(illustration by John Lee for #YolandaPH)
It's been a long and hard journey since November 8.
If you've been following the news you'd probably be pretty frustrated. If you've been online, you're probably even more frustrated. The situation is devastating and the casualties are staggering. Who can't but help but try to impute the blame, if only for things to make sense?
According to my linkedin profile I have been working for the government for about six months. Many people have asked me if I had any regrets, given the current trend of animosity towards the government,
I can honestly say, no, not really.
Since typhoon Yolanda rolled in, much has been said about the government. It's been a lot of blame games and finger pointing because everyone has been demanding answers. Pegged as one of the worst typhoons of all time, all eyes are on the Philippines to see how we respond, as both a government and a nation.
Both sides have made their points. Much time has been spent drafting long Facebook statuses to which more time has been spent crafting the pointed responses. I don't claim to have not participated in any of these, because I have. Time and time again if I may say so. All it takes is an article with a provocative title and you can spend hours on end arguing your point. Well the truth of the matter is, it's been tiring.
I'm not here for government apologia, which is what most people think comes out of my mouth nowadays. I'm just here to tell a good and sincere truth: your government is working.
Amidst the wreckless gossip and the founded criticism, the people I have been so privileged to work with go on. They work hard into the night, help out at relief centers during graveyard shifts, and come right on time for work the following morning.
These are the moments that remind me that working for government has been and still is the right choice.
It has been a learning experience. Working for government has taught me much about reading the lines before reading in between them. It has also taught me much about expanding my patience, my understanding, and general threshold for pain of all kinds.
It is a thankless job, but who needs thanks? Day in and day out I am in awe of my peers who constantly remind me that at the core of the matter (beyond the politics, beyond the bureaucracy) has always been the heart for others.
Issues can be divisive. Some, rightly so. Some issues necessarily need divisions for any sort of good to arise. But some I'd think have a higher calling. In this time of catastrophe, the call to arms is not for a divided people, but a united one. Somewhere, in Holy Literature, it has been said that a house divided against each other will not stand or prosper.
The typhoon is long gone, and we are now working on rebuilding from ground zero. Get off your Facebook and sign up for a shift at Villamor or NROC. If you can, sign up for deployment to the affected areas. But if cooperation sounds too farfetched, then perhaps a little consideration. Before you share that article on Facebook, maybe take the time to verify (check the date it was published, by who) that the information you will be sharing is the truth.
To my fellow workers in government, thank you. You inspire me daily. Don't give up! #tiwala #puso
To my friends, and the strangers reading this from who knows where: whatever you may think of this, the work does not stop. We will not stop. You can be sure of that.
Thank you for your time.