By Joshua Cabrera, HS 4A
The history of humankind is complicatedly repetitive. The tug of war for power exists between altruists, the selfless, and egoists, the selfish. Throughout the world, corrupt governments are overthrown and replaced, but the problem of oppression has never really stopped. The players change, but the game remains the same. This problem calls for something constant to promote peace: the law.
The law exists for order. A written law plainly and uniformly states the rights, privileges, and duties of the people under its scope. Article III of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines clearly states our human rights. Your liberty to swing your fists ends just where my nose begins. Without the law, people would abuse their freedom and cruelly limit that of others.
Justice is the implementation of law. People need to follow the law for the law to have usefulness. Bus and jeepney drivers, for example, do not follow traffic rules and load and unload passengers everywhere everyday. The lack of justice is the problem; lawbreakers should be disciplined, and their actions should be rectified in the name of justice.
Unfortunately, justice systems all over the world are imperfect. Flawed humans administer justice. Policemen, lawyers, and judges can be bribed, and verdicts can be manipulated. What happened to equal protection under the law? With fairness put in the back seat, where then has justice gone?
Every day, we students witness to the great demand for justice. The late Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay attested, “Those who have less in life should have more in law.” Regularly, I see children and elderly selling bundles of sampaguita and the disabled begging for money. Is it fair that the scales of justice are tipped to one side and that we do nothing to balance them?
We must invest in justice. We are benefactors of fairness. Therefore, we have the power and the responsibility to pay it forward. We can do justice in the little things we do. Do not forget: fairness is a two-way street act.
Firstly, we must be open to the inequalities of life. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Those in poverty happily eat pagpag, leftover food from fast-food restaurants, but those in wealth nonchalantly leave uneaten food on their tables. Justice is supported by being grateful for what we have.
Secondly, we must show respect to each individual. The golden rule is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” (Matthew 7: 12). We, as students, can do this by meeting our teachers’ efforts halfway. If a teacher of yours respects your time by never being unprepared, you too should do the same by always being studious. Respect begets respect, and that to me is justice.
Lastly, we must learn the value of sacrifice. Sacrifice is awareness respect put into action. Show awareness and respect to the environment by sacrificing your time to throw your own trash. Show awareness and respect to the underserved by sacrificing your allowance to support the LASAL collection. What we invest in the spirit of sacrifice, we earn in the profit of justice.
Today, we change the course of history by fighting for justice. We do not seek justice; we hunger and thirst for it. No, we are not martyrs. Rather, I believe are guardians of the galaxy. We are imperfect; money and power continue to seduce our corruptible hearts, but we can learn to choose to sacrifice the temporary to sustain a just society for the next generations to come.
We all have seen injustices in our societies. As normal human beings, despite our realized duties for justice, we still have flaws and commit injustices maybe even in ways we have not yet realized. What have you contributed to the injustices of the world? What will you do to fix them?
“The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.” –Ross Perot