Aya Jallorina: The agony of inaction

We Pinoys are inherently “action people.” We are “curacha.” We are not lazy as what a government official announced to justify the employment of Chinese workers, displacing domestic labor. We are pretty eager to act on things.


MY writing room once had a sign, with a Charlie Brown illustration, that read: “Don’t just stand there, do something.”

It was  a reminder for me to be productive at all times,  after having chosen to leave my regular job as editorial assistant and be a freelancer in the writing world. I remember  Tess Mapa, my editor in the defunct Woman’s magazine telling me I was “omnipresent as the sky” because I had bylines in almost every national magazine where I contributed articles on various topics. I also penetrated the broadsheets with workforce issues, business and even what they then called as “off-hours” articles, i.e. lifestyle.

It occurred to me, thus, that I needed no prodding  from Charlie Brown’s slogan. Writing is an enchantment. An idea tremendously excites me, then I would find myself pounding the keyboard like a mad dog to manifest those ideas. In other words, when it comes to writing, call me the “Curacha.”

We Pinoys are inherently “action people.” We are “curacha.”  We are not lazy as what a government official announced to justify the employment of Chinese workers, displacing domestic labor. We are pretty eager to act on things.

That is why we have an EDSA revolt that toppled a dictator. Now we get antsy when our government does nothing about China’s persistent encroachment.  It is half the reason why we get more agitated by the way our government officials handle — or don’t handle — foreign policy. In the early months of the Duterte presidency, we heard him say  he would defend the sovereign rights of the country against nations who attempt to encroach. He went as far as saying he will ride a jetski to plant the Philippine flag on the Spratlys. Only to later take back his words  because he does not want to offend China, which he now calls as a good friend of the Philippines.

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I remember the President, who had  just taken Malacanang, raising everyone’s hope  by his robust and “can do” response to social ills. He promised to end the  drug problem in as short as three months, to lick corruption in the bureaucracy, to end contractualization, to bring more investments.  

Then he fell into passivity. Tons of  illegal drugs found their way here, the EJK toll kept rising, nothing so far was done to end contractualization, there were more corruption revealed but not investigated, plunderers were acquitted. We now  see more of passivity than restraint against intruders. Whatever happened to his party’s buzzword, tapang at malasakit?

Inaction is the worst  of human flaws or of government flaws. Today our government seems to live in fear and is not keen on acting against China. The comment of Senator Panfilo Lacson —  “pasakop na tayo sa China” — is to me an intentional sarcastic remark meant to send to the president the message that it does nothing good to keep announcing how weak the country is in terms of economic and military might. It does not justify, too, that the government should embrace inaction just because of our  presumed disadvantageous position.

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In  a country of heroes like the Philippines, we spell nationalism or patriotism as A-C-T-I-O-N. We are eager forces who believe  in being instruments to correcting an inefficient system. At times we feel demoralized, helpless, fearful but always we rise in unison  to defend our birthright.

Inaction is never a part of our vocabulary. That was so in the time of Bonifacio, Sakay and the countless unsung heroes of yesterday. This remains true to this day. (Laguna Now)