Random Thoughts: A nation of bystanders and spectators

Miron, a uniquely Filipino term that means, to some degree, spectator (as a noun) and make a nuisance of one’s self by joining a crowd of spectators and bystanders (as a verb). The word used to be a source of pride, especially to the masses, as is jologs, which has lost its original meaning of squatter or a slum’s inhabitant over the years.

It is this very trait, the Filipino’s penchant for acting for the good of the nation only after tragedy, that is hurting the Philippines’ chances at moving forward, convincing investors to come in, and luring more tourists.

The latest tragedy to hit the country—the murder of American Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell—has once again placed the Philippines in a bad light. Already, several “First World” countries have issued travel advisories to their citizens.

The United Kingdom: “There is a high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out these attacks at any time and anywhere in the country.”

Canada: “Philippine authorities have warned that there may be bomb attacks in Manila and other key cities. Visitors can expect to be subject to frequent security checks at public and private facilities, including shopping malls and public transportation.”

Australia: “Philippines overall: High degree of caution; Cebu province: Reconsider need to travel; Mindanao: Do not travel.”

New Zealand: “Although some arrests of suspected terrorists have been made and the Philippine government remains committed to combating terrorism and improving security, there continues to be a risk from terrorism. We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks that could occur at any time, anywhere, especially in the southern Philippines and Metro Manila.”

Sigh. When are we Filipinos, especially those in government, going to stop being bystanders and spectators and start acting on the issues, like national security, that keep us down?

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