The more than three centuries of Spanish regime in the Philippines opened up the burning quest for freedom of revolutionaries who fought hard to make the Philippines a republic and a haven of democracy.
Are we really that free? Were we able to restore the democracy as dreamed and spawned by our heroes?
The Philippines might have gained its sovereignty back from the countries that once governed it, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before this country becomes truly liberated.
I personally believe, one of the reasons why Filipinos are not yet totally independent is the fact that majority of us still possess a negative mindset.
The concept of being an “Indio” – the thinking that “I am just a Filipino and not good enough, that I cannot compete with the other races” – this insecurity still encage us. We keep pointing to the colonization of our country for more than 400 years under a foreign rule to justify how we Filipinos think of ourselves. It’s probably true, but if we want to be free in this regard, it’s time to stop putting the blame on history. We have to move forward. We cannot change our past, but we can change the present .
We Filipinos can participate in progress by changing our mindset. By knowing in our hearts and minds that we are an amazing race!
Such positive mindset could also free millions of Filipinos from the enslaving poverty. We are challenged to learn new things, develop more skills, enhance our hidden talents, find a better job, or invest in a business. When we are aware of these capabilities, we can eventually minimize or even conquer poverty and corruption. In this manner, we can contribute even in our own small way towards a truly free Philippines.
On the economic side, working, living or studying abroad, especially in the first world countries, allows Filipinos to acquire knowledge and experiences that they wouldn’t normally get back home.
They also build a global network that can facilitate knowledge and technology transfer, which in the future can help provide jobs and alleviate poverty.
It would still probably take decades and several more generations, before the majority of our people can be free from the claws of poverty.
Nonetheless, as long as we Filipinos living in foreign lands, still care for the land of our birth and willing to help our nation, and as long as we continue to inculcate in the minds of the youth our values and character as Filipino people, we will be instrumental in helping our country achieve true freedom.
Indeed, the Philippines is a free nation! Nevertheless, we need to nurture our country by working hard to be successful in all aspects. We, Filipinos abroad, especially here in Austria, have the advantage of being able to promote our country, and show the world that despite our weaknesses, we are truly united in times of uncertainties, ready to face any untoward events and willing to sacrifice for the sake of our future generations.
Hector Pascua is ABS-CBN Austria correspondent and an active supporter of the Filipino community in Austria.