Thursday, April 19, 2012

President Aquino: Like a Beat Up Old Car


I read the sniping and carping done at Get Real Post or Anti-Pinoy about the President of the Philippines. Well, these two sites are run by guys who enjoy the perspective of cushy chairs in, respectively, Australia and the United States. These are armchair quarterbacks, and their chairs are far removed from the playing field. They couldn't toss a wobbly pass 10 yards and hit a tight end 6 feet 6 inches tall. Yet they demand the President toss pretty spirals 50 yards on the fly to a wide-out speeding downfield in zig zags like a big bumble bee on steroids.

Get real, indeed.

I'm sure these critics drive slick cars of vintage no older than three years, polished and perfect. They certainly rag on Jeepneys enough, as if every Filipino is substandard unless he is cruising in his Lexus, like  get real men. And the woman amongst them. Her, too.


I have a nice car. A Honda civic, bought in Pampanga in 2008. It is finally starting to develop personality. First of all, the inside stinks. The upholstery has absorbed the aroma of too many sweaty people and cans of paint, bags of cement, and all the other shit the car hauls when it substitutes for a truck. All the air freshener in the world will never get rid it of that peculiar smell. Fortunately, the human nose is magnificent, and adjusts to malodorous air in precisely six minutes.

The lid to the center storage container between the front seats is busted and flops on its springs like granny's false teeth when they've lost their denture adhesive.

The outside is a piece of work, with scratches on three of four fenders. When the car is in heat it avidly seeks to mate with flower pots, curbs, pedicabs and concrete bridge walls. The front license is forever smashed, carrying the indentation of a dog's head. The dog bit the dust after biting the bumper of the car which was going 70 KPH. That little bit of canine murder cost me P15,000 to replace the shattered air conditioner condenser. The left front bumper flops a little, as it lost its connection to the fender metal after about the 12th time I creased the concrete fence post leading to our narrow driveway.

I've had the vulcanizing shop fix around 15 flat tires the past two years. Nails, bolts, slices of metal. One nail intentionally bent by the neighbors to do damage. Envy in action.

I am definitely attached to the car. I'll own it until it expires somewhere along the road between Naval and Tacloban. I'll roll it down the mountain to rest in rusty peace at the bottom of the gully and hitch a ride home in a van.

President Aquino is like that, to me. I'm fond of the dude.

Here is a guy who had no plans to be president. He was, and remains, a soft guy. Not dynamic and outgoing. An introvert. The son who grew up to be passive. Unmarried. Just minding his business and keeping the family name in the Senate. Then, in six short months, he was thrown into the highest and most difficult job in the land by the passions of a people who longed for the goodness of his Mom.

Early on, he had a decision to make. Did he have that kind of ambition or not? He went to a retreat by himself. Reflected. Returned and said, "Okay, let's make the Philippines a less corrupt place."

He didn't have to say much more than that. Mom did the rest, from her grave swathed in yellow ribbons and flowers.

Now he has been in office a couple of years and the cushy armchair quarterbacks, angry that their guy got defeated by an adored dead woman, STILL are complaining that President Aquino is not Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and JFK rolled into one, with a little Jesus Christ sprinkled on for spice.

Well, you know what, I like my President the way he is. With character.

I like his face because it can be a smile or a sneer, and no one really knows for sure. Hong Kong thought he was laughing when he was suffering from indigestion caused by the incompetence of the police who, unfortunately, report through about five layers directly to him. So he was stuck explaining to Hong Kong why a bus massacre was botched and what was going to be done about it.

I like the way he walks, kind of stooped and with a hitch in his gait like his boxer briefs may be one size too small. He wears those formal Filipino shirts, the see-through kind that are cool. In more ways than one.

People say he plays computer games and sleeps in and has girlfriends and likes a nice car himself. I wouldn't know because I couldn't care less. I hope he does all those things. Like a real person, you know? Not some plastic dummy like Mitt Romney who is forever posturing like a robotic mannequin whose batteries are over-juiced. Talk about silly putty, molding itself to the shape of the electorate's latest poll numbers.

