We must show that we belong

By Alex P. Vidal

“Accordingly, globalization is not only something that will concern and threaten us in the future, but something that is taking place in the present and to which we must first open our eyes.”—Ulrich Beck

WHILE some of us are busy monitoring—or participating—in the daily campaign activities of local and national candidates in the May 9, 2022 Philippine election, we must not ignore or take for granted the worsening strife in Ukraine now on its third week.

Although we are not directly affected geographically, we are somehow involved, in one way or the other, strategically as an ally of the United States in the Asia Pacific.

If the escalating rampage of Russian troops carrying heavy artillery and sophisticated hardware would trigger a World War III in the next two to three weeks, which we pray shouldn’t happen, all our preparations for the coming election, less than 60 days away, would be meaningless.

Many of us might ask, “Why should we worry, in the first place? To what extent shall we have to react when the armed conflict is oceans away from the Philippines?”

“Isn’t it enough that we mind our own business first and let Europe settle its own problem?”

“Isn’t it wise for us Filipinos to focus first on our own domestic woes like the heart-rending fuel price hike, unemployment, pandemic restrictions, and the upcoming presidential election before worrying whether Putin is the modern Hitler?”


As a tiny nation perched on a peripheral area in Southeast Asia, no need to panic actually or belabor our minds about what’s going on in Europe.

But as human beings, we must be aware; we must care; and we must show sympathy and empathy to thousands of people who have been killed and the millions of refugees who now live in terror, horror and desperation outside Ukraine.

As of this writing, the latest jolter was the Russian airstrikes that hit a large military base near the western city of Lviv and killed 35 people and injured 130.

The area was close to the Polish border. And it happened before the Ides of March.

Each night and day the war between Russia and NATO-backed Ukraine drags on, brings us closer to World War III.

I have been personally monitoring the events as they unfolded and the questions that have always bothered me were:

  1. What if when we woke up the next morning, bombs have started to explode on the surface of NATO territories? A lizard biting an elephant is not news. But when an elephant acts to trample a fellow elephant, a real tremor will unfurl. The “jolter” I just mentioned was clear and present worrisome.
  2. What if Russia suddenly will use biological or chemical weapons as the invaders barrel their way into the much-guarded capital Kyiv?
  3. What if Vladimir Putin, now isolated from the rest of the world save for China, will commit hara-kiri and unleash the nuclear missiles, God forbid? Plus other possibilities.

We aren’t yet safe, in truth and in fact, if we take these fears and possibilities into consideration, which we all hope won’t take place.


IF I were reelectionist Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas, I would not skip the scheduled “live” public debates sponsored by radio and TV networks where I was cordially invited even if I perceived my rival to be “patsy.”

In that manner, I could show to both my critics and supporters my professionalism, that I treated any individual with dignity and respect even if we didn’t belong in the same layer professionally, intellectually, economically.

It’s also one way of showing my humility and cooperation to the dynamics of the electoral system.

I could lose nothing but earn the respect of my critics.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)