Len Olea’s Blog

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Make noise

Posted by lenolea on December 31, 2008

Filipinos welcome the year with noise making. Doing so drives away evil spirits, elders say.

To make the new year and the rest of 2009 safer and more meaningful, let us do away with toxic and dangerous firecrackers. Instead, let us welcome the year with non-toxic noise-makers such as horns, loud music, whistles, and a pledge to make noise (literally and figuratively) every time the situation calls for it.

Activists make noise when the prices of oil and other basic commodities soar, when government officials get caught in their scandals, or when evil schemes by the powers-that-be need to be exposed.

This year, witnesses to the National Broadbank Network-ZTE project blew the whistle. Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, Dante Madriaga, Jose “Joey” de Venecia III and Rep. Jose de Venecia spilled the beans about the shady deal.

Imagine if all of them did a Romulo Neri who kept silent about the scandal. We would have been paying $329 million to the Chinese firm, of which more than $41 million would have gone as ‘tongpats,’ as Lozada puts it. Neri refused to answer vital questions regarding Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s involvement in the anomalous deal.

We need not be Lozada, Madriaga or de Venecias to blow the whistle when something wrong is done. Noise is essential to wake up those who need to take action.

As Edmund Burke said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

When scandals come one after the other without the perpetrators being held fully accountable, when impunity persists amid extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses, when the powerful schemes endlessly to protect its selfish interest, when the majority of the Filipino people live in abject poverty, when transnational corporations continue to plunder the country’s resources at the expense of the people and the environment, there can be no doubt that evil reigns.

According to tradition, noise drives away evil spirits.

The country needs more men and women to do something because the loudest noise that can drive away the evil that has entrenched itself in the palace has yet to be made.

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