No, President Aquino is real. Like me. Like you.

The thing is, he is doing so much RIGHT. It just gets buried in the media obsession about conflict and confrontation.

He has visited all the key Asian neighbors to open up lines of communication. He has achieved a firm balance with China, neither rolling over nor being belligerent, and always with an eye toward the greater value of robust trade between the two countries. The relationship with the US is in balance. Mutually beneficial. Copasetic, man, copasetic. He has stabilized the finances of the nation and attracted a lot more investors to the Philippines. The Philippine stock market is roaring, the peso is stronger than it has been in years.

And although the anti-corruption agenda looks like so much directionless confetti floating through the air, it has a decided drift, and the direction is down. Down with sloppy SALN's and people with their hands in the public cookie jar, or pork jar, come to think about it. Down with illegal kickbacks on government projects. Up with expenses for transportation infrastructure.

I laugh when people cast the presidents of the US and Philippines as responsible for the prices they pay at the gas pump. These are people who believe the pillow they smash against the wall in anger is responsible for their problems. No. The pillow just happened  to be at hand. Just like the President.

Here are some intractable problems. The solution will require many administrations. Electricity. Water. Congestion. Global warming. Corruption. Education.  Gas is a commodity, in short supply; it is not infrastructure. You ought to pay what the market demands, not some subsidized, regulated price that warps the true economic value of the stinky useful stuff.

Gloria Arroyo did not do enough. She was too busy chasing President Obama for photo ops, and arranging favors like Chief Justice appointments, plotting to re-write a perfectly good Constitution, making sure her face was plastered on a million road-construction signs across the country, handing out bags of cash to legislators, and (allegedly) scheming with her husband for kickbacks and rigging of elections.

President Aquino is not such a wayward man. He is serious about improving the Philippines. He is content to let his sister work on the family name's flair. He has no need to get richer, illegally.

Does he do everything I wish?

Does my car? Stupid demanding piece of junk requires that I haul its ass across the mountains to Ormoc for service every six months. And those flat tires. If there is a wayward piece of metal in the road, my car swerves toward it. The floor mats are really cheap and tend to want to sit on the gas pedal. I wish they wouldn't do that.

I wish the President would make a manly statement about the RH Bill and use his influence to get it passed. For the women of the Philippines. And to shout lima charlie (army for loud and clear) to the Catholic Church, "help us manage the Philippines to less poverty or get left behind". A divorce bill should be right behind it.

I wish he would not have let the Chinese scavenger boats escape without arresting someone.

I wish he would clean up Customs, a den of thieves thicker than the huddle around the heroin hookah in a dark alley of the Kasbah.

But look. He is my President.

I want him to succeed. I don't want to try to look superior by inspecting him for everything that goes wrong. Just what in God's great blue orb does that accomplish? These critics would tell you not to buy a Van Gogh painting because the artist was nuts. Let me tell you, the Philippines looks better than it has in a long long long long time, and no malcontent in Florida or Australia is going to tell me the picture is not worth buying, or investing in.

ANNNNNNNNDDDDDDD

If the President were in my foxhole, I'd watch his back, like any private is smart enough to do. If he is in the Palace, I'll do the same.

That's because I trust that he is watching mine.

No. No.

I KNOW he is watching mine.

57 comments:

  1. Hello Joe America, I am re-posting this here. Originally posted it in an older post of yours, but you may not see it.

    Glad to have stumbled on to your blog. I've been doing a cursory analysis of sites like Get Real Phils and other pro-Corona, pro-Marcos, anti-Filipino, anti- Pnoy sites. I'd like to confirm the following observations of mine if they are indeed accurate:

    Majority of those who flock to those sites are:

    1. In the 20-30 year old demographic, born after EDSA 1986; thus have no idea of what the Marcoses did;

    2. Children of OFWs and left behind, or come from broken families, so they have no responsible adult to educate them properly;

    3. are into self-loathing and self-bashing; so that the reader is left with nothing positive to take away and become more hopeless as time goes on;

    4. they are so frustrated with their own lives, they are on self-destructive modes in their writings; they fall prey to the propaganda of the Marcoses and everyone else anti-Pnoy.

