Saturday, January 31, 2004


I have lately been terrified by news all around about the rampant kidnappings happening in this country. The real terror is knowing that if it ever happens to my family (oh, heaven forbid!) I would have nothing to pay those kidnappers with but perhaps -- dig this-- my services as a lawyer. Indeed, it cannot be ignored that everyone in this country with a little money can be a target for a kidnapping.

Why did we ever get into this mess?

It occurred to me today while looking at the parking lot in Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City. The Volvos, Bmws and SUVs in that parking lot have a combined value of at least PHP 50 Million -- about a million dollars, enough money to generate hundreds of jobs for our poor people. But too bad for us, the rich people who own them have chosen to burn their money on those fancy cars. Thus, those poor people who could have taken those jobs are now plying other trades such as drug dealing and kidnapping.

Yes, kidnapping in this country is one of the curses that was brought about by the apathy of the elite.

It is time we realize this. Had the rich of this country given the poor people the chance to prosper on their own, given them jobs, given them opportunities, given them loans without charging them usurious rates, educated their children, paid their taxes properly, ran the government well, thought about them for one second -- it would not have come to this. We wouldn't be what we are today -- a rich country with lots of poor people some of whom have made a cottage industry out of kidnapping the children of the rich.

Can we ever undo the sins of the past? I don't know. Perhaps we can start by admitting that each one of us has somehow contributed to this mess. Let's say we're sorry for every selfish thing we did in this country that pushed our brethren to the dark side. Let's all make our act of contrition and let's have it on a national day.

Just one day. Let's say sorry for the selfish things we did and think about the others.

And perhaps after this one day, there will be another and another and another, until finally everyday our people, rich and poor alike, will have a genuine concern for others and find the peace and prosperity that eludes most of us.

A National Day of Contrition -- when? Today sounds like a good start.

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