How do you define freedom?
When women can walk the streets at night or ride a taxi and not be afraid of disappearing, body to float molested and lifeless on some provincial ditch.
When you can walk the streets and don’t smell the putrid air – a mixture of human urine, garbage residue and everything in between.
When you no longer pass by girls as young as 13 selling sex like candy on some kanto. The age where life should be full of laughter not self-pity, of school friends or crushes and not smoke-filled clubs. Their young body lusted by a man with protruding stomach.
When mothers stop selling their young children to pornography and sex, Mother’s love overridden by the growl of the stomach.
When you can head out to Divi or Quiapo and not be afraid that your phone and wallet be snatched or your necklace forcedly taken away, a small piece of paper thrown at you telling you to text the number on it.
When you can ride on public buses and does not fear a hold-up or be able to get off or on without having to show acrobatic skills.
When all you can see are verdant shrubs or plants on walkways and not the pitifull state of a woman with a newborn child, hands held out for a few pennies or an amputee on a makeshift rollerboard.
When beggars are beggars and not part of a syndicate, exploited and exploited yet again.
When you can ride the mrt/lrt and never fear for your life and safety. Putting your fate each day on an old rickety machine or a reckless driver. That you’ll be safe and sound in the arms of your love one at the end of the day.
When journalist are no longer shot in the head, buried en masse or riddled with bullets for what they write.
When the politicians you voted for or didn’t, stop pocketing your taxes, enriching themselves and not even showing a tinge of remorse.
When your armed forces can protect its citizen from neighbor bullies and patriotism is embodied and felt by you and not limited on some shirt you wear or the pop music you listen to.
When you are no longer forced to leave your country to be enslaved by another inorder to feed yourself and your family.
When you no longer hear or watch on tv the wooden casket of a fellow Filipino being lowered on the tarmac – raped, jailed and killed because she belong to a third world country. She’s coming home to be buried.
Are you really free when you are shackled by poverty? When your nation might lose its sovereignty? When your government can’t provide you justice? When your own police can’t protect you?
Until then, the freedom we now know is a farce.#