    I wont be surprised if some on those sites will commit suicide in the future since they have very little or nothing to live for. They hate the government, they hate themselves, they hate their heritage. They are only united in their hate, and that is not something that you can hang your hat on for a long time. They have nothing to look forward to.

    Expecting your reply, thanks in advance.

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    1. andrew, I think your judgments are a little harsh. There is a broader mix of visitors to the sites (Get Real, anti-pinoy at least), and most are well educated and fluent in English. I don't think there is much self-loathing; indeed, the opposite, self-worship. I think "hate" also overstates things. The blog sponsors may have political motives or seek merely to find fame and fortune, I don't know. I don't think they are motivated by the psychology of the experience. Maybe a very few visitors to the sites are.

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    2. Thanks for the quick reply. Nice to bounce one's observations with another's, to get sharper focus. My replies:

      1. I base my view that there's a huge segment of 20-30 year olds born after EDSA on those blogs based on their posts and my conversations with them. Some of them readily admit to their age; others show it when they come up with sweeping generalizations of the Marcos years and outright inaccuracies. Lastly, you can check out their Facebook profiles.

      2. I agree that the main writers of Get Real Phils do actually write quite well, though I dont agree with much of what they say. I observed though, that this generation is the "left behind" kind, meaning one or both parents have gone abroad as OFWs, or they are from broken families, so there's no adult in the house they can consult on these matters. They are so frustrated, and they come up with these crazy conclusions.

      3. It's difficult to ascribe their backers (if there's any) as having political/financial motives, unless one has first hand info of these. The easiest way is to take them for what they put out in the blogs.

      4. I base my view that they are self-loathers from the numerous posts bashing the Filipino's behaviors, cultural traits, etc. without showing a direction on where to go. It only leaves the reader a sense of helplessness.

      I also detect a Jim Jones-like type of preaching (yes, the psychopath who tricked his followers into drinking poisoned Kool-Aid) when their writers talk on matters of faith.

      Would love to hear from you or your readers their response to my points above.

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    3. 1) Facebook. Good idea. I'll take your word for it, and admit that some of the juvenile comments of the regular commenters suggests younger minds at work.

      2) No question they are removed from the Philippines of today, and some of their writings are rather simplistic "agenda" pieces.

      3) True. Anti-pinoy is pro-Muslim. Get Real may just be in it for the fame. I dunno.

      4) They would of course argue vociferously. But it is strange to bash your own nationality as they do, without promoting any movement for positive, progressive development.

      Jim Jones is a little far out for me. Interesting comments you bring to the blog.

      Thanks. Joe

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    4. "There is a broader mix of visitors to the sites (Get Real, anti-pinoy at least), and most are well educated and fluent in English."

      True. Benign0 himself studied in ADMU (elementary and high school) and UP Diliman (college - Industrial Engineering). Ilda is also from UP Diliman (I just don't know what course).

      The problem with them, however, is that they are narcissists - they think they are too special to have to follow rules or to get along with other people. That's why they spend hours trolling and hate blogging. The internet allows them to be complete assholes without getting beaten up by an irate crowd afterwards.

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    5. Not to generalize but I think that's a weakness of both ADMU and UP students, even I have such tendencies as one of the latter.

      Being told that your school is awesome and that you're so smart at an age when you're easily affected by external factors will more likely than not, give you an ego.

      Of course, some of us grow out of this phase once we join the real world, some are stuck with vestiges of glory and insignificant praise.

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    6. "Of course, some of us grow out of this phase once we join the real world, some are stuck with vestiges of glory and insignificant praise."

