Author Archives: Tess Doce-Halili

president duterte

12 nuggets of wisdom from President Duterte’s speech (Part 2 of 2)

Friday, 1 July 2016 | Written by
president duterte

Continued from Part 1: Twelve (12) nuggets of wisdom from President Duterte’s speech

president duterte

  1. “But the change, if it is to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us.”

I have written this right after Mayor Duterte won as President (Read: The Eagle has landed ):

“But, a leader will only be as good as the pack it leads. Much as we all would like to see positive change in our country, we all should be the change we want to happen. We should be willing to change our ways, embrace discipline in our personal lives and at work whether in the public or private sector, and promote honesty and integrity in our dealings with one another, among other gazillion things we can do as responsible Filipinos.”

I would like to believe that we are more than our social media persona, that most of us are advocates of real change in the real world and that we are committed to do the best we can for our country. Change can happen because of the underlying principle of the next quote.

  1. “Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished – these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines. The ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest.”

If we all can truly say in our hearts that we love our country “to the moon and back” as some usually say, then there’s no problem accepting the mandate of the new president who has not promised us a rose garden but a thorny ride to a better land of our birth. It’s our country which is at stake now so it is high time to set aside differences and immature tirades. Let the “Dutertards” and “Yellowtards” (is there a “Nognogtard” and an “AmGirltard” out there, by the way?) leave their retarded and chaotic comments and opinions behind and unite behind the colors of red, white, blue and yellow. And yes, let them tear themselves away from their gadgets and get some action going in the real world.

Photo via PCO. Some rights reserved.

Photo via PCOO. Some rights reserved.

  1. Quotes from the late US Presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

For those who deem the President as anti-American or even leftist, they better think twice. Here is a president who may espouse leftist (though not extreme) views but one who also believes in his heart the principles of democracy just like the pillars of democracy do.

  1. “However, there are certain policies and specifics of which cannot wait for tomorrow to be announced. Changing the rules when the game is ongoing is wrong.

I abhor secrecy and instead advocate transparency in all government contracts, projects and business transactions. Do them and we will work together. Do not do them, we will part sooner than later.”

Government is notoriously known for red tape and corruption to speed up processing of papers. It is heartening to hear this directive from the president himself who recognizes the urgency of implementing policies. It may put pressure on government agencies but it surely tickles pink the ordinary Pinoys who have endured hours of waiting not to mention depleted resources just to have their papers processed. It would be a bit of heaven on earth to see the day when doing so does not even require one to treat a government employee to a Christmas present of Coaches or Crocs.

  1. “…the Republic of the Philippines will honor treaties and international obligations.…my administration is committed to implement all signed peace agreements in step with constitutional and legal reforms.”

Can I see a show of hands for those who felt relieved after hearing this? I bet you, you were scared the president will close, er, bang the door on America or Australia or even Mexico, weren’t you? Perhaps you were scared that you might not be able to take your cruises or trips to Europe or the US or even our neighboring ASEAN countries because our president will give the international community a cold shoulder. Let go of that passport then, my bourgeoisie countrymen, and stay. We’ve got a country to rebuild for the better.

  1. “I am elated by the expression of unity among our Moro brothers and leaders, and the response of everyone else to my call for peace.”

It is heartwarming to note that we have in our midst a president whose administration is inclusive of all Filipinos. Our country may be an archipelago but it does take a strong leader to unite everyone under one peaceful nation. Let’s hold on to this and pray it will continue to be so.

  1. “…I was elected to the presidency to serve the entire country. I have no friends to serve, I have no enemies to harm.”

This is a call for unity under the leadership of the new president. It will not do anyone any good if the mindset is partisan. Those who have already dismissed him as one who will not be able to deliver on his promises should perhaps give this man a chance to prove himself. After all, he has just started his journey which for a 71 year-old could be a long and arduous one.

The president has just announced he’s in Malacañang to start his work for the nation. Let him do his job then.

After 6 years, we can go back to these and see if the Davao Eagle has delivered.

president duterte

12 nuggets of wisdom from President Duterte’s speech (Part 1 of 2)

Friday, 1 July 2016 | Written by
president duterte

The Davao Eagle has just landed in Malacañang.

president duterte

It seems surreal but it’s true.

The newly-installed President of the Republic of the Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, has just been enthroned in his new nesting place, Malacañang. The reluctant candidate is the first-ever President to come from Mindanao. Most Mindanaoans, especially Davaoeños, were beaming with pride as he took his oath of office today, June 30, 2016.

A lot of people were eager to hear what the 16th president of the country has to say. They have been used to fiery speeches during the campaign and curse-laden outbursts during press conferences after he was declared the winner in the presidential race with over 16 million votes garnered, 16,601,997 to be exact. For sure, there were those who felt a jitter or two hoping he won’t make a fool of himself by making blunder after blunder.

Well, lo and behold, he survived his first speech as president. What a huge relief it was to know the expectations were unfounded.  He gave a meaty and eloquent speech which will go down the history of presidential speeches as one of the good ones. It wasn’t long so it didn’t bore his audience nor was it short that it left them wanting. I would like to believe that the 15-minute speech was not mere rhetoric but something which comes from the deepest chamber of his soul.

Let me go through some of the striking parts of his speech. I counted twelve.

  1. “…we have to listen to the murmurings of the people, feel their pulse, supply their needs and fortify their faith and trust in us whom they elected to public office.”


This shows that the President is very much aware where his authority comes from and that is from the people. He did not really plan to run for president. He even said that he will retire from public office this year, 2016. But listening to the voice of those who vowed to support him no matter what – from the rich businessmen to the lowly street vendors – he gave in and tried his “luck” saying that if it is his destiny, he will win.

And win, he did. It is all because of the people who put their faith and trust in his capacity and capability to lead the country.

  1. “I see these ills as mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society. I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together.”

Although his platform of government during his campaign was hinged on eradication of criminality, drugs, and corruption with peace and order as bottom line, he is fully aware that those are merely offshoots of erosion of faith and trust in the government in all its three branches. People have lost their trust in the system which aims to promote their welfare in the first place but which has not delivered in the end. He would like to restore that faith and trust.

  1. “I have seen how corruption bled the government of funds, which were allocated for the use in uplifting the poor from the mire that they are in. I have seen how illegal drugs destroyed individuals and ruined family relationships. I have seen how criminality, by means all foul, snatched from the innocent and the unsuspecting, the years and years of accumulated savings.”

President Duterte’s decades of serving the people of Davao City gave him the eyes, heart and will to see, feel and fight the ills of society which are corruption, illegal drugs and criminality. It seems that we will be hearing these over and over for the next 6 years but this is better to make people more aware of these issues. This new president is bent on addressing issues rather than throwing blame on past administrations. He is determined to give what our fellowmen need instead of rest on the laurels of what his parents have done for the country. There is at least a feeling of relief in knowing that.

