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Essay About Philippines Today

Editor’s Note: In celebration of the Philippines’ 117th Independence Day, INQUIRER.net is publishing short essays submitted by our readers.

Gemma Louise Heaton, a teacher at The Lord of Grace Christian School, asked students under her History and Social Studies classes to answer our question: “What’s the best that you have done for our country?” Here are their responses.

‘Be proud of being a Filipino’

What is the best the thing I have done for my country? I actually don’t know because at my age, it is impossible to do something big. Then I realized it isn’t important on how big it is. I think the best thing I’ve done for my country is to be proud that I am a Filipino.

Being proud that I am a Filipino is not quite easy. Sometimes, I even doubt it because of our government. The people have to rally on the streets to get what they want. I feel like it is telling me that we have to go to war first before we can gain peace. When I was in Grade 7, we studied Philippine history. I then appreciated peace. It was not just about the Filipinos fighting the Spanish but how we fought for our independence.

Now, if someone will ask me what is the best thing that I have done for our country, I will tell him or her that I am proud to be a Filipino.

– Jen Denielle R. Hernandez, Grade 9

‘Give respect’

There are many heroes and heroines who have done big things for the Philippines: Andres Bonifacio, who sacrificed and gave everything for the sake of the Philippines; Melchora Aquino, who risked her life to help the Katipuneros; Dr. Jose Rizal, who is our national hero, and others who sacrificed their lives.

But what is the best thing a 13-year-old girl has done and can do for her country? I am not a mother who is a hero for neither her child nor a father who is a hero for his son. I am just a sophomore student, a girl who knows nothing but to eat, sleep, surf the Internet, watch television and fan-girl over Daniel Padilla. The things I have done for my country so far are to make my parents proud and to give respect. I study to make my parents, as well as my teachers, proud. It is not easy to make a person proud and, at the same time, happy.

I gave relief items to the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” before. Yes, it is a big thing, but for me, giving respect is bigger. It is the biggest thing a 13-year-old girl can do and give. Giving respect, for me, is the sister of loving and loving is the root of caring.

Giving respect is the best thing I have done for my country and for the people around me.

– Maureen Omanito, Grade 8

‘Study our history, teach it to others’

What’s the best that I have done for my beautiful, loving country? Even if I can’t die for my country like Andres Bonifacio and Dr. Jose Rizal, here are best things that I have done for my country and I will continue to do for my country: In our house, we separate biodegradable, degradable and recyclable trash. For that, I contribute to saving our environment. I also use “po” and “opo” because it is one of our Filipino traits well-known by people around the world.

But really, what is the best that I have done for our country? It is to study about its history so that I can teach it to the future young Filipino kids, that they will never forget where they belong. It doesn’t matter if what you’ve done for your country is big or small. Small things can become big things.

You don’t have to die for your country; you can simply do small things that will help the future of the Philippines.

 – Marie Gold Vivien M. Totanes, Grade 8

‘Do good in school’

When people ask that question, the answer really depends on who you are asking. When you ask an adult, he/she would probably answer something like: “I have donated to charity” or “I have beggars on the street.” But as a sophomore student, and not a financially fortunate one at that, there is only so much I can do.

A lot of people say it doesn’t matter how old you are and stuff like that, “you can do anything if you put your mind to it.” But in my perspective, I am just a little girl who is lost in a big world. What is there for a 14-year-old to do that will improve our country? After all the ups and downs in my 14 years of existence, I guess the best I can do is to do good in school, succeed as a student and be an obedient daughter to my family.

If I am an honor student, I can graduate with honors, and graduating with a scholarship is my goal. If I can make to the Dean’s List, I will succeed in the career I want to pursue. If I am going to be a film director in the future, as an adult I can change or improve the country by directing inspirational or motivational films.

– Anna Maria Mikaela Almirez, Grade 8

‘Pray for the nation, embrace our culture’

Praying for our nation is the best I can contribute to our country. When we had our field trip at Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, we were told not to fold the bills. By not folding our monetary bills, I am helping our economy. Embracing our culture is one of the best things I can do for our country.

– Jean Lalaine F. Rubio, Grade 9

‘Help victims of calamities’

I, with my dad and sister, participated in the “World Wide Walk” fund run to help the people who were affected by a typhoon in the Visayas, a run that broke the Guinness World Record for having a huge number of participants. This event helped the victims of the typhoon in Samar and Leyte. If there are more events like this in the future, I’ll be there to participate and help.