      True, especially when you're living in a country where people consider you as an incompetent minority who would do anything for American/Australian citizenship. Those "vestiges of glory and insignificant praise" must have kept benign0, ilda and bongV sane when their white neighbors and co-workers were calling them "Flips" and "monkeys." But too much of a good thing can be harmful, as evidenced by their current state.

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    7. Yes, I can imagine that when living in a country "where people consider you an incompetent minority", one would be inclined to find sanity in writing blogs. Or even an "out of place" minority who sticks out like a sore white thumb . . .

      Now if I can just avoid slipping into that state where I rag on my own countrymates relentlessly . . . to justify why I am not at home with them . . .

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    8. Joe and Andrew,

      Please read one of the highlights of the Pinoy basher here:

      http://pcij.org/blog/2005/11/23/the-paradox-of-freedom#comment-16016

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    9. Andrew,

      You forgot to add #5---Those who are still, in Internet lingo, "butthurt" that their candidate lost to President Aquino in 2010. I know benign0 is one of them. The guy backed Richard Gordon.

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  2. Great piece Joe. Totally agree. Sometimes it takes an "outsider" to show us things we take for granted.

    I'm accused of being Yellow Army. What those nitwits don't understand is I'm proud to be a volunteer in the president's army. I am not a fanatic follower, I've criticized the president whenever I thought he could do better. In my own little way I push him when I think he is not pushing enough. But all in all he makes me proud and pride in the leader of my country is something I have not felt in many, many years. That is something they will have to pry from my cold dead hands, to quote Charles Heston's pro-gun message.

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    1. Sometimes it takes an "insider" to open an "outsider's" eyes.

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  3. The impressive thing about the "naturalness" of Noynoy is that he never uses religion for photo-ops unlike the "prayerful " pictures
    Gloria and her friend, Imelda.

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    1. And Noynoy never brags about how intelligent he is. Unlike benign0 and his ilk, who keep branding themselves the "intellectual elites."

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  4. "Well, these two sites are run by guys who enjoy the perspective of cushy chairs in, respectively, Australia and the United States."

    That's why they can bravely make noise. They are located thousands of miles away from the Philippines, rendering their opponents unable to burn their houses with them in it.

    "These are armchair quarterbacks, and their chairs are far removed from the playing field. They couldn't toss a wobbly pass 10 yards and hit a tight end 6 feet 6 inches tall. Yet they demand the President toss pretty spirals 50 yards on the fly to a wide-out speeding downfield in zig zags like a big bumble bee on steroids."

    As a wise person once said, "Empty cans make the loudest noise" and "In any game, it is the spectators who make a lot of noise, while the players just play on." If benign0, ilda and bongV are really intelligent and productive people, they would have better things to do with their time than troll and hate blog.

    "I'm sure these critics drive slick cars of vintage no older than three years, polished and perfect. They certainly rag on Jeepneys enough, as if every Filipino is substandard unless he is cruising in his Lexus, like get real men. And the woman amongst them. Her, too."

    Again, empty cans make the loudest noise. What they don't have in brains, they make up for in material possessions. If you'll ask me, though, whining in front of the computer day in and day out won't earn you the money for that spanking new car. Someone must be supporting those bozos (a spouse or a family member). PARASITES.

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    1. That's good. Hadn't heard it before. "An empty can makes the loudest noise." Wonderful!

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  5. joeamerica for senator of the philippines!

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    1. Hey, between the two of us, we could shape this place up, eh? And Mr. Corona would be fried and fired already.

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  6. i disagree with your analogy of pnoy == old car.

    if u like pnoy for sentimental reasons, go for it. but he's got (real) stuff going for him too.

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    1. Yes, GabbyD. I understand your point. The headline is designed to attract readers. The story is designed to make a point. My point is that I like President Aquino, not for sentimental reasons, but because he is "real". A good man doing a good job.