In a recent forum of businessmen in Davao City, he said in not so many words that no business will thrive unless there is peace, law and order in the country. He urged them to stop corruption also as it is a two-way street.

duterte inaugural

“As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the president. I know what is legal and what is not. My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising. You mind your work and I will mind mine.”

The trouble with imperial Manila mentality is people think those from the provinces are utterly stupid. Read comments in social media and you can see that. A lot of people during the campaign thought the tough-talking mayor from small-time Davao City is an idiot and a good-for-nothing guy who’s as dirty as his mouth. Not many who wrote in national newspapers expressed fear for the country once this dictator-in-the-making will win as president.

C’mon, the President is a lawyer educated in a premier school in Manila. Just because one comes from the province, notwithstanding one from the south, that one is of lower caliber than those born and raised in the Metropolis. People go to Manila to study because they can afford to do so. I wonder, how many Metro Manilans go to the top schools in Manila where these “probinsyanos” go to? And yet, people look down on those coming not from their traffic-laden and polluted urban jungles.

Not anymore though. The two people occupying the two highest positions of the land are both “promdis.” Being elected into those two top offices is enough “revenge of the promdis.”

So, fearful urbanites, relax! The President knows what he’s saying and what he’s doing more than you and I will even know.

5 .Malasakit. Tunay na Pagbabago. Tinudanay nga Kausaban (Compassion. Real change.)” – these are words which catapulted me to the presidency. These slogans were conceptualized not for the sole purpose of securing the votes of the electorate. “Tinudanay nga kabaguhan. Mao kana ang tumong sa atong panggobyerno

(Real change. This is the direction of our government).”

For the first time I’ve heard lines in Bisaya/Cebuano uttered in a presidential inaugural speech. Perhaps it’s time for people to learn a a little bit of Cebuano. No longer will one be able to laugh at the accent of someone who comes from the Visayas or from Mindanao otherwise that would mean laughing at the President who may be very articulate in English but whose accent somehow betrays his roots. Who cares? At least he’s well-versed in three languages which not many are. That could be one among many of those changes.

These lines show that the President is less a politician and more of a mover and a doer because he aims to transcend his campaign slogans into action more than anything else which will bring us to the next quote.

Continued Twelve (12) nuggets of wisdom from President Duterte’s speech (Part 2)

Photo via Some rights reserved.

The Eagle has landed

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 | Written by
Photo via Some rights reserved.

Yes, the Davao Eagle has landed.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

It’s like a dream which no Mindanaoan would like to wake up from. Or perhaps, to aptly put, it is a dream come true for the people of Mindanao to finally have one of their own as President of the Philippines. As Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said it, if it is God’s will for him to become president, then it must be his destiny to be one.

Like an eagle, Mayor Digong or Rody, as he is fondly called, soared high to look at the big picture, not necessarily to take the presidency as his prey, but to see what he can do for his country. He went around major cities to feel the pulse of the people as he also peddled the idea of federalism for the Philippines. Admittedly having meager means and limited machinery compared to his opulent opponents, LP-backed Sec. Mar Roxas and UNA-supported VP Jojo Binay, Mayor Digong embarked on a quixotic journey by tapping the grassroots which willingly fell not just to his charms but for the beads of hope for a better life he dangled for everyone to get hold of.

From being a little-known mayor down south, he was catapulted into fame or perhaps notoriety for his cursing, his womanizing, and his rumored extra-judicial killings in Davao City. But that was what media, mostly mainstream, have painted the Davao Eagle to be: fierce and merciless and unafraid to claw into whoever will cross his path. Apparently, that is not the picture his supporters have seen as he went around the country once more, this time to campaign for the highest position in the land, the presidency. That is definitely not the picture that his die-hard constituents from Davao see in their daily encounters with him. For a silent observer in the sidelines, one can even feel that the hesitance and the resistance to run in the beginning gave way to his run-away mouth and his devil-may-care attitude as he let all and sundry in to his real persona. It was like a “take me or don’t vote for me” deal. Your guess is as good as mine as to what happened next.

And so, after all the muck have been hurled, all the dirt have been thrown, and all the darkness the country has been plunged into during the 90-day campaign period, the dust has settled and the clear winner has emerged. The PPCRV figures which are being broadcast non-stop in major TV and radio networks and in social media may not be the final ones but they have cleared the path on which the Davao Eagle would finally land.

The mayor has now, as of this writing, become what is called a “presumptive president.”

The famous and brilliant Prof. Randy David has observed that Digong is one candidate whose style has not been seen of in presidential races of the past. One discussion on television centered on the phenomenon of the “Duterte phenomenon.” Some call it, “Duterte magic.” I may not have been born yet during the Magsaysay era but I think perhaps Digong embodies what the well-loved President Ramon Magsaysay had been to the Filipinos then, a president of the masses. But his popularity has cut across the A, B, C and D classes as what the pre-election surveys have shown. So he may as well be a president not just for the masses for all classes.

I do not know what will happen in the days to come but I have taken note of an irony this democratic exercise has brought to my mind.

Thirty years ago, the country experienced the first-ever bloodless people power revolution at EDSA. It catapulted into power a slain senator’s housewife, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. It was during the transition government that time that Digong, a former prosecutor, had been appointed mayor of Davao City in lieu of his mother, Soledad, who declined the appointment. He has never left public office after that and has not also lost a single time during the 10 elections that he was in as mayor, congressman and vice mayor of Davao City.

Today, he won his 11th election as the successor of President Simeon Benigno Aquino III, son of the late President Cory, the one who started his political career. And irony of ironies, he won the hearts of many Filipinos who have grown tired of the seemingly lackluster, lame and empathy-less leadership of the incumbent president, PNoy. Cory who came from a wealthy landed family, rose into office after her husband died. PNoy rose into the same office after Cory died. I would like to believe that Digong who does not claim to be rich, is now rising into that same office because confidence in the yellow presidency has died.

This is an emotional time for a lot of the people of Mindanao and even the Visayas and all those other places where supporters of Digong abound. This is mostly a touching time for those who went out of their way to make their own posters out of cardboards, print their own t-shirts not to sell but to give away, lined up and waited along the road for the “Byaheng DU30” bus to pass by to take a glimpse not of Digong himself but just his representatives: his daughter, Inday Sara, his ex-wife, Beth and other volunteers. This is a time of victory for many ordinary Filipinos who volunteered to campaign for and support the good mayor with whatever they can do and give in the real and virtual world. This is a time when everyone feels nationalistic because a nationalistic flag-kissing president has been elected into office.

So, what now?

Just like the ordinary Pinoy ways, when someone people have supported is already in power, they feel entitled to whatever benefits he can give them. I’m sure astronomical expectations run high. Some may even want change to happen like magic. I’m afraid that just like what happened to PNoy, people will be disenchanted and disillusioned when the magic will wear off and just like what a lot of those disappointed with PNoy have done, they will also hurl muck, throw dirt and plunge the country into darkness again when they feel Digong will not be able to deliver.

