A Vision for the Nation

(This was written by the late great Dr. Isabelo Magalit, originally published in PATMOS, magazine of the Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture, May 1992 and then re-published for What About Philippine Politics? in 2016)


What kind of Philippines do I long to see?

A land that IS PEACEFUL. Where Muslims and Christians and animists and those with no religion at all can live together as friendly rivals but not as enemies. Where disputes are resolved by discussion and debate and not with the barrel of the gun. Where one may walk the streets at night unarmed and remain unharmed.

A people who are FREE. Free to think even the unthinkable, free to worship God according to one’s best light, free to elect rulers and to replace them, free to argue one’s case in the media, free to travel wherever one pleases, free to live and work anywhere in the islands.

A territory that is SOVEREIGN. Friendly with all her neighbors, and working in solidarity with them in promoting regional interests. Cordial with all nations in the East and the West, the North and the South, but sovereign in her foreign policy. Free to chart her own destiny for Filipinos have the special duty to promote the welfare of their nation.

A nation that is JUST. Every man and woman and child receives his/her due. The poor are not discriminated against because of ignorance or lack of access to legal services. Judges and justices cannot be bought but dispense and apply the law with impartiality. Equal pay is given for equal work. Everyone has equal opportunity for education, housing, employment, medical care, and other social services.

A community that is PARTICIPATORY. People taking responsibility for their lives, and increasingly empowered to do so. Making decisions that affect their families and neighborhoods, their towns and cities, and the entire country. Being responsible for one another for “each man is his brother’s keeper.” Political in the broadest and best sense. Our stewardship includes the care of planet Earth, God’s appointed habitat for mankind.

A country that is PROSPEROUS. Not prosperity at the expense of freedom, but a progressive economy that grows from wise policies, efficient government, and honest business practices. Prosperity that does not merely make the rich even richer, but one that benefits all the people, reaching to all parts of the countryside, finally breaking the back of centuries of feudalism.

A society that is RIGHTEOUS. Only through the Christian gospel are people “put right with God,” so we evangelize as vigorously as we can. However, there is a public righteousness that Christians can promote as salt of the earth and light of the world. As an “overwhelming minority,” we can influence the rest of society to minimize graft, tax evasion, violence, prostitution, and other expressions of a corrupt society.

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

TODAY, God enabling me, I commit myself to making this dream become reality.