“Searching for truly brave leaders”
Andres Bonifacio, whose birth anniversary the country commemorated yesterday, is remembered for his bravery in leading fellow Filipinos to revolt against an oppressive, repressive foreign power trampling on our rights in our very own territory.
Today, 158 years after the birth of this man, Filipinos are wishing that another passionate, courageous leader would emerge to protect us from the incursions of a foreign power into our shores.
A recently commissioned survey by the Social Weather Stations revealed that more than eight in 10 Filipinos believed our next leader should assert our rights in the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the favorable ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Admittedly, during this time of health and economic hardship brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration’s lackluster response to it, it seems far-fetched that Filipinos would feel strongly about an issue that is, quite literally, many miles away from their modest dining tables.
For whatever reason, however, the numbers tell us otherwise.
Eighty-five percent of the respondents to the survey also want to seek alliances with other countries in defending our economic and territorial rights.
Unfortunately, it appears that China, our giant neighbor to the north, continues to frustrate our efforts to assert our claim to territories within our exclusive economic zone, in open defiance of the arbitration court.
It does not help that our leaders are, at best, only sporadically cognizant of the threats that China poses to our territory and to our fishermen.
Indeed, these leaders tout China as our friend. A strange friendship it is, however, based on bad faith and a constant attempt to sideline our territorial interests.
As we spend the next few weeks and months leading to the May 2022 elections, we should remember that courage is never measured by mere tough talk or bombastic claims, only to be negated by a policy of acquiescence to a “friend.”
We need to pick out the truly courageous among the candidates, who are steady and firm, knowledgeable and accountable, and who will assert our rights over those of foreign “friends.”