By ALDWIN G. QUITASOL
“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.”- Ayn Rand
While 2009 CNN Hero of the Year awardee Efren Peñaflorida tours the streets and slum areas of poverty stricken City of Cavite to teach poor children who cannot afford to enter formal schooling, government officials and politicians are busy on figuring out how will their names be as sweet as they want to be to the Filipino voters.
Efren walks for hours just to bring education to where education is a foreign word, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rides a tax-payers’ funded-airplane to go to many countries especially the first worlds to beg for “aid” putting our country much deeper in debt. While Efren and some of his friends in the Dynamic Teen Company are pushing around the celebrated “Kariton Klassroom” to serve the poor especially the youth, thick faced (kapalmuks) are enjoying their ride in luxury vehicles bought with the Filipino tax-payers’ money.
Efren, a devoted social worker and a rare kind of a selfless educator who does not expect fame or awards. Instead uses his education to serve impoverished children of unemployed, underemployed people. On the other hand, Arroyo, her cohorts and other corrupt officials with their exclusive schools learning, exploit their countrymen. You know, many are learned like those who are in power but few are really educated, Efren belongs to the few.
Efren earned the love out of trust and gratitude of the poor children he had taught. Meanwhile, GMA deserves the disgust of poor Filipino families who scrape every cent to send their children to school. The expenxive cost of education does not seek to suppport the betterment of the Philippine education system.
Instead, GMA turned the education system into a factory for good workers to export.
While Efren lure children into reading and writing and diverting them from joining gangs and criminality, the abusiveness and irresponsibility of most of our government rulers drive children to darkness as poverty worsens.
There are many Efrens in our country who are also deserving of high praises. But like Efren, they do not crave for it. There are many unsung real heroes in our society while there are also unwanted egotistic, self-proclaimed heroes. The real heroes are those who share what they have, who serve society sincerely. All society needs is a responsible government, responsible rulers who know how to serve and know how to manage the rotting economy and lift the impoverished people.
Efren is one of the many pictures of the struggle to make life better. Efren is one of the many Filipino people who wants to serve his countrymen. His efforts contribute to the aspirations for change, a real change to everyone’s life, for the good of society as a whole.# nordis.net