In the days of our hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, social cancer was already present in our society, which prompted him to write his immortal novel, Noli Me Tangere (The Social Cancer). According to Dr. Rizal’s The Philippines a Century Hence, the impact of the colonizers’ culture upon the Filipinos made them forget their past, their traditions, morality, laws, religion and all others. The Filipinos swallowed the foreigners’ culture, hook, line and sinker.
To the writer’s mind, our present crop of leaders sadly lack good examples for our young people to emulate. The following are important leaders of society who influence our future citizens by their good or bad examples. They are parents; teachers; national regional, provincial and local leaders and government employees; socio-civic leaders; and last but not least, our religious leaders.
The writer considers parents as the most important leaders of society. As parents, they are the best models for their children. Their children look up to them as infallible beings that would not commit mistakes nor do any wrongs, so whatever they do is righteous in their children’s eyes. So, the tendency for children is to emulate their parents in words and deeds.
At the moment, what do we read, see and hear about parents? Fathers beat their wives and children, gamble, drink, rape their own children, commit murder, malversation and many other crimes. We also see, hear, and read about mothers who leave their husbands and children and live immoral lives. Will these kinds of parents breed good children for the future of our country? Will they not contribute to the further deterioration of our already decadent society?
Next to parents as leaders of society are teachers . They assume the position of second parents in the life of our children. Teachers of yesteryears, considered their profession as a mission, so they were very dedicated to their wards. Their wards were first and foremost in their daily work. What do we see, read, and hear about them now? Although not all of them are materialistic and affected by unionism like the laborers, their way of redressing their grievances does not speak well of them. They leave their classrooms to go to the streets to seek redress for their grievances, which could be done by dialogues.
Just like parents, their pupils look up to them as models of righteousness, as law-abiding citizens. It is very sad to admit that they are no longer models for our children of tomorrow, so they add too to the decadence of our society. The nobility of their profession is already a thing of the past, our wonderful past. So, what kind of pupils and students do we expect to have with such models?
NATIONAL, REGIONAL, PROVINCIAL, LOCAL OFFICIALS AND GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
Another set of leaders in our society are the above-mentioned people. Due to their positions in our government setup, the should show good examples to our young people, who could be the citizens of your tomorrow.
We have heard, seen, and read in the not too recent past of event a Vice President and cohorts allegedly defrauding the government of billions of pesos through fraudulent means, which cases are still pending in our courts, governors, mayor and other officials accused of murder, malversation, rape, and so many other crimes. To think that they are all models for our young people to emulate is beyond anybody’s imagination. Print, internet, radio and television are replete with different crimes perpetuated by these people, so our young people imitate them because they are done by their elders.
Another set of leaders are the socio-civic leaders, president and officials of different socio-civic organizations in the country. These clubs are headed by prominent people in their communities, yet these people are sometimes guilty of crimes. Some of them practice rigged elections, also malverse associations’ money. Our young people see, read, and hear about these, so, what would they emulate? They too, are wanting in good examples which are badly needed by them.
Last, but not least are our religious leaders. These religious leaders are not exempt from being bad examples. We read of Catholic priests’ allegedly begetting children during priesthood, also being involved in malversation of funds, and involving themselves in partisan politics. These are not only true of Catholic priests, but they are also true of other religious leaders taking advantage of their flock in immoral matters and money matters too. So, where will our young people find good examples of leaders in such a society such as ours?
With all of these examples of leaders in our different layers of society, how can we expect our country to be progressive? It may be safe to say that the cancer in our society during Dr. Rizal’s time still exists today in more serious form. It is done by Filipinos themselves, while during his time; it was done by the colonizers. So, whither are the Filipinos going? Only time will tell. The handwriting is written on the wall. Shall we ignore it?
Special Thanks to: Fidela Lizardo