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    2. really? my point is that the article, as written, is fairly confusing. at one point, you say he is like a car u love, he can break down anytime, and yet, he is ALSO doing good things.

      as a piece of persuasive writing, this is all over the place. (PS: i'm trying to give u constructive criticism on writing. i dont particularly care about what ur actual opinion is.)

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    3. I appreciate the guidance, GabbyD. There are indeed inconsistencies and things that don't make sense. President Aquino's bumpers are not dented, for one. Some days the writing flows, and some days it does not. Sometimes it is organized and some times it is all over the place. If I waited and worked for a more perfect expression, I'd publish about once a month. My goal is 6 articles a week. If they end up crappy, just set them aside.

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  7. "Gloria Arroyo did not do enough. She was too busy chasing President Obama for photo ops, and arranging favors like Chief Justice appointments, plotting to re-write a perfectly good Constitution, making sure her face was plastered on a million road-construction signs across the country, handing out bags of cash to legislators, and (allegedly) scheming with her husband for kickbacks and rigging of elections."

    *sigh* I love the Arroyos. I have a friend in banking - told me these dudes that broker corrupt deals like ZTE that have hundreds of millions of pesos in local banks (since foreign banks won't touch these assholes). Apparently there was a Cyber Education bill Arroyo was going to pass that was worth 26 billions pesos, but was scrapped after ZTE tanked.

    Also had another friend that served closely with Mike Arroyo. Mentioned that he was a PIG. Evil as fuuuuuck, and had people killed.

    Another funny story: Mikee Arroyo, darling son of these psychos, lines his office walls with bodyguards. Apparently afraid of assassination attempts.

    FUCK the Arroyos. I'm dumbfounded how Get Real and all Pnoy's critics seemed to have forgotten that witch's legacy.

    - patrioticflip

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    1. Apologies on my grammar and spelling, Joe. I was typing stream of conciousness for a bit and forgot to proof-read. -PF

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    2. PF, I have long thought that hubby was the real driver of all the scheming. Interesting how now their son pays the price, in lifetime insecurity.

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  8. I'm not into politics but the present president doesn't stink as much many before him. I don't like him but don't hate him either. Bad critics are just people who have nothing to do, or just love doing it. Whatever,the president doesn't care much anyway.

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    1. Staying out of politics is important to remaining sane, I think. I like your view on things, actually.

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  9. There's a big difference between "I'll watch your back even if you'll not watch mine" and "I'll scratch your back only if you scratch mine".

    I believe the latter was the policy of the former Palace occupant.

    I'm glad, Joe, that you're confident enough to say that our President got you covered.

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    1. It is truth that I feel more secure under President Aquino than I did under President Arroyo. To some extent the President is bound by the social and political conventions of his time. On the basis of acts, I'd peg President Aquino at around a "6.5" on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being high. Backing him is more constructive than undermining him.

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  10. You know he's got your back? How do you convince the victims of typhoon Sendong the same? and how about the people in Mindanao that participate in daily Earth hourS? these are real questions, im curious to hear how can one defend these things, people outside of central Luzon aren't feeling as toasty as you are, please explain or enlighten me as to what your beat up old car is doing so everyone below Manila including me can stop this feeling of neglect.

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    1. Typhoon Sendong. The logging that aggravated the damage has been going on for years. Even after the Typhoon, people in the mountains went back to logging, as it is their means of livelihood. It is a chronic result of poverty, same as dynamite fishing, over-fishing, un-regulated mining, and much corruption. I hold the Catholic Church more responsible for the "infrastructure of poverty" than the President. I don't know about daily Earth hours. You'd have to explain that to me.

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  11. Let's put your car analogy to the test then, Joe.

    First off, Filipinos knew they were buying a lemon in him, yet they proceeded to doing it anyway. We can't say that the car was raw, untested, or was not taken out for a test drive; he had a considerable stint (length of time) in the senate and congress and he came up with nothing. In short, the car produced unremarkable results and failed to differentiate itself from the rest of the other "models" out there.