But, a leader will only be as good as the pack it leads. Much as we all would like to see positive change in our country, we all should be the change we want to happen. We should be willing to change our ways, embrace discipline in our personal lives and at work whether in the public or private sector, and promote honesty and integrity in our dealings with one another, among other gazillion things we can do as responsible Filipinos.

I believe there is great hope for us all. There is hope for our country to be great again. A lot of this depends on us because I believe that despite the toughness of a lot of Pinoys, there is still the need for everyone to be guided and directed and sometimes even to be told what to do. Perhaps we do not really need an iron hand, just a leader with a firm hand to guide and direct us.

I am optimistic that we can do it especially now that…the Davao Eagle has landed.

Congratulations, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte! May the true Force be with you!

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Tunay na pagbabago?

Monday, 28 March 2016 | Written by
Photo via Some rights reserved.

Bago ang lahat, mabuti sigurong sabihin ko munang taga-Davao region ako. At alam nyo na parang by default kung sino ang sinusuportahan kong tumatakbong presidente ng Pilipinas. “D” para sa Davao, “D” na default at “D” para kay Duterte at hindi “D” for Donald Trump ha?

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Oooopss…teka, teka. Wag ka munang lumipat ng page. Magbasa ka muna nang malaman mo kung ano ang gusto kong sabihin. Mamaya ka na mag-mura. Mamaya ka na rin humusga. Hindi ako nangangampanya; gusto ko lang mag-share ng napagmuni-muni ko. May isa pa kasing “D” akong sasabihin sa inyo. Okay ba, kabayan?

Sa kabila ng kawalan ng malaking makinarya sa pangangampanya, sa kabila ng mga maaanghang na salita nung una siyang nagpahiwatig na tatakbo bilang pangulo at sa kabila ng paggiging nag-iisang kandidato bilang pangulo na di nakaranas ng nationwide campaign, napansin kong tila unti-unting umuugong ang kanyang pangalan. Sa paglapit ng mga araw tungo sa araw ng election, tila ba dumarami na rin ang mga supporters ni Davao Mayor Rody Duterte.

Ang sikat na mga slogans nya ay “Tapang at Malasakit,” “Change is Coming” at “Tunay na Pagbabago.” Ayos ano? Yong una, parang sinasabing matapang nga pero may pusong mamon naman. Madumi nga ang bibig pero di naman nagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan dahil may malasakit sa mga taong nagpapakahirap magbayad ng buwis. Kaibigan nga ng mga Moro at rebelde pero kapayapaan naman ang long-term goal. Hmmm…pogi points lahat, sa tingin ko.

Eto ngayon ang gusto kong pagtuunan ng pansin. Change. Pagbabago. Padating ang pagbabago pag nahalal na pangulo si Duterte. Yan ang pinupuntirya ng mga think tanks ni Rody na nasa likod ng mga slogans na ito. Yan din ang unti-unting nagiging gusto ng mga sumusuporta sa kanya na hindi lang mga taga-Davao region.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Mabigat ang unang gusto nyang gawin: sugpuin ang krimen, droga at corruption sa loob ng 3-6 na buwan mula sa kanyang pag-upo kung sakaling siya ang mahalal na pangulo. Mukhang sa lahat ng sinabi nya, yon ang tumimo sa mga isip ng mga tao maging negosyante, estudyante, propesyonal o ordinaryong Pinoy. Di bale nang sinasabi nya nang paulit-ulit na magiging madugo ito. Di bale nang tila kamay na bakal ang gusto nyang pairalin.

Di mo ba naisip, kabayan, bakit kaya mukhang tumatalab ang ganitong pangako nya? Di naman siguro brainwashing ang ginagawa nya ano? Bakit tila gusto ng marami ang pagbabago? Sawa na ba sila sa daang madilaw, este, matuwid? Pagod na ba sila sa kakapila sa MRT? Ayaw na ba nilang makarinig ng putukan ng baril sa Mindanao? Inip na ba sila sa kahihintay ng tulong mula sa gobyerno tuwing nasasalanta sila ng bagyo o lindol? O marahil bingi na sila sa mga tila parang sirang plakang pangako ng mga trapo tuwing election?


Pagbabago ng pangulo. Pagbabago ng nakaupo sa Malacañan. Pagbabago ng kulay ng gobyerno. Pagsubok ng kakaibang istilo ng pamumuno. Ito marahil ang ibig mangyari ng mga taong gusto ng pagbabago.

Madaling sabihin pero sa tingin mo madali ring gawin?

Tatlong dekada na ang nakaraan mula nang nagkaroon ng pagbabago sa takbo ng buhay ng mga Pilipino. Hindi man naging madugo ang People Power Revolution noong taong 1986 pero nagdulot ito ng sandamakmak na pagbabago sa ating lipunan. Ito ay isang pagbabago na bumuwag ng higit ding dalawang dekadong Marcos regime na naglayon ding magkaroon naman ng “bagong lipunan,” ang lipunan na nauwi sa pinakamadilim na yugto ng kasaysayan ng ating bayan.

At ngayon, gusto ng marami ang pagbabago. Ang tanong, handa ka na ba na matamo ang tunay na pagbabago, kabayan? Ano ba ang pagbabago na ito?

Sa isa sa mga interviews na ibinigay ni Duterte, nasabi nyang disiplina ang susi sa pagpapatupad ng mga batas ng bansa. Disiplina ang susi sa pagbabagong dapat magawa. Parang gusto kong sumigaw ng “Yesssss!” dahil sa tingin ko tama nga ang matagal nang namayapang slogan na “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan.” Di bale nang Marcos slogan yon pero sa totoo lang, ito ang kailangan sa pagbabago.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Ang “D” na ito, ang disiplina, ay dapat nagsisimula sa pamilya. Sa bahay dapat unang matuto ang isang bata kung papano gumalang sa kapwa, magpahalaga sa oras, gumawa nang tama, sumunod sa batas at maging tapat. Ang mga magulang ang dapat na mabuting ehemplo ng mga anak at siyang nagpapatupad ng disiplina. Wika nga ng isa pang slogan nung araw, “ang ginagawa ng matanda, sa mata ng bata ay tama.”

Tingnan na lang natin ang isang classic example ng napakalaking problema ng lipunan: basura. Sa isang kabubukas na convenience store dito sa amin, napuna ko ang kakulangan sa disiplina sa pagtatapon ng basura sa tamang lugar mula sa mga bata hanggang sa matatanda. Nasa nguso na lang ang basurahan, itatapon pa sa sahig ang sachet ng ketchup o di kaya balot ng straw o kendi. Kahit na may sign na nakikiusap itapon sa basurahan ang basura bago umalis, iniiwang nakatiwangwang ito sa mesa. Tuloy iisipin mong ganito siguro sila sa mga bahay nila ano? Madalas di naman tipong may mga katulong sila sa bahay. Kung sa isang lugar na di madalas dalawin ng bagyo at baha nangyayari ito, lalo na siguro dun sa mga estero na kung saan kaliwa’t kanan kung magtapon ng basura ang mga tao. At sa bandang huli, sa gobyerno pa rin ang sisi.