– VJ Bagani R. Villan, Grade 9

‘Save electricity’

I think the best thing I have done for my country is to save electricity since the Philippines has a power supply problem.By simply turning off appliances when not in use, we are helping the country.

– Aira Joy L. Bercero, Grade 10

‘Pick up litter’

As a student, the simple things I can do for my country will snowball to bigger things.Something as simple as picking up candy wrappers affects us all. This should not be taken lightly, as throwing small things can lead to throwing bigger things. By picking up litter, if done little by little, we are also influencing others to do the same.

– Reimart C. Sarmiento, Grade 10

‘Grow up!’

Being a citizen is a little difficult for the reason that you have to follow the rules implemented by your country. We know that people hate to follow them; if you don’t you, could be sent to jail or you will have to pay the price. You have to submit to the authorities. You have to be responsible and you need to contribute in the simplest way that you can do for your country. Actually, as a citizen, you need to be aware and remember a few things or rules.

As a student, I believe the things that I can do for my country are limitless, as long as I believe in myself. Honestly, when I’m at home, I dislike following the house rules; sometimes, even when I am in school. When I’m outside, I throw garbage anywhere. But when I entered high school, I realized I have to stop these practices because it is childish. I need to grow up in order to contribute to my country. So, I started following the rules, regardless of where I am.

Therefore, I conclude that our society has a lot of problems right now and I’m aware there will be a lot more as time goes by. So stop being a burden in our society: Follow rules and submit to our authorities. Our society has a lot to face they may not be able to help you right now. Grow up!

– Lois Corliss Q. Rivera, Grade 9

‘Make the right decisions’

Choosing what course to take up in college and which school to apply for are the main thoughts of a Grade 10 student like me, taking up exams in the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and the University of Santo Tomas. Once we make the right decisions, we are doing the best we can do for our country.

– Joan Ellaine F. Rubio, Grade 10

OTHER ESSAYS:

There is hope for Manila in Escolta

A nurse’s duty: Service and compassion above all else

What is your contribution to the country? Filipinos weigh in

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According to the Greek philosopher, Plato, “Nothing is more important in human life as education. It is an indispensable necessity for mankind.” Education is the key that levels the playing field of opportunity between the rich and poor, amongst social classes and races. In the Philippines, the lack of education is the primary reason why it cannot move forward towards progress, and has led to social problems such as: scarcity of job opportunities, impoverished family life, and lack of environmental concerns among the marginalized members of our society. The lack of education of Filipinos living in the slum areas in major cities of the country is the void that keeps the gap between the rich and the poor. It is one of the major contributory factors that has caused the Philippines to remain as a third world country, aside from corruption in government. Our president, Benigno C. Aquino III, strongly believes that education is the first step that will lead the Filipinos to the “tuwid na daan.”

The lack of education can be equated to poor job opportunities. Job hiring, nowadays, is highly competitive among fresh graduates. In fact, the degree or course of an individual is not only the basis for getting a good paying job, but from what university or college he/she graduated from. Hence, since good job opportunities are scarce for those who have not gone to school, low paying “blue-collar jobs” is the only means to survive. Most often, these people are the victims of contractualization from which they do not receive benefits as compared to regular employees, and the protection from the abuses of companies that give below daily minimum wage that is set by law. In the survey conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) in 2011 on Child Labor, it showed that out of the 29.019 million Filipino children aged 5-17 years old, about 18.9 percent or 5.59 million were already working, usually in hazardous conditions. For parents who lack education, they actually pressure their children to work.

Instead of sending them to school, they force them to do so in order to help in the family’s financial needs. It works to the advantage of companies, those cost-cutting with their labor over-head, to employ children at a low cost. In reality, even these children themselves are unaware of their rights. They choose to work because they witness the poverty in their own family for which they feel the responsibility to help. In the remote provinces, young women who lack education are victims of white slavery or women trafficking, either domestically or abroad.

They are forced by their parents who are bribed by recruitment agencies, without knowing that their daughters will be turned into sex slaves by foreigners or even local sex dens in key cities in the country. Out-of-school-youth is increasing every year as the population increases. There have been crime syndicates preempting these children to commit crime since they are protected by the “juvenile law.” Minors at the age of 15 who commit crime will not be charged of the crime committed in a regular court, but will simply have to undergo rehabilitation in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Because of this, crime rates committed by minors have increased in the past years since the conceptualization of this law.

