taal evacuees lining up for food

Everyday Heroes

Today, we celebrate National Heroes Day in the Philippines. We honor those who offered their lives so our nation might be free. We call them pambansang bayani.

Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are famous national heroes. Ninoy Aquino is also widely held as a national hero.

We have many national heroes. Maybe, one day, our government will make known these heroes to us. (We do not have official national heroes. There was an attempt to recognize these heroes in 1995, but it did not get the support of Congress).

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I think their unselfish love for the nation if made into movies, will set the bar higher for our national leaders.

I once heard someone say, “hindi mo kailangan magpakabayani para maging bayani”. You don’t have to be heroic to be a hero.

In the article Bayanihan: Culture That Turns Ordinary Filipinos Into Heroes, I explained that the word bayanihan came from the word bayani. A bayani is someone who loves his nation. You don’t have to die to be a hero.

Today, we can celebrate the everyday heroes in our midst.

Let us celebrate doctors, nurses, and all medical workers who continue to serve us in these tough times.

Medical workers are heroes. It should bother us that many of them are discriminated against. It should bother us that diehard supporters of the President mocked them for asking what they deserved.

I read a story of a medical technician whose son was bullied by their neighbors. People do not want to be near them. They were eventually told to leave their rented house. And no one would accept them, so he brought his kid to the hospital where he works.

I read a story of a nurse who died because of Covid-19. Nurses are exposed to the virus more than others. But they don’t always get the protection and care they need. Often, they don’t get paid at all.

Yet, we continue to hear of the government’s questionable purchase of overpriced face masks from a new company with a fictitious address.

They are everyday heroes. Let us celebrate them every day.

Let us also celebrate those who initiated and supported community pantries. Let us thank Patricia Non for showing us what we can do when together. Community pantries are a great example of bayanihan. My friend Hernan Espiritu is one of those who continue to encourage people to support initiatives like the community panty.

Not all everyday heroes are unknown and unsung. We don’t get tired of hearing Angel Locsin’s name because she used her influence to bring people into a bayanihan. She got an award for philanthropy but I believe her superpower is her ability to bring people together for a cause.

I was tempted to say that the surest way to become an anti-hero is to be a politician. But Leni Robredo, Vico Sotto, and other government leaders have shown that there are still good ones in the government. We only need to support this kind of politician.

We only need to inspire others to dream bigger and raise our standards. That I think is another everyday heroism.

We can celebrate everyday heroes by becoming everyday heroes.

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