Lesson in humility

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino had spoken. The bloody hostage-taking crisis in Manila that left eight Hong Kong tourists and a deranged police officer dead was a bitter lesson in his administration.

The Chief Executive showed humility and was apologetic even for smiling in the aftermath of the crisis. “If I offended certain people, I apologize to them. Obviously, there was no joy in attending to the situation,” he said.

He had to ask for understanding from the people of Hong Kong after his Facebook was flooded with criticisms, with some of them calling him a “a dog” and urging him to resign with published images that show him smiling when he visited the crime scene and inspected the bus where the tourists died.

As a nation we should support Mr. Aquino in this ordeal, knowing that he is not doing this for himself, but for the good of his people.  It’s  not yet too late to recover from a tragedy which, if improperly handled, might trigger an international crisis in the wake of a mixed reaction from which Hong Kong and even the Chinese mainland which had been mourning the death of the Hong Kong Chinese tourists.

It would not really be difficult for Mr. Aquino to rally the nation to help rebuild the country’s  tarnished image simply because some of the authorities had mishandled the hostage crisis. Unlike his predecessor, he has gained the respect of the people for having restored  decency in the bureaucracy.

He has lived through many crises, and found himself the comfort zone of his parents when they were persecuted during the dark days of martial  law.

His father, the late opposition leader Benigno Aquino, refused to give into the whims of a dictator and, during the years that he was jailed, he learned to value humility if only to preserve his  sanity – and  integrity.  The late President Corazon Aquino was also insulted, and yet she had the courage to inspire the people into finally restoring the country’s democracy. The Aquinos  made us proud.  As Filipinos they helped restore our dignity and the freedom we have always cherished.

It was easy for us to accept Mr. Aquino’s actuation, knowing how sincere his intentions were when he felt humbled. He wasn’t like his predecessor who desperately tried to be teary-eyed, when she said, ”I’m sorry” and only made a fool of herself. People just couldn’t believe her. That was expected because she had been unrepentant and had disgraced the country for her arrogance while in power.

Mr. Aquino had not sinned. The world is watching Mr. Aquino how he and we, as a people, can survive from this crisis.  The President is not stopping at a mere apology. He listened to the cry of the people, and he provided us an assurance that he would address the problem squarely.

Even the Manila police chief asked  that he be relieved, and his spokesman said he was taking responsibility for the mishandling of the crisis by his men.

Now, the world knows that we are not a violent people. We are proud, but we still value humility amid crisis.

We will never be ashamed to be Filipinos just because of what Senior Inspector Rodolfo Mendoza did to his country. He was just one of our few undesirable countrymen. He deserved to be scorned.

As a people we are known for being hospitable. We have a beautiful country and a people that have always shown sincerity through their deeds.


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