Before the Asia Society in New York on August 14, 1980, Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. delivered a speech, saying that the Filipino is worth dying for. As Ninoy’s 31st death anniversary today nears to an end, we remain searching for the answer to what actually makes us, Filipinos, worth dying for.
Ninoy said the Filipino is not a coward. He is a good leader and follower who values life. But aren’t these usually the characteristics of a people fighting for democracy? Does this follow that the people fighting a democracy is worthy of someone’s sacrifice of bloodshed? What about the Filipinos who do not posses such attributes, those who have wasted away in indifference with the state of the nation? Aren’t these kinds the mightier in population today? Are they worth dying for, too?
In his speech, Ninoy answered his own question saying that the Filipino is worth dying for because he is the “nation’s greatest untapped resource.” What if we remain “untapped” for the rest of our lives, without the slightest contribution to the progress of the nation in any aspect? Does this mean that merely being a “resource”, however the degree of usefulness or uselessness, makes the Filipino deserving of being sacrificed for? Wouldn’t this fact render the death of heroic people of no avail, killing off these people with the most serviceable skills necessary for a brighter prospect of our country at the cost of letting the stale ones live?
No matter what kindness is exclaimed in praise of the Filipino, it should be instilled in our minds that not one of us Filipinos is worth the bloodshed of anyone especially of one great Ninoy Aquino. It’s not because we’re Filipinos but because were humans all the same, innately inclined to fall out from virtue, and fall short of failure. But perhaps, this is not enough to render irrational the sacrifices of our ancestors for the freedom we have now.
The Filipino as himself is not worth dying for. But when the Filipino is seen in the eyes of love, from hence then comes his worth. Our value is measured not by the fibers that make up who we are but by the eyes that can see something beyond who we are. This is perception effected by perspective which makes the act of dying for someone rational but not in the precisely calculated way we come up with rationality.
This explains why for Ninoy, the Filipino is not just a citizen of a country, but a jewel, the luster of the Orient’s Pearl, worthy of being sacrificed for a forty-day-and-forty-night hunger strike, worthy of being died for. This is the genuine love of a hero that filled EDSA with a yellow revolution and hence began the tale of the housewife who ceased the dragon from breathing more flames.
If we only fall in love with the Filipino the way Ninoy did, then indeed, the true revolution will come into light.