Who are our National Heroes? A question like this would elicit typical responses such as Rizal, Bonifacio, and Del Pilar. Although, there are still arguments on who should really be given the recognition, if it’s Rizal or Bonifacio, or if Aguinaldo should really be considered as such. Despite all the debates, we can’t deny the fact that they all played an important role in the quest for our independence during the Colonial Era. Zooming out, every single one of our countrymen who died by the swords and bullets in the battlefield and paying the price of our sovereignty with their lives, deserves to be called a hero. Through time, our history has molded heroes in our society by necessity or by destiny. Some of them are already written in the books and will be remembered forever, while others are still nameless. Shifting to the contemporary context, we can find our OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) in the top spot if we talk about our “modern day heroes”. Truly, our OFWs deserve this recognition, not only for the sacrifices they do for their families, but also for their overall contribution to the health of our economy.
But these past few days, when our eyes, burning with rage are focused once again to our government particularly in the legislative and executive department because of the pork barrel scam, I came to ponder upon many things. The situation definitely calls for heroes once again, but with a different kind of mission. “Different” because our enemy has evolved through time, hiding in different names, but hasn’t stop laying waste on our nation and giving endless pain and agony to our fellowmen. The enemy has its roots deeply ingrained within our society, in our institutions, with the government as its number one ally. It has capitalized on the weakness of our system, continuously searching for loopholes in the very rules that govern us.
In the movie The Dark Knight Rises, Commissioner Gordon said:
“There’s a point far out there, when the structures fail you. When the rules aren’t weapons anymore, they’re shackles, letting the bad guy get ahead… Maybe one day, you may face such a moment of crisis. And in that moment, I hope you have a friend like I did… To plunge their hands into the filth, so that you can keep yours clean!”
Curiosity came into my mind. What if we had a new brand of a hero – one that doesn’t play by the rules, someone who will break the “shackles” to fight at par with our enemy? He doesn’t care if he gets his hands dirty just to send the bad guys to their misery and doom. He doesn’t believe in due process for he is impatient with it and instead, he places justice upon his hands. He is the punisher, the death bringer of the corrupt officials, and leaves their heads for the public to see. He takes away wealth from the greedy and heartless and gives it back to the poor. His deeds would spread terror among the evils in the society, until they could sleep no more. Their efforts of eliminating him would be futile, because he has no name, no one knows his face, and he lurks in the shadows. Later on, the enemy that we are struggling to fight against for decades appears to be shaken by this “hero” that comes with a totally different color: maybe black, maybe gray.
I found myself back to reality. Perhaps a little bit more of optimism will do. If we Filipinos could just awaken THE HERO WITHIN US, then we won’t need a vigilante anymore. Not this time. Not ever. Because THERE IS STILL HOPE.
-Feljune C. Pangilinan