Inside President Nestor’s office is a three-paneled painting made by Ponx, an artist from Cavite, for one of the Hapag ng Pag-asa events. The mural is a reflection of the daily struggles of the ordinary Filipino. I remember how a friend recalled of how his father, during a family dinner, told him that the hardest thing to do is to eat. Curious, because he was enjoying his meal, he asked why. “Dahil bago tayo makakain, kailangan munang paghirapan at pagtrabahuhan bago malagyan ng laman ang paminggalan at hapag natin.”
Now that we are facing a much tougher situation with the abrupt raise in the inflation rate, the burdens of the TRAIN law on the consumers, the rising prices of oil and commodities, how much more should people struggle? NEDA said that a family of five (5) would even have savings with 10,000 pesos monthly. However, it is plain absurdity. A quick trip to the market and one will realize how pitiful their assumption were. The basic right of being secured of having food on the table each morning was hard.
This fear to survive cripples people to insecurity. It diminishes the people’s capacity to imagine, to go beyond their daily toils and dream beyond their current situation. This sense of insecurity and fear is the capital of populists who feed on those and assures the people with their baseless promises and claims, and distorted truths. Zygmunt Bauman, in one of his interview said that humans need are security and freedom. “Security without freedom is slavery. Freedom without security is complete chaos where you are lost, abandoned, you don’t know what to do.” Filipinos living in this current society lost both the sense of feeling safe and the ability to do what they would desire to do.
How can we, as a learning community, respond to this? Penuel’s unique place in the forefronts of society through the members of the community doing ministry and bringing the gospel to all people is a source of hope. Maaasahan tayo. The school can be depended in enabling people to think beyond the limits the world placed on them, to unshackle the chains that bind their minds letting students soar above the norm and above mediocrity. Because we value critical thinking and creativity, scrutinizes the ordinary, and offers alternatives in the typical worldview of people, we are expected to offer atypical approaches in seeing, judging and acting on issues the church and the community faces.
The Penuel community are like scattered little eruptions of hope, true to Jesus’ vision of a society. We share the sweat and tears of the karaniwang tao, struggling to offer hope, pag-asa, to their plights and fights. – Ana Rica Navarra