AN ORDINARY FILIPINO’S NEW YEAR’S WISH LIST

We, Pinoys, are known for being tolerant, long-suffering, and resilient. We have already experienced and gone through so much as a nation and yet, here we are, still very much alive and kicking.

But, now, our country is heavily encumbered by numerous and, often, complicated problems and issues that have accumulated over the years. All these, having been left unattended and unsolved for a considerably long time, are now about to reach their tipping point.

And we, the Filipino people, the end of our tethers.

I don’t think that even Santa Claus, or the Fairy Godmother, or the Tooth Fairy can do anything for any of the following wishes, but the gullible and naïve child in me will always keep on believing. And hoping. And dreaming.

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Poverty. I wish that, through government intervention, wealth would be distributed equitably among its citizens. Would it not be terrific to live in a country where all its people have decent jobs, decent homes, decent food on the table, and decent clothes on their backs? Where people no longer have to live in filthy and unsafe communities? Where everyone has access to their basic needs? Where every person can wear his dignity like a badge? And where dreams are not only far-fetched ideas but promising possibilities?

Health. I wish for a quality health care that is free for all, a respectable health center at even the most remote parts of the country, and a public medical service given without making the recipient feel belittled or humiliated. I have always dreamed of a time when no one has to be sent away from a private hospital due to failure to pay the advance payment or of someone dying because his family can’t afford the costly medicines. Focus should also be given to intensified health education among young students. The entire nation will largely benefit from having citizens that start practicing healthy living much earlier on.

Politics. I wish that our politicians will come to realize that public service is a sacrifice that one bears for his love of his country, and not for money, power, or prestige. I wish that all their decisions and choices, statements and policies, will be carefully made with the country’s interest in mind. Nothing else.

Population. I wish that couples will have the initiative to control the size of their families based on their capacity to provide for all the needs of their kids. If they cannot be an asset to the country, they should, at least, try not to be a liability. Instead of relying heavily on the government or on the destinies determined by the Fates, we should be responsible for our children’s future. We should also support the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health law.

Unemployment and OFWs. I wish that the government can pave the way to create ample, good-paying jobs for all able-bodied Filipinos. We do not deserve to be uprooted from our homes and from everything and everyone that we hold dear. We do not deserve to be separated from our families. We do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens in foreign lands. Philippines is our country. This is where we belong.

Agriculture. I wish that the government will effect genuine reforms and provide substantial and sustainable assistance to our farmers. Government officials should put a stop to using this neglected sector to pocket public money.

Education. I wish for a substantial increase in the salary of our teachers to motivate them to help in changing the world, one child at a time. A higher budget for public schools, including those that offer technical and vocational courses, should be allocated. Children should be encouraged to develop and maximize their potential to be well-rounded individuals.

Discipline. I wish that discipline, along with nationalism, will be rigidly inculcated in our kids as soon as they are old enough to enter school. The lack of these values in our citizens is the root of all our present problems.

Religion. I wish that people, regardless of their religious beliefs, preference, and affiliation, will learn to accept and respect each other. Committing criminal acts in the name of one’s religion is nothing but a bunch of baloney.

Traffic. I wish that the government will provide more bike lanes and footpaths so that commuters will be encouraged to leave their cars behind. (In the Netherlands, 99.1% of the people are cyclists.  27% of all trips and 25% of trips to work are made by bike.) Car sales and old motor vehicles should be strictly monitored and regulated. Public transportation networks should be upgraded. And the discipline of both the driving and riding public should be improved.

Tax. I wish for lower taxes imposed on the middle class and lower-income citizens, more stringent penalties for tax frauds and tax evaders, and a dexterous system of ensuring transparency and accountability among the custodians of the public coffers.

Nature. I wish that people will realize that our planet is our only home and, as such, should be conscientiously cared for and tenderly nurtured. It will always provide for all our needs but it will never be enough for even one man’s greed. We need someone who has the political will to enforce a total ban on plastic production and use, and to strictly impose logging, mining, quarrying, hunting, and fishing bans on already compromised areas. Reforestation projects and other programs to combat global warming should be heavily funded and put into place. Each one of us should make it our responsibility to act as our home’s guardian, protector, and nurturer.

Peace (national). I wish that all Filipinos will stop bickering, complaining, fighting, finger-pointing, and fault-finding and, instead, will start on collectively working towards the sustainable betterment of our country.

Peace (international). I wish for a genuine world peace. A world where terrorism, discrimination, and indifference do not exist. A world where all the countries work hand in hand in making this planet a better place for the coming generations. A world with no boundaries.

Future. I wish that the country we will leave behind for our children and our children’s children is much better than the one we presently have. And this can happen only if all of us will make the effort to make it so. Right now.

Finally, I wish that all our children will soon find themselves becoming significant parts of the solution to our country’s many deep-rooted and, mostly, chronic problems. Hopefully, all the values we instilled in them through all their growing-up years will be enough to fully prepare them in forming intellectual opinions, in making smart choices, and in facing the big world out there.

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