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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Friday, July 4, 2014

THE biggest problem with drug addiction is that we all often feel like we’ll never be a victim to it. No drug addict who has come into terms with their addiction will look back thinking they knew it would happen, most if not all always felt like they would have been strong enough to resist it.

The mistake they say is often that feeling that you refuse to accept you can wield in, that sometimes the environment and the circumstances can fold under you too much, and the next thing you know you’re already hooked. And you’d even be a little lucky if you caught yourself willingly undergoing rehab early.

The perils of drug addiction are not often found in the miserable. Drug culture is pervasive at it is rampant, in all kinds of industries. “They took drugs cause they weren’t surrounded with good people” that’s the usual misconception, it can occur in many events. A casual taste, a small gathering, any moment can spur into something so uncontrollable, and it doesn’t hold anyone invincible. And I mean no one.


So I felt like it was bizarre for President Aquino to exclude Nora Aunor as a national artist. Recognition by far she has rightfully earned, there is no doubt how talented of an actress she has been, and she continues to be with her continued re-invention in the indie film industry with more internal performances like “Thy Womb.”

And I quote Pres. Aquino; "Ayokong magkaroon ng mensahe na kung minsan pwede yung iligal na droga or acceptable. Yung dapat na mensahe it is always bad... and I cannot emphasize that message enough." But the president seems to be misguided if not stuck too much on his high horse when he confuses the messages of what awarding Aunor might have really meant.

Although Nora Aunor has been publicly open about her history, her story has not ended in a conviction or a complete collapse over drugs, in fact she has been quite public about her previous rehabilitation and how everything now has gotten better. This is exemplified no less than her recent activity and notes of her current co-workers saying how hard working she has been.

So no Mr. President, by denying Aunor the recognition which she earned you did not just create an injustice in what little merit the national artist selection still has, but you also shamed the message of hope and recovery that is important to any substance related abuse story.

The fight against illegal drugs does not end in persecution; our most effective campaigns have all been about rehabilitation, about acceptance, and about second, third, and many more chances. Redemption has been the real triumphant tale, and President Aquino just spat at that.

While it may not mean much now, the National Artist award would have still been momentous for Nora Aunor, if not a confirmation but a reminder of how her work has spanned generations, and how her artistry has inspired an industry.

There is only one message the president has relayed to our populace, one of crude and backward intolerance; Condemnation from up above his high horse.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 05, 2014.


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