Another social impact of the lack of education is poverty. Since job opportunities are deficient, the financial status of the family suffers. Such condition leads to poor family planning, malnutrition, and juvenile delinquency. The lack of the basic knowledge on family planning has led to population explosion among the poor families. Statistically, large family size comes from the underprivileged families of the society. This is the result of the myth that the more children they have, the more chances they will have to be free from poverty if one of their children is fortunate enough to find a job that pays well. According to Plato, “No man should bring children into the world, which is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.” Parents must be mindful of their responsibility of sending their children to school in order for them to have a brighter future, and not by means of luck.

The lack of environmental awareness is another detrimental effect caused by the lack of education. These poor families are also known as informal settlers that reside in slum areas. They have created environmental problems such as air pollution, water pollution, flooding and congestion. Since they are formed in an environment where exposure to all kinds of pollution is highest, they usually operate outside society’s norms where environmental laws are not strictly enforced. They are situated along river lines or seashores which are frequently affected by typhoons, rains, erosion and sea surges. Not only does is this harmfully affect their environment, but also their health.

The risk of over-crowding along rivers and the narrowing of our floodway system, the garbage pollution they contribute everyday lead to disease outbreak like dengue, flooding, and casualties during typhoons and heavy rains. For a family of a deprived household with more mouths to feed, children also become victims of malnutrition. Improper nutrition affects all body systems, from physical growth and vision, brain vigor, and immunity. According to the survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), Filipino children suffer from micronutrient deficiency: Vitamin A, iodine and iron. The lack of Vitamin A affects eye health, while iodine affects cognitive functions and iron for fighting anemia. These defects have been mostly rampant among children of distressed families.

Lack of education is one of the major reasons why there is poverty in the country. To level the playing field of opportunities to every Filipino, I suggest that the government provide free and quality education to every child. The K-12 program in our educational system is one of the best initiatives this administration has done. The underprivileged children can now compete with children in exclusive schools, since they now have the same foundation of nursery and kinder education in preparation for a free grade one to seventh grade education given to them by the government. The passing of the RH bill is also a positive move the present government has done to address overpopulation. Relocating informal settlers to a safer community environment is a long term remedy for the issue of over-crowding, flooding and health risks.

As mentioned, education is the only way to level the playing field of opportunities between the rich and the poor. As Plato said, “Every boy and girl must be educated to his/her limit. Education, therefore, should be provided by the state not by parents.” The government’s K-12 program shows its determination to provide every child the right to education. What matters here is the full implementation of the programs that would benefit every child, especially those in the farthest corners of the country. Plato perceived education “as the total development of a man: mind, body, and soul by using every possible means.” Knowing the capabilities and ingenuity of every Filipino, through education, we can help the Philippines become one of the leading countries in Asia in the coming years.

REFERENCES:

Ballesteros, M. M. (2010). _Linking poverty and the environment: Evidence from slums in philippine cities._ Retrieved on December 19, 2013 from http://dirp3.pids.gov.ph/ris/dps/pidsdps1033.pdf.

Castillo, T. (2013). _Pinoy kids micronutrient deficient._ Retrieved on December 19, 2013 from http://tempo.com.ph/2013/06/pinoy-kids-micronutrient-de%EF%AC%81cient/#.UtSTrzfnimR.

Cousins, B., Fry, S. (2002). _Health of children living in urban slums in asia and the near east: Review of existing literature and data._ Retrieved on December 19, 2013 from http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNACQ101.pdf.

Salaverria, L. B. (2013). _Revised penal code revised: Criminal age lowered to 13 in house bill._ Retrieved on December 19, 2013 from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/465181/revised-penal-code-revised-criminal-age-lowered-to-13-in-house-bill.

Tesha, J. (n.d). _Plato’s concept of education._ Retrieved on December 19, 2013 from http://sdsmorogoro.com/common/My%20pages/Research%20Papers/Plato%27s%20Concept%20of%20Education.html.

Tubeza, P. C. (2012). _5.50 million child laborers in philippines, says ILO survey._ Retrieved on December 19, 2013 from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/218947/philippines-has-3-m-child-laborers-nso-ilo.

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