By Zanti Alfonzo Gayares and Roy Raagas

Cartoon by John Dave Poot

Ever since the pandemic hit the country, the word “resilience” has become a band-aid term to government ineptitude and failure to competently heed the calls of its people. With the recent onslaught of Typhoon Odette days before Christmas, here we go again with romanticizing resilience—and it is the worst Christmas gift ever. 

The typhoon has left many houses in the Visayas and Mindanao region under rubble and took away dozens of lives. Many families will be celebrating their Christmas without their homes and loved ones. This instance displays that Christmas for Filipinos today is not only about being happy but also a matter of survival.  

As we talk about survival, the idea of romanticizing resilience should never trump mitigations and actions to counteract the present predicament. It’s an absolute incompetence for leaders to repeatedly state this culture of strength while abandoning their responsibilities and neglecting the people during these times.

Within the context of disaster mitigation, it is a good idea for political candidates to contribute to relief operations and recovery management for individuals who have been affected by the disaster. However, the Filipinos' perspectives on the ideas of duty, political obligations, and the concept of ‘debt from within’ should be adequately defined and distinguished. Awakening their awareness especially in these critical times will further help them to give a wide berth to the abusive and disguising method of social assistance and services from these crooked politicians. Nor should people focus on political effort not only for the electoral candidates but in general, the same way on how the office of Vice President established its relief operations. Far from the tactics of other political candidates who put their electoral campaign logo in relief packages. 

With the recent unfortunate events, adding the fact that the election season is underway the probability of some political candidates taking advantage of this Christmas season is possible. Therefore, we must be more vigilant and critical towards these politicians. The fact that a political candidate took the effort to mitigate or offer assistance over the Christmas season should not be seen as a personal debt to them, but rather as an outlook that it is their job and responsibility to think about their constituents. A simple monetary handout from a political office should never determine your political preferences and inclinations. As people, we can’t rely upon a single action but on a record and performance in times of crisis.

For the political candidates, the idea of taking advantage in these times of crisis will just prove how inefficient leaders discredit themselves and ridicule their political posts. The intention to help your constituents must never dwell on another political agenda but rather, a pure help because it is a responsibility and a moral obligation as a human.

Nevertheless, it’s the second year of the Philippines to have Christmas with a facemask on their faces. A stable plan, corruption-free, and leaders with integrity are great gifts to give to Filipinos this Christmas. Instead of giving them failures and unending societal issues, the government must act effectively, take accountability, and do their part without weaponizing this Christmas season. Moreover, as we aspire to survive and to achieve happiness and prosperity, we need to do our part in the upcoming elections as we elect the next leaders for the country. Never let these treacherous political animals to ruin the Christmas season with gifts of neglect and incompetence not even on our Santa’s wish list. Deafened them with sleigh bells of social awareness because indeed, we deserve better from this.