Isa pang classic example ang pagbabayad ng buwis. Maraming ayaw magbayad ng tamang buwis dahil kukurakutin rin lang daw ng mga tao sa gobyerno. Kaya ang gagawin nila, pag dating ng panahon na mahuhuling kulang ang ibinayad, magkakaroon ng compromise. Kaso ang nangyayari nahuhulog pa rin sa kurakutan. Halimbawa, sa halip na P400,000.00 ang babayaran, P99,000.00 lang ang gagawing resibo. “For the boys” na ang iba. Tiwaling mamamayan meets tiwaling kawani ng gobyerno. Ang lugi, ang bayan ni Juan!

Meron namang nagagawa pa ring magpalusot ng mga taong walang disiplina sa pagmamaneho. Pag nagkasakuna, ayon, kulang pala sa tamang kaalaman sa pagmamaneho o mas masahol pa, walang lisensiya ang driver. Di na nga rin mabilang ang mga nabalian ng leeg at nawalan ng buhay sa aksidente sa mga motorsiklo dahil walang helmet na suot ang mga nakasakay dito o di kaya feeling “Evel Knievel, the daredevil on motorbike” ang driver nito.

Droga. Krimen. Corruption. Malalaking bagay na dapat tugunan ng malalaking hakbang tungo sa pagbabago. Pero ang nakararami sa mga mamamayan di naman durugista, kriminal o corrupt pero kulang naman sa disiplina para maipatupad ang pagbabago sa lipunan. Ang mga nabanggit kong classic examples ay ilan lamang sa mga aspeto ng buhay ng Pinoy na dapat magkaroon ng pagbabago.

Marami pang dapat gawin para maipatupad ang disiplinang ito. Marami pang dapat abutin ang bawat mamamayan upang magawa ang pagbabagong inaasam nito. Di ito kayang gawin ng iisang pangulo lamang kahit sino pa man ang iluklok sa Malacañan. Nag-iisa lang siya kumpara sa higit na 100 milyong Pilipino na kailangan ng tunay na disiplina upang makamit ang tunay na pagbabago. Hindi lang ang liderato ang dapat magbago kundi ang bulok na sistemang napairal sa higit na kalahating siglo ng paiba-ibang patakaran at palakad ng ating pamahalaan. Siguro nga, kailangan ng kamay na bakal para baguhin ito, kanino mang katawan nakadikit ang kamay na ito.

Inuulit ko ang tanong, kabayan, handa ka bang magbago sa ikakabuti ng bayan? Handa ka bang makiisa sa mga layunin ng bansa tungo sa kaunlaran? Handa ka bang magsakripisyo at pairalin ang “D” na disiplina sa sarili at sa pamilya mo? Handa ka ba, kabayan?

Kung handa ka na, huwag mong kalimutang bumoto ha?

screencap from PiliPinas Debates youtube. Some rights reserved.

The united colors of the presidentiables

Saturday, 27 February 2016 | Written by
screencap from PiliPinas Debates youtube. Some rights reserved.
screencap from PiliPinas Debates youtube. Some rights reserved.

screencap from PiliPinas Debates youtube. Some rights reserved.

In a world that wants black and white
comes a sea of colors
for those who
seek the presidency, alright.

Binay is blue
white is for Poe
Roxas is yellow
Miriam is red
Digong is, too.

I beg to disagree
because my mind can see
a different set of colors.
Without further ado
allow me to do the honors.

Binay’s skin color is brown
but that we cannot malign
lest we make critics frown.
From racism we draw a line.

Take note, Binay’s PR guys took pride
in calling him nognog
which means black
and threw another word to describe him
and that word is “pandak.”

Hailed as the one
who catapulted Makati to its heights
but with his color
the masses he represents
because he claims, like them
he comes from humble descents.

Alas, after decades of being in power
he thought he lived on a bed of flowers
but came a string of cases
thrown at him like broken vases.

The serene blue has become tainted
we wonder now if victory can still be painted
for the boy scout from Makati
whose will to win
rivals that of the Illuminati.

Screengrab via Some rights reserved.

Screengrab via Some rights reserved.

Then here comes Poe
whose grace, poise and finesse
seem to come from the days of “mano po.”
Adopted by a movie king,
her life’s drama is one for the “puting tabing.”

They say she’s a Marcos
They say she’s a foundling
They say she’s an American
They say everything
So from the top spot in the polls
topple her they can.

A newbie she may be
just became a senator recently.
No wonder her color is white
in so many things she has been right.

But the issues that hounded her
turned her white into gray
and left her supporters wondering
what else will fate throw her way.

Now, the 30 years of EDSA
from the start with President Corazon
to the end of term of PNoy, her son
bore a Roxas who vowed to continue
with all his might the “tuwid na yellow.”

Like a cook who does not know
the right ingredients for his adobo
Mar’s mouth keeps bungling
issues he keeps many hanging.

Like indigo he’s confused
whether to make “padyak”
or go to the “palengke”
or work with his hands
like “tunay na lalaki.”

Because he does not know his identity
he borrowed from his boss
what he thought would click with many.
Hasn’t he heard about this:
Joma Sison said “tuwid na daan”
is death’s kiss?

He could have gleaned
from his royal legacy
turned purple and referred
to his Lolo Manuel’s presidency
instead of going with the flow
and embraced all things yellow.

The clutches of death
Maid Miriam seems to evade
Even with Stage 4 lung cancer
She cannot and will never fade.

Because of this it seems
her red has turned into pink
and run as she did for president
said it’s her right as long as
she’s not on the brink.

Her long career in public office
from the prudent halls of justice
to the august halls of the senate
for herself speaks well
even if once in the past
from the presidential race she fell.

Miriam’s mark it seems
is her fiery stance on things
her pick-up lines notwithstanding
most young people find endearing.

Last but not the least
from Luzon we go to Mindanao
here comes someone
whose momma is mestiza Maranaw
Digong is the name,
Federalism is his game.

I give him the colors of the vinta
to match the colors of his personality
he’s known for language riddled with p*****ina
and hates drugs, corruption and criminality.

In the beginning he made clear
the Malacañang post he does not covet
but the clamor came from supporters dear
who told him to run,
their votes he will get.

With his pronouncements
he wants society’s bad elements
to cower in fear
as he deemed that economic investment
will only flow in
when there’s peace, adherence to law and order
even if he has to do some killin’.


Wouldn’t it be best
if the nation will have a colorfest
and have
Binay’s brown masa appeal
Poe’s immaculate white image
Mar’s historic royally purple legacy
Miriam’s crimson passion for upholding the law
Duterte’s compassion for multi-color and multi-tribal Pinoys
and end the ideal presidential quest?

