Are you ready to change?

Change has been the battle cry of almost every political leader who wishes to occupy Malacanang. Former President Ferdinand Marcos was booted out of the Palace due to the public’s clamour for change from the military regime where human rights violations were aplenty and corruption was massive.

Former President Fidel Ramos was elected president with the promise of restoring civic order after the several coup attempts and uprising during the administration of former President Corazon Aquino. The Ramos administration restored civil liberty and government stability.

However, the economic gains of the Ramos administration was never felt by the masses, who continued to suffer poverty. “Erap para sa mahirap,” slogan of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada made him the 13th President of the Philippine Republic.

Corruption charges, however,  cut short Estrada’s stay in Malacanang. Then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency and restored normalcy in government after addressing the country’s illegal gambling problems which enjoyed protection from police and local government officials.

Arroyo in seeking the presidency calls for change in economic laws through constitutional amendment, but never materialized. She, however, put in place economic policies that allow the country to be attractive to foreign investors and foreign financial providers.

The administration of Arroyo may have its gains but like the Estrada administration it was rocked by corruption charges involving the first family plus the controversial election scandal of Arroyo herself where she apologized to the nation.

President Noynoy Aquino, an accidental presidential candidate, was elected president with his call for change through “Daang Matuwid.” This was the campaign slogan against the corruption-riddled administration of Arroyo.

In his first months in government, Aquino ensured that the former President faced the corruption issues against her. She is under hospital arrest from the time Aquino sit into power until at present.

While Aquino was able to institute policies that supposedly limit if not eliminate corruption in government, other problems cropped up that the current administration failed to address like traffic in Metro Manila, air traffic at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, drug and criminality problems, peace and order issues with Moro rebels.

Today, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was elected President by 15 million Filipinos, a landslide victory. His election was due to his campaign promise of “Change is coming”. He promises to stop drugs and criminality in the country in his first six months in office.

Even before his proclamation, change can be felt by the media covering the president and signals of change communicated to some government institutions.

But can he really do it? Can he really stop drugs in six months?

I think he can’t. He may stop it for few months, but it will surely come back once his focus will no longer be on the problem but other problems of the country.

I believe that the drug problem, which is now a billion-peso industry, is not just a problem for the President to solve, but for every Filipino to fight and be vigilant.

A lasting drug free community is a collective effort of the community. If members of the community will be vigilant and will stand up to fight against drugs then drugs will not prosper in that community.

But if members of the community are indifferent to the drug problem then it will just continue to prosper and be a problem.

Every day, we see kids sniffing solvent in the streets.  What have you done? What have I done? Nothing. We just accepted it as they are, like it’s a new normal, when it’s never.

I grieve with the parents who lost their sons and daughters at the Close Up event recently. How can we prevent a repeat of senseless  loss of love ones? How can parents like me cope with these threats and ensure safety and security for our children?

I guess today’s parents have to be more responsible and vigilant against the evils of drug abuse. Drugs come in different kinds, color and size. Much as we want our children to enjoy their  youth in parties, the outdoor and great adventures, we also want to protect them  and keep them safe at all times.

Yes, change is coming and it should start with us. Simple acts of informing barangay leaders or police authorities of new faces in your community is already good enough.

If we will continue to be afraid of getting involve in the fight against drugs,  we will never now that a love one can be a victim of drug abuse if not victim of drug related violence.

When are we going to change and start to care? When we lose a love one. Why can’t we prevent it by standing firm against drugs. Together we are strong and we achieve greatness as one.

So, are you ready to change?

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