, dili kaayo lisod nila nga itahan ilang kinabuhi ug panahon aron makigbisog para sa paglaom nga monindot ilang kaugmaonl ug ang kaugmaon sa ilang mga sumusunod.”   [It is understandable why the poor masses can readily grasp the need for change. They have been constantly sacrificing in their daily struggle for survival. and so, it is not difficult for them to stake their life and effort in the struggle with the hope that life for them and their children will be better in the future.”]

However, the general apathy of the citizenry across all classes and sectors is mainly due to the abiding ignorance of the root causes of the social maladies that have beset the nation since time immemorial. Time and again we are reminded of the saying “Ang hindi lumilingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan” The classroom teachers feed us this valuable food for thought every so often. As young grade schoolers we are made to commit this  motto to memory. But only until there. We are not made to live by it. Neither do they, our mentors, live by the reminder.  Because if they did, they should have seriously taught us our history in all levels of our schooling.   And we could have unearthed the root causes of our country’s maladies.

Ikaw ba, Bai Lito, kabisado nimo ang kasaysayan sa atong nasod? Basig ang nahibaw-an ra nimo mao ang ‘Who discovered the Philippines? When did Magellan discover the Philippines? And who killed Magellan?’ And it’s not even your classroom teacher who taught you these things. But Yoyoy Villame, the Boholano folk singer?     

           What we need to know in our history as a people are not only names of places and names of conquerors and dates of conquests, etcetera. And we are not even told that the Spaniards and the Americans came as invaders and conquerors, but as evangelists and saviors! Very basic facts as these are deliberately distorted to blindfold us forever. They are even purposely sanitized to make them appear benevolent, if not considered as our own heroes! And our very own martyrs and heroes—ang mga bayani sa atong kaliwat— are subjected to all sorts of caricature! We name the major thoroughfares of our cities and towns in honor of American conquerors, forgetting or skillfully covering up the real nature of these “honored men’ as tyrants during their colonial rule in our lands.

In our own frontyard, we relish the sweet ring of Governor Bolton’s name, but never heard of the native people’s hero—a Datu Mangulayon!—who killed the harsh Davao colonial ruler for his protection of the cruel American landgrabbers and plantation owners during the American occupation here in Mindanao!

And we hold all these pernicious distortions of history as gospel truths!

But it is not all in history that we have been brainwashed to believe we Filipinos are inferior to the Western foreigners.   Every minute of every hour each day we are swamped with the trappings of a western culture and lifeways that make us sincerely believe they are better than us and therefore we should imitate them and swallow them hook-line-and-sinker!

You try to scrape off even just the surface of what have been lumped on our consciousness as a culture to find out the basic truths about our underdevelopment as a nation! And you will be met with red-tagging and all sorts of ‘witchhunting’ to thwart the search for the root causes of our social problems.  Then when this happens, all reasonable arguments for the need to fight for change is blocked by a hierarchy and bigotry of the agents of the State, the Military most particularly.

So, Bai Lito, your question why it is so hard to rouse the people to hearken to the Cry for Change necessitates a gargantuan Cultural Revolution that must demolish the fortress of the Status Quo culture.

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