All of them want to eradicate poverty
establish reforms and fight criminality
All claim they can probably be
what the country needs to do all three
and many more, as you can see.

In the end, I beg you
let us vote for the one
who in his/her heart stays true
to the colors of red, white and blue.

screencap from PiliPinas Debates youtube. Some rights reserved.

Dear Kandidato

Thursday, 25 February 2016 | Written by
screencap from PiliPinas Debates youtube. Some rights reserved.
screencap from PiliPinas Debates youtube. Some rights reserved.

screencap from PiliPinas Debates youtube. Some rights reserved.

Naku, dalawang buwan na lang pala at halalan na naman.

Kaya pala…nandyan ka na naman, tinutukso-tukso ang aking puso…sabi nga sa kanta ni Gary Valenciano. Kaya naman pala nagsimula na namang dumilim ang aming paligid dahil sa sangdamakmak na mga posters ng mga phinotoshop na mga nakangiting mukha ng kung sinu-sinong kandidato.

Kahit di pa campaign period, nandyan ka na sa TV at sa dyaryo at kahit na sa social media. Kanya-kanyang gimik, kanya-kanyang ungkat ng baho, kanya-kanyang bayaran ng survey, este, bayaran ng PR guys. Syempre, gusto mo, maganda o guapo ka na parang nagpa-glutathione injection. Gusto mo humahalimuyak kang parang sampaguita. Gusto mo, ikaw ang lumabas na pinakamabait sa mga kahanay mo sa pulitika. Gusto mo, ikaw ang pinakamadrama sa mga propaganda. Daig mo pa ang drama sa radyo na pinakikinggan ng mga nanay na naglalaba.

At ano naman ang ginagawa mo? Nangangako ka na naman? Aba eh, baka mapako lang yang mga pangakong yan. Kung pwedeng makabuntis ang mga pangako mo, doble o triple pa sa 100 million ang populasyon ng mga Pilipino ngayon.

Minsang nakasakay ako sa bus dito sa isang lalawigan sa Mindanao, naisipan kong magmasid sa mga dinaanan namin. May mga barong-barong sa gilid ng kalye. Dikit-dikit sila. May mga batang naglalaro sa paligid. Ang matatanda naman abala sa kani-kanilang gawain. May ilang nakatingin lang sa kawalan, naghihintay din sa wala.

Malayo na ang mga lugar na yon pero meron pang nakarating na mga posters ng mga kandidato. Naitanong ko sa sarili ko, may pakialam kaya sila sa mga kandidatong nasa mga posters? O, may pakialam kaya ang mga kandidato sa kanila na malamang bahagi lang ng statistics ng numero ng mga botante.

Naisip mo ba yon, Kandidato? Naisip mo ba kung ano kayang klaseng buhay meron ang mga taong itong nasa malayo na nililigawan mo para mapasaiyo ang kanilang matamis na boto? Naitanong mo ba sa sarili mo, may magagawa ba ako para umunlad ang kanilang buhay kung sakaling ikaw ay mahalal? Madaling sabihing oo, meron, pero sa tunay na buhay, makakarating ba sa kanila ang sinasabi mong kaginhawaan at kaunlaran?

Mapapaaral mo kaya ang kanilang mga anak? Makakarating kaya sila sa college? O magiging isang vicious cycle lang ang kanilang buhay na dahil mahirap ang mga magulang, ganun na rin sila?

Magkano ang kinikita ng isang nagtitinda ng balot sa gabi? O di kaya ng nagtitinda ng mani na mas natutuwa na may mahabang traffic dahil nabebenta ang tinda nila? Sapat na ba ang pagtinda ng banana cue sa tabi ng eskwelahan para mapakain ang anim na anak?

Nakakalungkot isipin na ang mga gadgets ng mga anak o apo mo ay mas mahal pa sa isang taong sweldo ng mga guro o di kaya kawani ng gobyerno. Baka ang isang sapatos nila ay higit pa sa halaga ng isang simpleng housing para sa mga empleyado. Ang isang bag ng asawa mo marahil ay mahal pa sa tuition para sa isang kurso. At isa lang yon sa dose-dosenang bag na meron siya.

Baka naman ang kwarto ng mga damit, sapatos at bag ng kapatid mo ay mas malaki pa sa isang barong-barong ng isang pamilyang may anim na anak. Sabagay, galing naman sa pinaghirapan nya yon ano? At kasalanan ba naman nyang nag-anak ng marami ang mga tao? Dapat kasi nag-contraceptive na lang sila, diba?

Sa mga nakita ko, naisip ko nga kung may Facebook o Twitter accounts kaya sila? O Instagram kaya na kung saan nakapost ang mga biyahe nila sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa o di kaya ng mundo bilang OFW? Nanonood ba sila ng TV o nagbabasa ng dyaryo? Nakakapakinig kaya sila ng mga talakayan tungkol sa mga issues ng LGBT o corruption? Alam ba kaya nila ang ginagawa ng China?

Kilala ka ba nya, Kandidato?

Baka naman magpapakita ka lang ngayong eleksyon pero pag dating ng mga panahon ng bagyo at mga kalamidad, di ka na mahagilap. Baka kailangan ka pang tawagan nang makailang beses bago ka kumilos. O di kaya kailangan pang may kamera na nakaharap para lumabas ka sa TV na nag-aabot ng relief goods sa mga naging biktima na kung saan ang ginamit na plastic bag ay may malaking mukha at pangalan mo. Syempre nga naman, para makilala ka, diba?

Hay naku! Nakakapagod nang mag-isip. Nakakapagod nang makinig sa mga pangako mo, Kandidato. Oo nga’t may demokrasya sa ating bansa at ang pagboto ay isang karapatan ng bawat Pilipino pero nakakainis isipin na sa mahabang panahon, puro pamumulitiko lang naman ang nagawa mo, sampu ng mga kabaro mo.

Sa banding huli, nakasalalay pa rin ang pag-unlad ng isang tao, hindi sa iyo, Kandidato, kundi sa sariling sipag at tiyaga at sa sariling pagsisikap nito.

Simple lang naman mangarap ang ordinaryong Pilipino. Gusto lang nya magkaroon ng marangal na trabaho upang mabuhay ang pamilya nya nang matiwasay. Gusto lang naman nyang makatungtong sa paaralan at makatapos sa pag-aaral ang mga anak nya. Mainam sigurong magkaroon ng kahit maliit na bahay na pag-aari nya para naman pag may bagyo ay di sila matatakot na mawalan ng tirahan. Gasino na ang magkaroon man lang ng konting pera para makapanood ng sine at kumain sa labas kahit minsan isang buwan o di kaya makapamasyal man lang kasama ang pamilya. Mas mainam din na maging tahimik ang pamumuhay at paligid nya.

Simple lang ang ordinaryong Pilipino, Kandidato. Ipagkakait mo pa ba ang simpleng kaligayahan nito? Pag nahalal ka, sana naman huwag mangyari na isusubo na lang nila, kukurakutin mo pa! Huwag naman sanang, dahil sa kahirapan nila eh, ipagbibili nila ang kanilang kaluluwa sa maliit na halagang ibabayad mo sa boto nila.