    Why would you bother struggling with an old car that's obviously become a money pit when you can instead buy a new one? Is it because it has...sentimental value? That's exactly how many Filipinos think. They don't bother to weigh the financial pros and cons of purchasing and choose based on the glitter of the paint. They think with their heart and not with their head.

    If your car is not doing everything you intend it to do when you do it, you should fix it. If it stinks inside you wash the upholstery. That is akin to what critics do; they're the mechanics who suggest to the owner what needs fixing. Of course, it's up to the car owners whether they want to heed the advice or not. And Filipinos are awfully bad drivers and caretakers.

    Finally, let me just say something else. The fact that even a typical yes-man m0r0n like GabbyD is disagreeing with your analogy says a lot about the fact that it's intrinsically flawed.

    You've been in the army, right Joe? Then you know that the army demands results over excuses. Which do you think Noynoy Aquino is better at producing? You're expecting him to back you up in a foxhole? He's going to run away, Joe. He's going to get up from that foxhole, and get shot in the back while doing so. Like he's been trying to run from the Presidency ever since.

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    1. I am always surprised at how freely and deeply hate flows in the Philippines.

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  12. mardi mapa-suplidoMay 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    so well said about PNoy, I love the guy too, am sharing on FB :)

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    1. mardi mapa-suplido, good of you to visit. Thanks for passing the article along to others.

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  13. I saw Mardi's post and am sharing it too. I voted for PNoy and actively campaigned for him. He definitely is not perfect but I would rather be part of the solution than be part of the problem. I would do my share in doing simple things such as the "12 little things" of Alex Lacson. Yes, it gets very frustrating at times (especially now that elections are coming up)...

    Really, you put it so well!

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    1. Thanks. Glad to have you read and comment. I think trapos are a part of the political landscape, and it is up to us and our social media power to "reveal and right" things. Keep on pushing . . .

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  14. i mean frustrating because the trapos are at it again!

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  15. Wonderful piece, Joe! Exactly my saentiments. I was living and I've been working in California for almosst a decade as a caregiver when the name of Noynoy emerged as a presidential candidate. I can't explain why, but I felt a kind of excitement that I never felt before about our elections. I just had the strongest feeling that he was the guy we needed.For the first time I was hopeful and I silently promised to myself that I'd go back home if Noynoy won. He did, and so now I'm home. I'm not happy with everything that the president does, but he is my president. I know he has the best intention. So I pray that he succeeds.

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  16. Sorry for some typo errors. Fractured two fingers of one hand, it's bandaged and not used to typing with only 7 fingers.

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    1. Ouch. Good of you to visit with what my young son would call "busticated" hands. I think that is the correct view that you hold. He was EXACTLY the guy the Philippines needed. No one else. Gordon, Villar, Teodoro, Binay. All sound. But none with the clout needed in the arena of trust. It's hard to work on corruption if people are suspicious.

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  17. Hey Joe,

    Nice writing.

    I campaigned hard for Villar. But that was in the last election. Now, P-Noy is the President, he did win fair and square. So unlike GMA. Even Villar conceded defeat early. I went to Congress to file Impeachment against GMA (We would have been presented in the Committee on Justice hearings but we were disallowed. And while there our congressman and GMA ally Tinnex Jaraula offered us champorado in the House resto).

    Life goes on.

    PNoy has been criticized for low economic growth figures in his first year. As if GDP growth figures do mean a thing to anti-poverty drive. Researches have said time and again aggregate econ figures do not make an economy. Food on the table, decent roof and bed, accessible education and health care and vertical mobility for the educated poor and middle class do.

    Am no fan of neo-liberal economics. Thanks to education from JoeMa Sison, Walden Bello, Nic Perlas. Am no romantic either. President's don't make a nation, the people do.

    There is problem up there, there is problem in my belly, there is problem down there. Up there is obvious, belly problems are also easy to understand, it could either be bad cholesterol or unwanted pregnancy or hunger.

