NOW, we welcome the new year. Actually, the Holiday season passed by so swiftly because the essence of the season was lost. The Birth of Jesus which is the center of the celebration was not given due attention by many but rather majority of the Filipinos were looking forward for the election fever to rise.

My daughter, Carmen, since the beginning of the holidays had observed that many people were more on the glitters of Christmas than really preparing for the commemoration of the birth of Christ. She commented that Foreign Christmas decors were seen all over. Santa Clause, gift wrapped presents, fruit cakes, reunion s, Christmas trees and lights abound but she saw only a handful of decorations depicting the birth of Jesus. She saw “belens” only in side Churches and only a few of it. She wondered why this was so.

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She further observed that many people were so engrossed at the coming elections that they are more excited in the May polls than the birth of Christ. She wondered more on the benefits that the 2010 elections would bring to the simple Filipino.

Also a junior student of UNO-R Mass Communications Department, Thessa Alba, shared to me some of her thoughts regarding the elections and the values of the Filipinos today. She also gave suggestions to improve this rich country of ours. I salute her critical and analytical mind regarding issues seldom we find students now talking and thinking about the social dimension of society.

First, she noted that politics in the country is so intoxicating. She commented that there are many good people in the government but the system rots them all. She hopes that politicians will see the government as a place for public service and not a place for business.

They should stop looking at Philippine politics as a business venture.

She also suggests that agriculture should be the top priority of the government and infrastructure should be the least of the priorities but the situation is reverse. Government is putting a great slice of the economic pie at infrastructure and not in agriculture or food production. She feels lucky that she is in a “rich” country, however, government failed to utilize the vast resources that we have.

Infrastructure only benefits the big cities while agriculture would surely benefit a lot people especially the poor.

Export of goods is also one thing that destroys Philippine economy. I agree with Thessa and my daughter that government should give focus on the development of goods for us and stop thinking of feeding other countries. If only government shall have programs for the development of local products for local consumption, then there is no need for us to export goods. They have also a suggestion to their fellow youth. They are calling them to stop patronizing foreign products and go local.

There a lot of better things in this country than in other countries.

The youth should stop the “gaya-gaya factor,” as Thessa would put it, instead the Filipino youth should do something that the whole nation could be proud of and that other foreign youth should follow.

The hopes and wishes of my daughter, Carmen and my student, Thessa are representatives of the hopes and wishes of many young people today. I am confident that there are many young people who are concerned of the future of our beloved country. The year 2010 brings us new hopes and new leaders. We should not waste the opportunity for the young people to have a better country.

For us, “politically-matured”,before we shade the circle in the ballot, we have to consider the future of our children and the young people. It is they who will either benefit or suffer the consequences of what we do today.

So, now is the start of the future of the country. Ask your politicians about what they have done and what they will do. We should not be blinded of the empty promises of many politicians. We should not accept the reason that because the candidate is unopposed, the candidate is already good. The reason why we have unopposed candidate is that people in the area are no longer interested in entering politics because of the de-service done by the incumbent. Take case of a city in the south of Negros. People are tired of having traditional politics in that area. People are already tired of the empty promises. The people made a stand- “come what may!”

By the way, it is already 2010, and the Batuan-Pait Relocation site in La Carlota still has no lights. It has been a year already after politicians had made their pledges of lighting the area. May you also feel how is it to leave without electricity while the city government is wasting it on the useless lit trees in the public plaza. What an irony and shame on you, you only feast on the money of the people in the city but you never look at their welfare. This is the time that people of La Carlota shall collect your promises to them. May God have mercy on your souls!

The Child Jesus, Pope John Paul II and St. Ezekiel Moreno, pray for us.

For comments and responses, email me at ecaloy1@yahoo.com.