Hindi kailangan ng ordinaryong Pilipino ang pagka-astig mo. Di nya kailangan ang drama o pagpapaawa o di kaya ang talino mong walang kapantay. Lalo namang di nya kailangan ang pagpapanggap mo na katulad ka nilang ordinaryo at mahirap.

Ang kailangan ng ordinaryong Pilipino ay ang dalisay, bukal sa kalooban at tunay na serbisyo mo na walang bahid ng pulitika o pagsisinungaling.

Kaya mo ba itong ibigay, Kandidato?

Priceless ang boto ko,
Ordinaryong Pilipino


November 13 is World Kindness Day

Friday, 13 November 2015 | Written by

World Kindness Day was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement a coalition of nations kindness NGOs. It is observed in many countries, including CanadaJapanAustraliaNigeria and United Arab Emirates. In 2009, Singapore observed the day for the first time. Italy and India also observed the day.

World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race religion, politics, gender and zip codes. Approaches are being made to the United Nations by the peak global body, The World Kindness Movement to have World Kindness Day officially recognized and its members unanimously sign a Declaration of Support for World Kindness. World Kindness Day is celebrated by Waves of Kindness Global Initiative at – promoting Synchronized Global Waves of Unified Thoughts and Acts of Kindness for All Life.

According to Gulf News, “it is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Amb. Alfonso Yuchengco of the Yuchengco Group of Companies once admonished his employees to be kind to people on their way up because they will be the same kind of people they will meet on their way down. There is also a poster we often see on social media that says, “Be kind to people you meet because you do not know what they are going through.”

It’s election season not just in the Philippines but also in the United States of America. Myanmar just had its polls where Aung San Suu Kyi and her party are on their way to a historic victory. Let’s face it, this is a time when those running for office usually throw muck at each other or try to dig the dirtiest laundry of their rivals rather than be kind. The proverbial honey that attracts more flies than vinegar is being flushed down the drain these days. Just read comments in social media and you will grow crazy with the flying insults and raging meanness and hostility there. In the face of calamities, people are wary if the acts of kindness shown in headlines are the genuine kind. It looks like this is not a season of true kindness.

What is kindness? What is it like to be kind?

A beautiful and apt definition is one according to Aristotle which he wrote in the Book Two of the “Rhetoric.” It says, kindness is a virtue defined as “helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped.”

Even the bible exhorts us to “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

There was a movie made in the year 2000 called “Pay It Forward.” It was about an 11-year old boy who put into action a social studies project that will change the world for the better. The boy’s plan was a network of good deeds wherein a person will do good to three other people, the recipient of which will not return the favor but will do a favor or good to three other people and so on, and so forth, creating a chain of good deeds.

How nice it is if we all could do this same thing every day not just to three people but to even more people. It will create a ripple effect of kindness and a wave of goodwill throughout the land.

There is a proverb that says, “He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

How do we go about planting kindness?

There is no better place to start doing this than at home. As parents, we all have the power to sow good seeds of kindness in the hearts of our children. What they will see in us, they will also do to others. A kind word turns away anger when we remind them to do their homework, make their beds or do other chores. A kind but firm way of reprimanding them when they make mistakes will make them love us more rather than hate us. Who knows, they might even admit to their faults and apologize. A kind word when discussing or arguing with the spouse would prevent cups and saucers from flying all over the place. A kind tone when speaking to each other would be music to the ears and bring harmony into the home.

In our workplaces, kindness could go a long way. I think it wouldn’t cost much if we can share a sandwich with the messenger or janitor once in a while. A smile of gratitude to the guards for doing a good job will make them protect us even more. Perhaps a biscuit and drink shared with the boy who watches cars at the fastfood joint would be better than handing him loose change. A sincere “Kamusta ka na?” to our co-workers and waiting for even a brief reply would show us we care and are concerned about them. Avoiding gossip and useless talk is also being kind enough to respect the other person and keep the golden rule shining.

Another way we can be kind is by being a good friend. I’m sure we can all do this. It is one way of strengthening our ties with one another. Being there for someone who has lost a loved one or even a pet is kindness. Being there to listen to a friend’s problems without butting in to tell yours is kindness. Being there to simply hold the hand of one another is also kindness.

There have been videos of people all over the world extending random acts of kindness such as helping an elderly cross the street or sitting and sharing food with the homeless or helping a lady change a flat tire in the middle of a rainy night. But we need not go far to show kindness. As I have said, the home and the workplace which are easily accessible to us are the best places to start being kind to people and even to our beloved pets.

The website of The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation ( offers different ways of showing kindness not just on the World Kindness Day but every day of our lives.

Kindness on our own

After all those candidates get elected into office, we, the constituents will be left on our own to live our separate lives. Each of us will be accountable for our own actions and at the end of the day, we only have our own consciences to reckon with.

As Stephen Grellet, a prominent French-born American Quaker missionary, said,

“I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to my fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not deter or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

So I say, let the spirit of kindness actuate all our actions, at home and anywhere else, election season or not.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Is there really a Duterte magic?

Saturday, 17 October 2015 | Written by
Photo via Some rights reserved.
screencap from Some rights reserved.

screencap from Some rights reserved.

It’s final: a “NO” is a “NO.” The #DuterteSerye ended; for now, at least?

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte filed his certificate of candidacy for Mayor of Davao City and not for President of the Republic of the Philippines. His growing numbers of supporters who hoped and waited until the last hour of filing on Friday, October 16, 2015 were disappointed and many took to social media to express their sentiments about their hearts being broken by the news that he will not run at all.

Let me start with a disclaimer that I am not a paid hack of anyone. I am a simple homemaker who is not even from Davao City but someone from Davao del Norte. Out here, we take pride in being called we’re from Davao even if we are not from the city. After all, we belong to the Davao Region which is composed of Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental and Compostela Valley Province. I would just like to share a few thoughts about the Duterte mania that hogged the limelight these past few days.

Who is Rodrigo Duterte, by the way?

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo  Roa Duterte who is fondly called “Rody” or “Digong” was born on March 28, 1945 at Maasin, Southern Leyte to Vicente G. Duterte, who served as Provincial Governor of the undivided Davao from 1959 to 1965 and Soledad Roa Duterte. He went to Sta. Ana Elementary School in Davao City, where he graduated in 1956 and later finished high school at the Holy Cross of Digos, Davao del Sur. He took up a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, where he graduated in 1968. He then obtained a law degree from San Beda College in 1972, the same year he passed the bar exam.

Screengrab via . Some rights reserved,

Screengrab via . Some rights reserved,

His marriage to Elizabeth Zimmerman with whom he has three children – Sara Duterte-Carpio, Paolo and Sebastian – has been annulled. His present partner is Honeylet Avanceña, mother of his daughter, Veronica. His personal life is an open book in Davao City but no one really bothers to go into the nitty-ditty details of any of his relationships.

