Thrice yesterday, the crowds that gathered at the Quirino Grandstand were asked to stand up. First, for the National Anthem; second, to join Noel Cabangon’s challenge-song to be truly “Mabuting Pilipino;” and third, pledge their own “Panata sa Pagbabago” just as the nation’s 15th president delivered his promises minutes earlier.
In the many precursors leading to President Noynoy’s oath-taking and address, the Philippine Madrigal Singers’ performance of “Sabihin Mo” was but one of the more touching highlights of the event.
A father’s words to his child, the song bid, “Sabihin mo ikaw ay Pilipino, saan man sa mundo, ‘yan ang sabihin mo. Sabihin mo ikaw ay Pilipino, ‘yan ang totoo.” It was difficult not to get emotional as the music and their voices swelled.
The words are so simple: say – tell them – that you are Filipino, but with so many things that are wrong in this country, to say these words with absolute pride is more difficult than it looks.
Yesterday, we ushered in a new president and on him are pinned so many of our dreams as individuals and as a nation. However, we were reminded that the task of forging a truly new Philippines is not one that he shoulders alone.
Noel Cabangon enumerated in practical and ordinary terms the actions of a mabuting Pilipino –“tumatawid ako sa tamang tawiran, sumasakay ako sa tamang sakayan, pumipila, ‘di nakikipag-unahan …” etcetera, but we know it will take more than this.
What will it take to realize a truly new Philippines?
We trust (and pray) that Noynoy will make good on his promises, particularly about not letting culprits – inside and outside office – get away with murder and a host of other crimes; that forgiveness can only go hand-in-hand with justice.
Perhaps the most quoted part of his address speaks of this:
To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: there can be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again. Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all.
And so, yesterday was an inauguration of hope, not only in a new leader, but also in ourselves. Yesterday – whether at the Quirino Grandstand or in our living rooms – we bore witness and promised each other a better future. Yesterday, with our vows as citizens of this country renewed, may we not forget that a nation’s government should be a community’s best reflection of itself. The present and future administrations can only be as honest, effective, and committed as the electorate that chose it.
PANATA SA PAGBABAGO
(composed by Sonny Coloma and Marian Pastor Roces)
Na tutulong sa ating pamunuan
Sa pagtataguyod ng marangal na pamamahala
Sa pagpapalakas ng isang lipunang makatarungan
At sa pagpapatingkad ng ating demokrasya
Upang guminhawa ang ating demokrasya
Upang guminhawa ang pinakamamahal nating bayang Pilipinas.
Ang lahat ng katungkulan
Ng isang mabuting mamamayan
Na kasing-tindi ng paghamon ko sa ating mga pinuno
Na sumunod sa landas na matuwid.
Makikipag-kapit-bisig ako sa aking kapwa Pilipino
Sama-sama nating babaguhin
Ang takbo ng kasaysayan upang umiral ang kagandahang-loob.
Ipinangangako ko ito sa ngalan ng aking mga ninuno at mga apo
Patnubayan nawa ng Poong Maykapal ang sambayanan.