Who is your modern-day Filipino hero?

8 June 2011

By Marjorie Gorospe

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA— In this modern age, who do Filipinos look up to as their heroes?

Quezon City High School student Mary Jane Ann Candelaria mentioned the late former  President Corazon Aquino, mother of now-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“She was a woman and she was at the forefront of uniting Filipinos during EDSA I,” said Candelaria, also noting that anyone who helps put a stop to corruption in the country can be regarded a hero.

Ice cream vendor Rodel Elem and barangay public safety officer Edward Cariño pick Filipino

ring icon and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao. Both credit the General Santos City native for bringing honor to the country.

“What’s good about Manny is that he never forgets where he came from and he helps,” said Cariño.

English teacher Felicia Jimenez picks Efren Peñaflorida, the first Filipino to have been nominated and won the CNN Hero of the Year in 2009 for advocating street education in his home province of Cavite.

“He is the type of person who went out of his way to enlighten other youth through education and he truly imparts the importance of education as the key to escape poverty,” said Jimenez.

A real hero, she added, should be able to unite Filipinos given our varied regional affiliations and beliefs. “We need that strong leader who will truly unite us and will really promote discipline among us,” she said.

But locksmith Edgar Beltran and parking attendant Ben Pascual both said that no Filipino today deserves to be called a hero in the league of Dr. Jose Rizal or even the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino.

“Masasabi kong noong panahon nila Rizal hanggang kay Ninoy (Aquino) sincere pa sila para makalaya tayo, pero ngayon pare-pareho nalang sila at marami pa rin ang mahihirap (Heroes from Rizal’s era to Ninoy (Aquino) were sincere and true in their advocacies, which you could hardly see among politicians today),” said Beltran.

Ben, meanwhile, said there need not be another EDSA revolution. “Hindi na kailangan ng pagbubuwis ng buhay, ang kailangan ngayon ay magtulungan (There's no need to sacrifice lives. We Filipinos just need to help one another),” says Ben.

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