10/14/2013

What Color Am I?


Color has played a big part in our political scene.

During campaign time, parties become brands; they choose a particular color to distinguish them from other brands. Red, yellow, blue, green, purple, orange—each for a political party or a candidate. 

This color phenomenon was birthed when Ninoy Aquino, then a political exile in America, came home and was killed at the Manila International Airport (now known as Ninoy Aquino International airport).

For this grand homecoming of Martial Law's most vocal foe, people tied yellow ribbons all over. Taking off from the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” pro-democracy Filipinos tied yellow ribbons not just around tree branches but around their car's antenna or anything that resembled a branch. Metro Manila blossomed with yellow ribbons.  

In the next three years, yellow would be the color of protest against the dictatorship. And yellow became the color of people power and those associated with it: yellow is the color of our president, PNoy; yellow army is how his supporters are called.

Today, there are issues on grand-scale corruption, involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) handled by our law makers. Nicknamed the PDAF scam, it has stoked anger among tax payers, prompting them to mount an anti-PDAF campaign at the Luneta.

I attended that massive rally, together with an estimated 200,000 people of all political colors. Result: PNoy suspended the PDAF; the Department of Justice and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee are conducting investigations and inquiries into the issue; the alleged facilitator of the scam, Jeanette Napoles, is in jail awaiting judicial process, etc.

Because the scam involves moneyed and powerful politicians, who can manipulate the hysterical media, the issue has morphed into a dozen derivatives. A second rally was mounted: anti-PDAF; “oust PNoy, he's involved”; down with the government; close the senate and congress; damn the Philippines.

This rally, which became a clash of colors instead of being united against one issue, I skipped. About 3,500 people attended it.

So what color am I?

One of the organizers of the Million People March at Luneta, Peachy Rallonza-Bretana (who disagreed with the multi-intent of the 2nd rally), captured my thoughts on FB through a poster by Betty Abrantes.

(English translation: I am not yellow. I am not green. I am not red. I am not blue. I am not orange. I AM A FILIPINO. This is my color.)

On the issue of corruption, my color is Filipino.

As such, ranting and raving are out of the question. Instead, I pray for grace to help my color live these verses, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;  for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)

May every Filipino who dons this color be granted this grace.

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