Winning as one nation and one people should become the norm as we work together to achieve our national goals, especially economic development and prosperity in all corners of the Philippines and for all Filipinos. We cannot and we should not be forever divided along ethnic, political, economic, religious and social lines forever, or else we are going to fail together as a nation and as a people.
"We win as one."
That is the theme chosen for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that is being hosted by the Philippines from November 30 until December 11. Teams from 11 countries from across Southeast Asia converge to our country to compete against each other in various sporting events. Despite the intense contest among the teams and the fact that each nation is unique in its own right, Southeast Asian countries work together not only to meet the objectives of friendly sporting competition but in meeting regional political, economic and social harmony and stability.
I believe that the theme also fits the Philippines very well. While we belong under one republic and flag, the truth is that we are a diverse people and society, a feature that works both in positive and negative ways. It is a positive in a sense that diversity gives our country a unique beautiful flavor which offers visitors wider choices in terms of destination or culture to explore. Unfortunately, diversity also works against us as a nation and as a people, as we tend to be divided along ethnic, religious, social and political lines, often leading to conflict with one another.
However, the hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games enabled us to set aside for the meantime our differences and instead work together and be united in cheering for our athletes as they compete against their counterparts in the region. Such display of unity inspired our athletes. So far, the display of unity among Filipinos, although momentary in nature, have been helping Carlos Yulo, Agatha Wong, Hidilyn Diaz and the rest of our athletes win their respective sporting events and top the medal tally, especially in winning gold medals in their respective sport and bringing honor to our country. The regional sporting event, which is being held once every two years and being rotated among the 11 members of the Southeast Asian Games Federation, enabled as to work together as one nation and one people in providing the visiting athletes, team officials and tourists with warmth, comfort and enjoyment that Filipino hospitality can offer.
Once the 2019 Southeast Asian Games draw to a close on December 11, it means a return to the divided reality for the Philippines. It will be the Philippines and Filipinos again returning to not being known as “the Philippines” and “the Filipino people” but as Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Visayans and Mindanaoans; Christians and Muslims; and DDS and Dilawan, divided and often at odds with one another. That should not be the case, for winning as one nation and one people should become the norm as we work together to achieve our national goals, especially economic development and prosperity in all corners of the Philippines and for all Filipinos. We cannot and we should not be forever divided along ethnic, political, economic, religious and social lines forever, or else we are going to fail together as a nation and as a people.
"We win as one" should not end with the Philippines' hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games but must become the battle cry of our country and of us Filipinos all the time.
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