Thursday, February 21, 2008

How proud are you to be a Filipino?

The mistakes of the past are being vulgarly displayed once again in the ZTE-NBN deal mess. Haven’t we learned a single truth about corruption? Haven’t we stood up and took up several revolutions to denounce corruption?

This stinking political mess is a big shame. From my point of view, I’ll approach this in a very simple way of putting justice where it is due. Support the truth, condemn the evil deed and penalize the wrong-doers.

Let’s face it. The Philippines is a corrupt place. With the exception of a chosen few, who I revered as real public servants, the political scenario in the Philippines is still in Dark Ages. People get away with corruption easily, as if it is normal for them to do it since they are supposedly the people’s representative.

True progress in this country can not just be shown in economic numbers. True progress can be shown in how the country deals with issues like ZTE-NBN scams. It should really take place from the roots and not from the invented-painted-look so good economic numbers of our government leaders. There is truth to the growth rate but we never matured politically. Or maybe, I would say, we are regressing politically.

Our OFWs have sent 14.5 billion US dollars to fuel our economy. There are just so many poor Filipino souls that sacrifice a lot of their personal joys just to keep their family in good position. Those sacrifices are keeping this country afloat. It is not the people in the government who are doing the sacrifices to make this country, once and for all, an identity to be proud of.

What happened to the beautiful Philippines? The world has grown so fast leaving us at the bottom of the heap, a disgrace to our neighbors, making us an ever struggling identity trying to survive.

How many of us wanted to migrate to better countries that provide opportunities? How many of us wanted to work abroad so that our family can have their education, food and security? How of us wanted to wave the Filipino flag on top of the world and showcase our ingenious resolve and natural talents?

With people like Abalos, Arroyo and other “below the radar” thieves in the government, HOW MANY OF US ARE TRULY PROUD TO BE FILIPINOS?

A book in the making: Part 1

A book in the making : If I am the Philippine President – Part 1

I admit that among my incredible dreams, to become the president of our ailing country is one of them. Not because I wanted to ride around freely on traffic jams with black, flashing muscle cars nor dine with the famous and powerful people around the world. Not because I want to stay in Malacanang Palace and enjoy the lavish benefits of a chief executive nor fly around the world for free.

I can’t even understand why I want to be a president when in fact I never admired any of them. Not one. They were never my heroes. No exception. No one came close to my idea of what a president should be. No one displayed the heroism of a real Filipino president, a person who will consume all his life for the service of the country.

I grew up watching my father serve our neighborhood as a barangay councilman. 20 years of unwavering public service, 20 years of humble, dedicated and selfless service to a community mainly composed of workers for the country’s biggest sugar mill. The job was thankless. The government allowance was not even enough for him to buy a pair of shoes that he wore out while attending to various concerns of the community. I looked up to him, sensed the pride in his effort to make a difference in our society. He was my first hero and I am sure that along the way, with all the service he gave, he was a real hero to a few more individuals in our community.

I tried to take a dip into politics at the age of 16. The local Sangunniang Kabataan (SK) election was up and with the same willingness and desire to serve the youth in our community, I ran as chairman and lost by less than ten votes to a lady that remained as a close friend.

It was a devastating blow to me and my party. At that young age, I felt bitter but consoled by the presence of friends around me. It might have affected my self-esteem for a while but the most remarkable thing that happened to me was how it opened my eyes to politics even at a small scale. I still thank God that I lost that election ‘cause I never trusted myself to be a good public servant at such a young age when material things and lust for higher government position is a big temptation.

I went to study Civil Engineering in a local university and really enjoyed my college years. I started as a vice-president of a religious organization, Student Catholic Action, on my third year and became a fraternity president the next year of Delta Phi Omega. My last year in college was dedicated as president of the Association of Civil Engineering Students. I joined 5 school organizations, joined school competitions where I won, together with a friend, for the provincial wide contest on original song composition. I played in a band, walked the streets of Bacolod city drunk, fed the malnourished kids at the city outskirts, collared by the city police for having too much fun with friends, shared a good 4 years relationship with a girlfriend, graduated on time and landed as one of the topnotchers of the national civil engineering board exams. My college years can always be replayed over and over again, and I will never be tired of reliving it.

When I was still in school, I made it a point to attend my classes and make sure that I understand the lesson. Once I think that I already understood, I would go out with friends and hang around the campus. But I was also a library client. I don’t just borrow books regarding my class but I also borrow books of special interests. I think my mind is just too restless to settle what’s in front of me. I always wanted to learn more, experience new things, meet good people, extend myself in anyway. I learned to exhaust myself.

During one of the periodic exams, I accidentally left my textbook open under the armchair. The exam was easy not because the questions were simple but I just happened to study the right things that came out of the exams. The proctor watching the exam room was in his mid fifties, military haircut, strict and corny male professor who would sometimes splatter some frothy concoctions in front of the class. He was watching me intently, just waiting for me to look down and look at the open book. I never intended to look since I didn’t really know that the book was open. He was there ten feet away from me, moved his chair across the room so that he can watch me carefully. One little peek and I fail the subject for cheating. I am not sure if I was the earliest to turn over my test papers but just right after he receives my paper, he said, “I was really expecting that you would look down to see your notebook. Next time, don’t put yourself in suspicious situation.”

That incident was the most profound and most valuable piece of advice I still hold dear up to the moment. “Never put yourself under suspicion.” The truth to those words remained to be my guiding principle both at work and play. I always show people my clean intentions to a point sometimes that it becomes a wasted effort. Intentions can be observed in several angles, often, in ways you don’t expect.

End of Part 1

Justice, where art thou?

FILIPINOS are entitled to one vote each. It represents the heart and soul of a person who is longing that his voice will be heard, though faint in the millions of votes.

Shave a vote and you kill entirely that faint voice and literally, the essence of that person’s right to suffrage. The Philippines, Mindanao in particular, has become a graveyard of honest election watchers, teachers and volunteers. It has also become a stinking place of dishonest government appointees like Lintang Bedol.

Justice, strike where you need to strike and I will be there to believe in your name. Justice, hear the last breath of heroes that died looking for you.

Filipinos, wake up from your slumber!!!

Filipinos, Wake Up!!!

The uproar on the ZTE-NBN scan is a proof that Filipinos are trying to mature politically and are not tolerating more corruption in our government. Our people have stood up to fight for the truth and I pray that it fall into good grounds to start roots of good governance.

GMA is not the government. She’s just on top of it, the lord of the messed ring of cohorts. I respect a duly elected president and I respect her right to clean up her own mess, even if it includes an erring husband or close friends in her Cabinet. The President must respect her people and put her erring government officials into the light of justice.

I give her the credit she’s due but all of that credit is thrown into obscurity if she can’t handle people big liars like Abalos in her cabinet. I expect my president to be the top patriot for this country. I would die for a patriotic president who would only think of the best for this country and not conceal thieves and robbers of the people’s money. I don’t think she’s worthy of that right now.

Lozada, De Venecia and countless brave souls may not be the cleanest government people we knew but I admire them for standing up for their country.

Madame President, don’t let wolves ruin your well laid plan for the country. I still believe you can clean up your own mess. And by then, maybe you would earn my respect and die for your cause.

By the way, why is Abalos still out there free with Garcillano and Lintang Bedol? Is our justice system that hopeless?