Hope and action


Dr. Florangel Rosario-Braid

The recent conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa and Hidilyn Diaz’ winning the gold medal  during the last Olympiad,  triggered a colleague to ask in a Facebook post this question:  “What’s in a Filipina woman that propels our country and people to greatness?  This  elicited a number of replies which cited attributes such as courage, resilience, compassion, persistence. I added tenacity, spirituality, and mindfulness. 

This question had been asked several years ago with the ascendancy of President Cory following a non-violent People Power revolution and the continuing high ratings our country continued  to receive  during global surveys on gender. 

And then,  there is our VP Leni Robredo whose recent entry in the May 2022 presidential race was greeted with euphoria – a shower of pink, her campaign color, by hundreds of thousands of supporters.

These three women were also honored by National Artist Virgilio Almario in a poem entitled “My Flag has Three Stars” and I quote these excerpts:

               My flag has three stars: Hidilyn, Ma. Ressa, and Leni Robredo

               Always creative and fearless,

               In the fear and threat of power,

               Storm and pandemic, ready to serve

               For development, comfort of the nation

               Let’s pay tribute, in united strength

               Shout out to all sides of the world!

               My flag has three stars:  Hidilyn, Ma. Ressa and Leni Robredo.

As Almario notes, these three women symbolized by the three stars in the flag, exhibit the attributes of creativity and fearlessness in the face of threat from power. 

All three responded to the “storm” – human rights violations, extrajudicial killings, threats to freedom of expression and democracy,  the pandemic, and worsening of  the country’s  image in the global front. Hidilyn, Maria, and Leni, responded in the best way they can by facing all the hurdles with courage and resoluteness, thereby bringing comfort and glory to the country. 

The presence of these three and their victories brought hope to a people yearning to see some glimmer of light. As we all know, the country today is beset by  some of the most serious challenges – hunger, unemployment, loss of trust in leadership,  and uncertainties and anxieties brought about by the pandemic. The prize and the promise of new leadership is indeed most providential. 

The emergence of women leaders during these pandemic times is fortuitous. The women leaders of New Zealand, Taiwan, Germany – Jacinda Ardern, Tsai Ing Wen, and Angela Merkel -handled the coronavirus pandemic with empathy, transparency, and a collaborative approach. .. 

Perhaps these qualities need not be associated only with the feminine gender. These are capacity to give hope, speak with the heart, being unafraid to fail, being insightful, and value-driven, and all these, driven by positive and timely action. They are in fact universal attributes that can be developed and nurtured through lifelong learning. 

My email, florangel.braid@gmail.com