    We fret about human rights, but did Karapatan and Bayan applaud Mayor Sara Duterte's mauling of a lowly court sheriff?

    And now Gabriela comes to the rescue of Claudine Barreto. Am no fan of Mon Tulfo but just like many crazy journalists, I will bet my 36 inch waistline to let Mon Tulfo take photos of the inane palengkera Claudine.

    I don't like Raymart long before the Tulfo incident because he broke the heart of Rico Yan. And Claudine ahh, didn't he send Mark Anthony Fernandez to drug rehab? Broken-hearted Rico Yan to convulsion in Palawan? and now look, Raymart-the-bully.

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  18. Hi Joe,
    Great blog.will include it in the EQ Post must reads.more power!

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    1. Thanks EQ. Good of you to stop by and drop off a comment.

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  19. I wish PNoy would be more resolute with the R H bill. He had flip-flopped on this too many times. Now he is for it, then, he does not prioritize it. I do not know what he is afraid of. Is it the Catholic Church? Look, he is not going to seek for re-election after his term, so he has all the opportunities to better the Philippines - and leave his post with the country a better place to be in, considering. He can afford to disappoint the high and the mighty - the bishops in this case. Regretfully, the bill is not going to be passed in this congress...
    We need the bill now, not yesterday. In fact we needed the bill years ago. I hope PNoy will be able to sign this into bill before he leaves his post. My God, if he was able to "railroad" he Corona impeachment, why can't he do the same with this bill?

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  20. Written one day when I saw a ray of hope in the horizon. Two years later, I ask, have I presumed/assumed too much, or just right? Be the judge!

    ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JUAN DE LA CRUZ
    By Ed Valenciano

    I am not that romantic. I am not into numerology. I am only a borderline spiritually-aware person. But I can sense. And I can feel. I can sense that something good is going to happen in the not-too-distant future for our beloved Philippines - battered consistently, religiously and regularly for the longest time by the evils of graft and corruption and its attendant cohorts. I can sense deliverance from the chains of oppression of the personally-centered variety. I can feel there is a flowering of hope – a genuine hope - one that has eluded Juan de la Cruz for endless decades. I can feel it in my bones and breathe it in my air that today, the 9th of September in the year of our Lord 2009, is a day like no other in recent memory.

    An icon has crossed the impossible. A symbol has traversed the improbable. A bearer of a noble legacy has emerged from among us - one worthy to be rallied around and behind for his sterling purity and simplicity – a man who has not been affected by power or its many senseless trappings; a landed gentry individual who has chosen to be mindless of his lineage; a reluctant individual in our midst today who can be trusted to carry on the painful war against the opportunists of society and the misguided politics of the most powerful practitioners of the art – an individual who is deemed to restore the nobility of a race once proud and unbowed in the community of nations; a reluctant candidate lovingly molded in the Christian traditions of a saintly mother and the brilliance of a heroic father, and strengthened by a family deeply rooted in faith in God and everything that stands for Good – his reluctance being the brightest of assurances that power will not spoil him. Today a part of this world – our part, has been favored with an unusual gift – an opportunity to save ourselves from getting more mired in the muddy dungeons of hopelessness and despair. This opportunity does not come free, however. It comes with a steep price, which is, that we must play our cards right this time.

    Noynoy Aquino is the man that symbolizes the re-formation, re-engineering, re-inventing and the re-formatting of the Filipino nation. In his example of humility, morality and purity, it is hoped that the forces of evil in our society will be slewed one at a time. It is a herculean job that cannot be achieved by one person, no matter how super-gifted he maybe. This fight is not Noynoy’s. It is ours and his and every country-loving Filipino’s fight! We are in this all and all together. Today, more than any day, we have a moral obligation to fight side by side – one nation with one goal – to reinvent ourselves and gain the respect of the world - one which we have lost by our own indiscretion, misdeed and irresponsibility.

