ONCE admired and now is left behind - this is the picture of the Philippines where it remains at the bottom while its counterparts Korea, China, Singapore, and Malaysia have become first world from being third world.

Make that less developed country, the more politically correct term to third world.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

The country wallows in a third world status because of corruption, overpopulation, widespread poverty, and the negative attitude of the Filipinos.

We, Filipinos, are contented with our lot. Some of us don't aim for the better. We tend to just accept our fate. We don't like changes either. And so the jobless just remains jobless.

We have very little confidence in ourselves and so we easily give up. We don't value time hence the term Filipino time meaning always late. We love to delay things thinking that there is always tomorrow. We don't make an effort to arrive in meetings an hour before the prescribed time. We arrive late because we don't want to wait.

Moreover, we love the bahala na mentality which causes failure in our jobs. We leave to fate our tasks and we're not determined to finish what we've started.

Because of the title third world, first world people tend to discriminate the Filipinos. Third world people are looked down on as uneducated, poor, and oppressed.

Subsequently, let us look at the country's strong points.

The Philippines is blessed with abundant resources because of its strategic location. It is one of the premier destinations in the world - destinations which capture the hearts of tourists. We have beaches swarming with rich marine life, scenic spots, unique culture, different festivals, and best of all, hospitable citizens. This is our best asset - we are naturally warm and accommodating when it comes to meeting new people.

But the problem lies with the negative traits we have. If we are unemployed, then we don't stop there. We should move and do something. Perhaps find other means and sources for income.

If we are responsible, there would be fewer problems. It is still possible to improve our standard of living. Let us erase the crab mentality and trust our government. We should stop blaming each other and instead contribute to the country's progress. Changing our attitude means we should work together as one. Individual progress may sound obscure but if we will just have the same thinking and will have cooperation, nothing is really impossible.

Let us renew our love for our country; let the concept of nationalism live.

The Philippines is labeled to be a poor country but we are, in reality, extremely rich in resources. If we just know how to handle and utilize them, there's a big possibility that the country's status will change.

It's all in the attitude - a positive attitude plus a lot of work. Discipline is the key in leading us back from being once a powerful country. We should continue striving hard, and first world will never be far from reality.

Cliché it may be but change should really start within us. And I am hopeful and will always be looking forward to making the country a first world country aiming to have the best quality of life.

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Sunday Essays are compositions by third year Masscom students of Ateneo de Davao University for their journalism class. (Janette Roanne L. Sturm)