Some things never change

By Joshua Corcuera

As time passes by, many historical events unfold, and we are witnesses to fundamental changes in society. Yet, despite all these apparent changes in society, some things just never change—particularly the social ills that we are currently dealing with.

Poverty, inequality, corruption, the justice system being skewed in favor of the rich and against the poor, and so forth—these are problems that our ancestors dealt with, these are the same problems that we are dealing with right now. But we can do something to address such illnesses so that our descendants would not suffer immensely from the same old problems.

Many people think that we have to be powerful, to be wealthy, and the like in order to create some sort of change in society. The truth, however, is that even ordinary people can help create change in the way we live. First thing that came to mind is Ana Patricia Non, who trended last year during the height of the pandemic and the ensuing economic hardships. If you cannot remember who she is, perhaps the concept of ‘community pantry’ can help you remember. She was the one who initiated the Maginhawa Community Pantry in Diliman, Quezon City where those who have excess could donate their extra food, canned goods, eggs, vegetables, and the like. While those who are desperately in need can get such contributions for free.

The initiative trended and was adopted in several places nationwide reaching 6,700 pantries at one point in time. More importantly, the initiative somehow helped mitigate or alleviate severe hunger in economically depressed areas, especially considering the fact that the economy is merely starting to recover by that time mainly because of the pandemic. What is impressive from that story is that it was all an idea of an ordinary woman, and not some powerful politician, influential celebrity, or wealthy entrepreneur. Non was recognized earlier this year by the United States Embassy as recipient of the Ambassador’s Woman of Courage Award.

With a new chapter in our country’s history about to start with the inaugural of the 17th president, and the old problems we dealt with in the past remaining relevant, it is imperative to empower the masses, the ordinary man and woman, instead of hoping that genuine, positive change would emanate from above. We often underestimate the strength of ordinary people, but in reality, the solutions of our gravest concerns may actually be in the mind of someone neither powerful nor rich. Perhaps, this lack of empowerment and underestimation is why old problems remain in our society, if why some things never change, no matter how many years, decades have passed.

Speaking of empowerment, it is imperative that everyone must be included in empowering them to create change—especially the youth and women who are often underrepresented in politics, business, and so on. With roughly half of the population being women, it is reasonable to assume that half of the capabilities belong to women which is why women empowerment must be pursued and strengthened in the years to come. The same applies to the youth, especially that they will serve as the future of the nation. Through these actions, there is hope that old problems will merely be a thing of the past, decades from now.