Duterte was a public prosecutor of Davao City before he was thrust into politics as Vice Mayor during the Interim Government of the late President Corazon Aquino. According to his official website ,

Duterte was first elected as mayor in 1988 and reelected in 1992 and 1995. Constraint by law to subsequently run and get elected for a fourth term, he ran for House of Representatives in 1998 and won as Congressman for the 1st District of Davao City. In 2001, he ran again for mayor and was again elected, cumulatively his fourth term. He was reelected in 2004 and 2007 for his fifth and sixth terms. Constraint again by law to run and get elected for another term, he gave way to his daughter Sara and instead opted to run for the vice-mayor practically unopposed. He reclaimed the mayoralty post in 2013, currently his seventh term.

The challenges that faced him when he first held office were many, foremost of which was the peace and order of Davao City in those turbulent years after martial law. There was a time when the Agdao District in the north was called “Nicaragdao” because of the clashes between government forces, the NPAs and the paramilitary group called “Alsa Masa.” Ma-a District in the south used to be a dumping ground of so-called “salvaged” people or those who were executed illegally.

When Duterte assumed office, he enacted policies and measures to restore and maintain peace and order which were necessary conditions for a good and favorable investment climate. After all, who would want to invest in a city beset by crimes? For over two decades, he worked side by side and hand in hand with other people in government, with the city council and with the different agencies and government units to bring about development, growth and prosperity to the largest city of the Philippines in terms of land area.

Under the administration of Mayor Duterte, Davao City has been at the forefront of introducing and adopting groundbreaking policies which include the Davao City Investment Incentive Code, the Children’s Welfare Code of 1995, the Women’s Development Code of 1996, Watershed Code, Anti-Smoking Ordinance, Liquor Ban, Videoke Limit, Aerial Spraying Ban, Firecracker Ban, and Speed Limit.

Over the years, as the city reaped the fruits of the labors of the leadership, peace and order tremendously improved, investments flowed in, infrastructure flourished, and people started coming to Davao City. There was a ripple effect of development which was also felt even in the nearby provinces.

Duterte’s name became synonymous with this kind of change brought about by a so-called iron fist and his no-nonsense stance in dealing with criminals in the city. Eventually, he became known as Davao’s “Dirty Harry” and also “The Punisher.” He has been linked to the “Davao Death Squad” which was reportedly responsible for cleaning up the city of scalawags and criminals which, of course, he repeatedly denied. It’s primarily because of this that he endeared himself to Davaoeños.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

Photo via Some rights reserved.

People found in Rody or Digong a modern-day hero. They felt he understood their sentiments, their plight and their need to feel safe in their own land. He charmed people wherever he went, whether in speaking engagements, campaign trails, visits to barangays, and other venues. They would listen to him speak even for hours.

Tough as he may appear to be, people know he lives in an ordinary house, and that he loves motorcycles. A friend gave him a taxi cab as a present so he can go around the city incognito. There was also a time when a heavy rain caused a traffic mess in one of the downtown intersections. Digong reportedly went in the middle of it and directed traffic under the rain. He is down-to-earth that way. He also cried upon seeing the devastation that Yolanda brought to Leyte as he was one of the first ones to go there. For all his flaws in his personal life, the people of Davao find him bigger than his flaws.

Davaoeños don’t even mind if there’s going to be a Duterte dynasty for as long as they are for good governance. His daughter, Sara, the mayor when he became vice mayor, may be a chip of the old block but she didn’t need to hide behind his pants as she herself has grown her own tough balls. Her recent shaving of her head drummed up tremendous support for her father and gained for her thousands of followers, more than the time she punched a sheriff when she was mayor.

Reading from posts and comments from social media, we can see how the hullabaloo of Duterte’s waltz with the presidential bid has raised a huge awareness among netizens to the point that aside from Davaoeños, people from other provinces and cities and even OFWs have also urged Digong to run for President. A lot of people who looked up to him as their hero were deeply saddened that he has closed his door on the presidency.

I don’t know if it is just mere bandwagon mentality that drove many people to throw their support for Digong. Perhaps, he has awakened in people a new hope for a better Philippines as if saying they are tired of the corruption, bureaucracy, and dirty traditional politics that seem to characterize the political climate of the country nowadays.

But as most Davaoeños know, what Davao City has become today was not only due to a strong leadership. It is also due to a cooperative, obedient, peace-loving, productive, disciplined and forward-thinking people. Yes, even the vendors, the tricyle and taxi drivers, and the ordinary man on the street show their support to the leader by doing their own share in the building of a developing city. Those who come to Davao City also toe the line voluntarily. As the saying goes, when in Davao City, do as Davaoeños do.

So, my fellow Filipinos, the question is, if you want a Duterte as President, would you be willing to do just that? Is it alright for you not to smoke in public and other designated places in the city? Are you willing to face the consequences of your criminal activities? Will you enjoy the Christmas season without firecrackers in your home? Will you take a shot at restraining your driving by sticking to a 30kph or 60kph speed limit? Are you willing to be ruled by an iron hand?

You see, the Duterte magic is alive only because of the consent and cooperation of the governed, so to speak. And in Davao City, it takes two to tango.

So, will you dance the Duterte magical dance then?


All I want in a leader, I learned in Kindergarten

Thursday, 15 October 2015 | Written by

electionIt’s election season again!

It’s not even Halloween or Thanksgiving or Christmas season yet but the atmosphere in this part of the world seems to combine all three with all the frenzy going around. This week, candidates for the highest position in the land down to the town councilors are filing their certificates of candidacy. Their supporters accompany them to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) like bodyguards of people depositing their money in the bank. They did just that, deposit their candidates in the bank which is called “Voters” hoping they would earn interest and gain a sound investment.

Every candidate who filed a certificate to earn a right to be voted upon, even those considered nuisance ones, thinks he or she is the leader the country needs. Oh, really? What does it take to be a leader then? What do voters really want in a leader?

Robert Fulghum wrote about basic things of life in his book, All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten (Uncommon thoughts on common things). Kindergarten is a time where one can find beauty in the innocent and trusting children. They may be scared of spiders but like caterpillars they have so much potential to become butterflies. Most people are like that. Most voters in our country are simple folks who are innocent, trusting, and perhaps scared but everyone is capable of being a caterpillar that can change our country into a promising butterfly through their votes.

Most of them are also young, intelligent, full of idealism, and are mostly social media savvy. There are almost 54 million registered voters as of the 2013 barangay elections. Among them are about 26 million in the 18-36 age brackets or 48% of the total number of voters. They are the ones who will inherit the future.

As idealistic as this may sound, here are some traits we may want in a leader. Let’s take it from Robert.

  1. Share everything

Remember how adults would often tell kids to share everything?

