Maybe it was the wrong thing to do. But he just couldn’t help himself.
He just had to leave his honeymoon and meet with a multi-millionaire factory owner to fight for the rights of laborers… laborers he did not know personally, laborers he just cared about. But in the meeting, he was bribed – with a blank check, no less. Yet he stood firm. So they tried to kill him. Twice they failed. And soon the laborers got the fair treatment that they needed.
He just had to fight land-grabbing syndicates that proliferated Bulacan during the Martial Law years, which made him land in jail twice. Many of those he fought for eventually found justice through his efforts.
He just had to rush a dying man with no money to any hospital that would take him and he had been refused, twice. But after that, he caused such a stir that all hospitals had to change their financial policies.
He just had to storm the streets of Makati, even before people got wind of what was happening via television and radio and newspapers, to plead to the Singaporean Embassy about the plight of overseas Filipino worker, Flor Contemplacion. She died, but he never stopped fighting for the rights of OFWs, consequently being instrumental to the repatriation of many of our abused loved ones from around the globe.
He just had to. But if you pause a while and think… did he really have to? No! He didn’t! But he chose to.
What motivated him? Money? Obviously not. Fame? Virtually none of his exploits have reached the media. So what motivated him? One answer: His love for his country.
There are many ways that we can show love for our country. We can patronize locally manufactured goods. We can defend Filipinos whenever we are being slighted by foreign nationals. We can get involved in symposiums. And so on and so forth. All these are good.
Bro. Eddie is one of those natural-born leaders who could’ve charmed people into landing himself into a life of wealth and ease; he should’ve been content with the usual forms of showing patriotism. But, consistently, from the days of his youth, to his days as an activist, even after he was “arrested by Christ,” he just had to step out of his comfort zone. He just had to surrender his well-earned rights. He just had to do what other people called him down on.
He just had to live loving his country. From his shouts of “Jesus is Lord all over the Philippines,” to “Diyos at Bayan,” (God and Country) to the inclusion of ‘love and compassion for others in the Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide’s core values.
He just had to.
This is the Philippines as we know it today: 5.59 million child laborers (ILO, 2012); 6 million malnourished children, 60,000 of which are vulnerable to sexual exploitation (UN, 2012); 4.3 million households, 21 percent of the total Filipino household experienced having nothing to eat (UN, 2012), the list could go on and on.
Like Bro. Eddie, do you feel the same compulsion to help, somehow? Like Bro. Eddie, will you answer the call by our fellow men and be inconvenienced a little, be a selfless Filipino for just a little while?
By his own words, he had been “arrested by Christ” and it was something he just had to do. In the words of the great evangelist, leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, national icon of American progressivism and National Peace Prize awardee, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it.” It’s about time we do something against the evils in our nation. It’s about time that we, like Bro. Eddie, just have to act.
Listen to the call. Move! It’s the right thing to do.