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  21. PART 2/ ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF JUAN DE LA CRUZ


    It will be boringly repetitive and irrelevant to say that we must rally behind Noynoy. Campaign funds of the opposition in the billions will be powerless if we all breathe, hope, aspire, work, dream and campaign as one united political party for Noynoy, spending nothing but just word-of-mouth spreading of the good news (to borrow a Christian expression), singing the glories of Goodness and damning Evil in all its forms. The coming national elections MUST be an opportunity for us to recapture the virtues of our forebears: palabra de honor; delicadeza; honesty; industriousness; bayanihan, among a few. Let us seize this opportunity of a lifetime – it may never come again.

    We cheer elements of our society which are putting in place noteworthy mechanisms and tools that will discourage election malpractice and guard the sanctity of the ballot. The youth in full force is eagerly awaiting a chance to do something to secure their future through the momentous elections of May 2010. They may yet prove right Rizal’s famous line: The youth is the hope of Motherland! in Elections 2010.

    Let us stir our imagination and surge forward with hope – let us soar the highest we can with Noynoy as our catalyst-leader, and God as the ultimate provider. Let us, all of us, work – young and old; rich and poor; powerful and powerless; minority and majority; marginalized and favored; men of the cloth and laity; men and women of all persuasions, creed and shape……….let us, as a united nation, ensure the election of Noynoy. Let us watch the culmination of our labor, the inauguration of Noynoy as President of this God-blessed country, in January 2011. Yes, dear God may we yet live to see the day of Inang Bayan’s journey to liberation…………finally. #

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    1. Nicely penned. I think there are rocks in any road, and what we have to look for is what it looks like at the end (of six years). I personally get MORE optimistic, not less, with the passing events.

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  22. The millions spent to stage a SONA every year can be channeled to better purposes. This yearly affair had become, as the writer points out, a red carpet event where the participants - members of congress, especially the ladies - clad themselves in their most expensive designer outfits and outdo each other in a dazzling display of blings, in the process, drown the reason why there is a SONA. Why can't we do away with all of these external delusions and save some? For a foreigner looking in, this yearly extravaganza could easily impress him and may even lead him to conclude that ours is not, really, a struggling country of the third kind after all!

    It is our culture of deceit that comes into fore every SONA time, like our propensity to fence in unsightly areas around the NAIA whenever an international event comes to town [so our foreign neighbors will not see the decay that is eating us up]. Let the President speak from his office, and with the aid of technology, tell the people how the country is at this time without the extravagant embellishments as background. A simple yet candid state of the nation will do. Instead, let the administration improve our roads, or build classrooms; or give a bonus to our public school teachers; or save up the money to develop relocation areas for squatters and then some. The SONA has become our biggest and most expensive fiesta! It is unforgivable to spend millions of tax payers' money just to listen to a speech whose contents are either exaggeratedly incredible or a repeat of the previous year's SONA recycled by brilliant speech writers and delivered by a well-rehearsed speaker. We could listen to the SONA in the comfort of our living rooms without the necessity of fielding out hundreds of policemen, army personnel; fire trucks and rerouting traffic; sprucing up the BATASAN building (after it had just been spruced up year before!); suspending classes and inducing those endless street protests and rallies that clog the streets and create mammoth traffic jams.

    Common folks, give us a break, will you?

    ED VALENCIANO

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    1. Sounds like the pageantry of Royal England, the way you describe it. I agree with your point. There is an elegance to being subtle and straightforward. I think this is rather the marketing of a Presidency. To the starstruck masses.

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  23. This is the kind of stuff the Filipinos ought to be reading. Real, straight, in your face and constructive. Thanks for writing about the Philippines. Thank you for your blog.

    Sharing your blog in google plus.

    Bless you. More power. Please enjoy Leyte!

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you appreciate the perspective.

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  24. By the way, your blog is featured in Boo Chanco's column in the Philippine Star. FYI.

    http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=66&articleId=830246

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    1. Gadzooks. Thank's for letting me know. I wondered why my reads shot up.

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