WE SHOULDN’T rejoice just yet.

True enough, we should all express a sigh of relief as Angelo de la Cruz returned home safe and sound last week.

No one will argue with the wisdom behind President Macapagal-Arroyo’s decision to pull out the Filipino troops in Iraq to save de la Cruz’s head. Indeed, the life of one overseas Filipino worker (OFW) is worth saving. It’s a good thing the government is protecting the OFWs, who are referred to as modern-day Philippine heroes because of their immeasurable contributions to keeping the country’s economy afloat.

But the story does not end there. And from the looks of it, a fairy tale-like ending is far from happening.

As a result of the pullout, the country’s international commitment has been cast into a doubt. It has given other countries the perception that the Philippines is a weak state.

We now live in a global society and a borderless world where we need to deal with other nations. With the abrupt pullout, the dependability of the country has now become more questionable.

Call it utilitarian, but we must admit our country’s economic welfare is also dependent on what the Philippines can offer in exchange for the monetary aid it has been receiving, and the fulfillment of international commitments is one it can offer the world.

Unless the country develops a more self-reliant economy, as envisioned by the Constitution, it will never survive in a global society by negating its international commitments.

Also, many say the de la Cruz incident has laid down the foundation for a genuine unity the country, further divided as a result of the recent national elections, has been searching for. But that is just a product of the imaginative mind.

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Genuine unity is far from happening in this country were the general welfare is subservient to the interests and ambitions of selfish politicians.

Take the President’s recent state of the nation address (SONA). A number of lawmakers belonging to the opposition were nowhere to be found inside the Batasang Pambansa. At the outset, all congressmen and senators should be present during the SONA as the President relates to them her plans for the coming year most of which are reliant on legislation to be effected. That is precisely the point why the SONA is delivered before the members of Congress.

It’s just too bad the country has opposition solons who are still sour-graping because of their bet’s loss. It’s just too bad the country has these persons for lawmakers.

At any rate, these opposition lawmakers are not paving the road for national unity. Their antics are not in any way helping stabilize the country’s political situation. Worse, their actions further divide the nation as their followers would get the impression that President Macapagal-Arroyo’s government is truly illegitimate.

Looking back, the opposition lawmakers are also the ones to blame for prostituting democracy. In the first place, they equated democracy with popularity. By fielding a “winnable” presidential candidate who was dispossessed of a concrete platform of government, the opposition did a major disservice to the people. Their man nearly would have won if not for the timely change of heart of more than a million voters.

The result of last May’s national elections only showed the weak state of Philippine democracy. It’s just a sorry sight that a candidate who had no platform even managed to receive a million votes less than the winner when his qualifications should have merited him a cellar-dweller position in the presidential derby.

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The country’s questionable international commitment, problematic political situation, and weak democracy prove that the Philippines has become a weak state. But it’s not yet too late in the day for the country to get out of the hole has fallen into.

Surely with increased dependability in its international commitments, more statesmen as elected officials, and an “educated” voting population, the Philippines would no longer be a weak state.

All these things are easier said than done, but they’re worth giving a try.

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