Envy – my biggest sin this 2020

Despite the holidays, I cannot help committing five of the seven deadly sins in Roman Catholic beliefs. These were pride, gluttony, lust, sloth – all in a lesser degree – and envy in a much higher degree.

I happened to receive a link to witness the 164th birth anniversary celebration of Ilonggo hero, Graciano Lopez Jaena by the City of Iloilo Thursday, December 17.

As a descendant of the national hero, the Iloilo city government asked me for a message that was included in their virtual celebration and so it gave me a semblance of pride that the organizers reached out to us here in Negros. But that pride was well-placed and long overdue as I’ve personally had little interest in working for the legacy of Graciano Lopez Jaena until our father died and the responsibility was left upon us to continue his passion.

Yes, it was Daddy’s passion and he used to berate, threaten, and bribe us even to accompany him to events that honor the Ilonggo hero. And he was proud to be directly related to Lopez Jaena who is known as a journalist and an orator who helped sparked the Philippine revolution against Spain, alongside Dr. Jose Rizal and other members of the Propaganda Movement.

Daddy’s grandfather was Graciano’s youngest brother, Doroteo. But I’m pretty sure none of the hero’s siblings and their offspring remembered Graciano as I do not recall any stories about him that were passed down to us.

In the virtual celebration Thursday, December 17, Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas gave a message that we can all be inspired by Lopez Jaena to become heroes ourselves as he highlighted the efforts and the strong partnership between the city and the private sector, especially during this pandemic.

Iloilo City also showed the unity behind their populace and the beautiful Christmas trimmings around the city that can really uplift the spirits of their people especially these times. I started feeling envious as I cannot help but compare it with the lackluster display we have around our own city.

From the décor at the Public Plaza to the street poles where the sponsored white lanterns hang, some of which are not even well-lit, it really looks like a pathetic attempt to cheer us up that it would have been better if they concentrated the display in one area and made it worth our while.

The vendors that were allowed to sell outside of the San Sebastian Cathedral made things worse as it covered the beauty of the plaza. However, I understand where the church is coming from in asking that these vendors be allowed because it gives them income and provides livelihood opportunities for the vendors that had suffered much because of the lockdowns.

When I first heard about sponsoring the P400 white star lanterns which I was told was also to help out our detainees who have made this annual lantern-making as their income-generating project, I actually wanted to sign up, even just donating at least three lamps. But I learned about it too late as they already closed the registration for that and I guess invitations were only sent to business establishments as the lanterns bore business logos that can hardly be seen from the streets anyway.

We brag to be a highly urbanized locality and while officials may argue that they can put better use for public funds than waste it on holiday décor, that didn’t stop Iloilo in mobilizing the private sector in helping out and make the city look festive, even just for the holidays, which makes it good for our psyche.

If we can afford to give bonuses and incentives to our employees amounting to millions, then I believe we can spare a million at least for worthwhile holiday trimmings. Right in front of the Bacolod Government Center, the Christmas colors are shown through the green-colored water spewing out of the fountain against the red-painted Bacolod sign.

Contractor, Jerry Sy’s annual Christmas display looks way better and I think even Mayor Bing Leonardia thought so too as I saw a post that he graced the opening of that display. That it was not even a bit embarrassing to our officials that a private display made theirs look pathetic is something that confounds me.

I have often posted on my social media page the development, the cohesive response of the Iloilo city government to the pandemic and the mobilization of the private sector who did not need second urging to respond to the call of help.

Nine months into the pandemic, Iloilo never had serious challenges in dealing with their returning OFWs and LSIs as the hotels and tourism industry immediately went into action. Here it took weeks and embarrassing national media coverage of our reception before things were ironed out.

I have been on self-imposed house arrest unless necessary and from the few times I’ve had to drive around, my feeling of envy for Iloilo gets worse. Of course, the self-imposed lockdown made me a sloth as my routine was to walk a few steps from my bedroom to my computer in another part of the house and back to bed to watch the news and more Netflix.

The two other deadly sins – gluttony and lust are the constant in my life as evidenced by my physique and tumultuous lovelife by choice.

I hope I will be graced somehow with the seven corresponding virtues of humility, charity, chastity, gratitude, temperance, patience, and diligence but as a realist, I think I can only achieve two of those and I’m not about to tell which.

Happy holidays to the followers of Digicast Negros and I hope you continue supporting independent and free journalism!*

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