Filipinos tackle PH’s pressing issues in 2019 through #StoryOfTheNation

Bianca Velasco
Filipinos tackle PH’s pressing issues in 2019 through #StoryOfTheNation
Throughout 2019, we ask Filipinos to tell the #StoryOfTheNation in their own words

MANILA, Philippines – To capture the diverse perspectives of ordinary Filipinos this year, MovePH, the civic engagement arm of Rappler, went around communities to ask them about their thoughts on various issues and events through the #StoryOfTheNation campaign.

With the help of our movers and other sectors, we saw and listened to how Filipinos wrestled with problems as well as be inspired by the good things. Through #StoryOfTheNation, these voices were given a platform so that they can be amplified to a bigger audience.

From uplifting stories to the more serious ones said with a heavy sigh, here are some stories of the nation throughout 2019:

Labor Day

For Labor Day on May 1, Rappler asked workers what they find special about their jobs. 

Labor Day is a significant holiday where efforts and contributions of workers to the economy are recognized and celebrated. It also serves as a constant reminder for Filipinos to assert the rights of those in the labor force and empower them.  (READ: PH Labor Day: A history of struggle)

Even on the day dedicated to workers, some of them continued to work – a manifestation of their sacrifice and a sign of commitment to their profession and to service. (READ: [OPINION] Contractualization and the rights of workers)

Through the #StoryOfTheNation, many workers – from nurses, security guards, farmers to interns –  shared how they still continue to fight for proper working conditions in society. 

Still, despite the difficulties they face, several workers shared how their jobs provide them an avenue to help their family and serve their community, giving them a sense of fulfillment. 

2019 Philippine midterm elections

As senatorial and local candidates campaigned for the midterm elections, Rappler went around different communities to ask people about the qualities of the leaders they want to elect.

Through #StoryOfTheNation, we saw how several voters highlighted how candidates’ empathy and moral values still matter to Filipinos.

In the provinces, a number of Filipinos who rely on natural and agricultural resources for their livelihood shared how they want to choose a leader who has a heart to serve the poor since they felt they did not receive enough help from the government.

At a time when some politicians claim that honesty was not required of a candidate, a number Filipinos also said they still value honesty as an important trait of a leader, along with the commitment to serve and defend the Philippines’ sovereignty. 

On the day of the elections, several Filipinos said their vote could mean a step closer to positive change in the country. Some took the time off from work just to vote. (READ: IN PHOTOS: The Filipino votes)

Beyond exercising their right of suffrage, they expressed how the 2019 midterm elections serve as an opportunity to choose candidates who can uplift their respective communities. (READ: ‘Mauna ang bansa’: Beyond duty, Filipinos share why their vote matters)

Jimmy Savellino shared that despite facing difficulties in reading and writing, he headed to his polling precinct to vote, hoping that his voice will help put leaders in government who can reduce the number of people who live below the poverty line and improve his city. 

Diri ako makabasa ngan makasurat pero minbotos gihap ako kay gusto ko magbag-o it sitwasyon ngan kakurian sa am lugar (I can’t read nor write but I voted because I want things to change and help the poor in our place),” Savellino said.

Pride March

In line with Pride Month last June, #StoryOfTheNation aimed to amplify the voices of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) community as they continue to resist the injustices they still face. (READ: ‘Tolerated, but not accepted’: Filipino LGBTQ+ speak up vs discrimination)

As the Congress failed to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill, the Filipino LGBTQ+ community’s struggle for genuine equality and acceptance remains far from over

Still, members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to celebrate and carry their identity with pride.

Rappler asked people under the rainbow spectrum: what makes you glad to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community?

Despite numerous challenges, LGBTQ+ members expressed that they are glad to receive support from a strong and passionate community that continues to fight for their rights.

They hope that people beyond the LGBT community and their straight allies will learn more about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE), and push for safe spaces for marginalized sectors. (READ: ‘Colorful bravery’: LGBTQ+ people on what makes them proud of the community)

State of the Nation Address 2019

Ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, Rappler visted various cities and provinces and asked Filipinos what they would like to hear from him. (READ: Filipinos share #StoryOfTheNation ahead of SONA 2019)

This year’s SONA did not only mark the halfway point in Duterte’s presidential term but it also came in the aftermath of recent controversies such as the close ties between the Philippines and China, and United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) adoption of the Iceland-proposed resolution to probe drug killings in the Philippines.

Through #StoryOfTheNation, Filipinos mentioned the effects of inflation on the poor, and how rising prices have made their incomes shrink. (READ: IN CHARTS: Inflation crisis not yet over for poorest Filipinos)

They shared how they hope President Duterte will help workers by addressing the end-of-contract or endo scheme, and increasing wages.

With SONA coming on the heels of the sinking of a boat with 22 fishermen onboard by a Chinese vessel, several Filipinos pushed for the Philippines to assert its fairly won sovereign rights over West Philippine Sea.

They related how they hope that people will make the effort to educate themselves on the matter, and know there are options to protect the sovereign rights of the Philippines without going to war with China. Moreover, they shared the need for better access to education so Filipinos can be discerning and critical, especially when it comes to matters of the nation.

Citizens from different sectors also expressed their concerns on various issues such as the violation of indigenous people rightsfarmer killings, and sexual harassment. (READ: Filipinos’ top SONA 2019 issues: Pay hike, lower prices, Philippine sovereignty)

National Teacher’s Month

Despite the underlying stress that comes with the profession, teachers have shown their love for their job in more ways than one. 

National Teacher’s Day is a time of celebration for the modern day heroes recognized for their significant role in educating the next generation. In the Philippines, Teacher’s Month was celebrated from September 5 to October 5.

With the teaching career seen as a job that is usually overlooked, MovePH, along with movers and other individuals, hoped to celebrate teachers by asking them what they love most about their profession. 

Through the #StoryOfTheNation, several teachers said their profession is more than a job, as it’s an avenue to help and teach potential leaders and future generations. They said this is one reason why quitting their job when things get rough is not an option to them.

Students also shared some valuable lessons they learned from their teachers, who they consider as their role models. They are grateful for their teachers’ trust, hard work, concern, and dedication to the profession. 

6th anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda

In time for the 6th anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), survivors took a step back to reflect on the tragic event, as MovePH asked Taclobanons the biggest lesson they learned after the super typhoon struck their home. 

Yolanda is considered by weather experts as perhaps one of the world’s most powerful typhoons in the past century, leaving a trail of destruction . (READ: Most powerful 2013 storm hits PH)

Six years after the super typhoon killed thousands and devastated communities in Eastern Visayas, survivors said they are still mourning.

Through the #StoryOfTheNation, survivors talked about the importance of taking care of our environment. They also emphasized the need to improve disaster preparedness in the Philippines. 

As 2020 draws closer, there will be new stories worth hearing and telling. Every Filipino’s voice matters, as we continue to move the Philippines forward, one story at a time. –

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