Leaders don’t necessarily need to share every material thing they have but they should at least be open and transparent with regard to their platforms, their programs, and the activities that people need to know. Leaders should be open enough to also share grief when it is needed and be one with the people. And whether they like it or not, their lives would be open books so they might as well not have hidden agenda so they can gain the people’s trust.

  1. Play fair.

Kids are often taught to be fair in the playground. There will always be winners and losers and as the cliché goes, it is how one plays the game that matters.

It is expected that candidates would be hurling insults at one another during the campaign. And come election time, there will be losers who will cry they’ve been cheated. But a true leader would be able to know if he has truly won or not or if he has truly played fair and square.

We remember the former Sen. Manny Villar who ran for President and lost. He was the first to concede defeat in the 2010 Presidential Elections and then returned to private life with nary a whimper. That was it. Destiny was perhaps not on his side even if he was Speaker of the House, and later a Senate President. Perhaps he would have been a good leader for our country had he won. Of course, we will never know that anymore.

  1. Don’t hit people. Say “sorry” when you hurt somebody.

If you don’t want to say “I am sorry” then don’t call Garci! Seriously, don’t hit people, I mean, whether physically or verbally. The bruises on the face may fade away but a bruised pride will not heal for a long time.

Leaders should be mature enough to tackle issues and not resort to name-calling or attributing failures to predecessors over and over. The recent debates of the Republican and Democrat candidates seeking nomination for President of the United States showed who were those who stuck to issues and those who seemed to hit playmates in the playground.

Good leaders may not please everyone but they will surely add a feather to their caps by being humble to admit their shortcomings especially when they couldn’t be there for everyone or if they couldn’t do their jobs well instead of put the blame on other people.

  1. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess.

Pack away! That’s what Kindergarten teachers would often tell their students after a game or a class activity.

Leaders must be responsible to clean up their own backyard, their respective offices, agencies and units of people and systems. It means changing the things which need changing and letting those that already work keep the status quo. Cleaning up also means owning up to a mistake if there’s one and doing everything in his power to right a wrong.

  1. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

The Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) will be holding the 16th National Scout Jamboree (16thNSJ) with the theme Peace and Development Through Scouting from October 24 to 30, 2015 at the Energy Park, Apokon, Tagum City, Davao del Norte. We are reminded of the first item in the Scout’s law: A scout is trustworthy. The definition of trustworthy is “someone who is honest, who can be entrusted with your secrets or with anything else of importance.”

One of the basic things children are taught is not to take things which are not theirs: not their classmates’ lunch, not their pencils and paper, not their projects. The problem with a lot of our supposed leaders nowadays is they have forgotten their scout’s law! A clamor from people is to have leaders who will not steal from the country’s coffers to benefit themselves and their families.

We don’t need broken boy scouts. We need whole leaders.

  1. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Brush your teeth. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Take a nap every afternoon.

A habit is defined as “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” When we were kids, we were taught to develop good health habits, as well as good manners and right conduct. Those who belong to my generation will probably remember the GMRC subject we were taught back then.

Sometimes, we need leaders who have iron fists, ones who are firm yet just and honorable. We may want them to be tough but we also need them to have certain finesse worthy of their stature. Good leaders must also be healthy physically because how can they function well if they’re not? Eat, exercise and sleep well and take breaks when necessary so they can perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

  1. Live a balanced life: learn some, think some, draw and paint some, sing, dance, play, work every day some.

We know that a myriad of activities take up the time of an official or a head of a department or unit or corporation or even a church. But all work and no play, as the cliché goes again, make Juan a boring boy! Balance is the key. It also builds character.

“Character in leadership is the most important balance for leadership. Without character, leaders have no safety. Leadership has no protection without character.” This is according to the late Dr. Myles Munroe, an international evangelist.

We need leaders who have good balanced character. We need leaders who will leave a legacy not in terms of buildings but more so legacies of people, people who will also one day become leaders themselves.

  1. Be aware of wonder.

Children’s minds are tabula rasa. Blank slates. They have this endless awe of things around them.

We would like leaders who would have the good of children in mind, leaders who think and believe in educating the young and enabling them to think critically without letting them lose their sense of wonder. We would want leaders whose hearts would go to the unfortunate children and hug them with protection and reform and give them a hope so that they themselves will become truly the hope of the nation, just as our hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, said the youth are.

We would like leaders who dream of streets free of street children because they are safe in their homes; leaders who could provide the parents of these children jobs to keep their families together, safe, sound, happy and healthy. We want leaders who do not only have clear eyesight but who also have a clear vision for our country.

  1. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

This is not about traffic in Metro Manila. Let us remember that what may be true in Manila is not true to the whole country; we don’t have traffic jams in the countryside. But then, like children crossing the street, may we have leaders who will hold our hands and make every Juan and Juana dela Cruz from every corner of the country feel important and not left out as if only those from imperial Manila are important. We want leaders who are inclusive, those who will stick with everyone else no matter what, those who will defend our Constitution and bring us to further development and progress.

We want leaders who will be one with the people, today and in the years to come.

Openness and transparency, responsibility, trustworthiness, healthy balance, and compassion, among others, are very basic traits people look for in a leader. Like little children who look up to their parents and other adult role models, we would just like to have someone to look up to, to admire, to trust and to obey.

It is actually as simple as that.

Photo via / Some rights reserved.

Thoughts on a somber August day

Saturday, 1 August 2015 | Written by
Photo via / Some rights reserved.
Photo via / Some rights reserved.

Photo via / Some rights reserved.

As news of the endorsement by President Benigno S. Aquino of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to run for President in 2016 reverberated through all forms of media, I couldn’t help but remember what happened six years ago when at that time, Sec. Mar was already contemplating to run for President in 2010. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be for him back then because of the fate that has befallen the country. The former President Corazon C. Aquino passed away on August 1, 2009. Her death catapulted her son who did not plan to run for President at all, into the Presidency almost a year later. Mar had to make the sacrifice and agreed to run for Vice President but lost and the rest is history.

And so, I wondered, surely there’s no one at present who’s on the brink of dying for Mar to give way again, is there? But I will not dwell on that thought for now. Instead, let me share these thoughts on those somber days in August 2009, a time which somehow changed the course of Philippine history. The following were my thoughts as I watched television on the day President Cory was buried.

“Today we bury an icon of democracy, a symbol of freedom. Today we will not be there physically but we will be there in spirit. The cold, hard ground may envelope her frail body but she will be embraced forever in the heart of every democracy- and freedom-loving and God-fearing Filipino. A dictator once desired greatness and died in ignominy. A housewife lived in obscurity and was given greatness. Maraming salamat at paalam, Tita Cory!

So much has been said and so much has been written about Cory. The necrological service given to her on the eve of her funeral gave the Filipinos more than a glimpse of her person. It opened their eyes to the kind of friend, sister, sister-in-law, boss, customer and mother she was and not just the President who led the country with honesty, integrity and good governance.

People have praised her and extolled her virtues especially these past weeks when she was nearing her end. Her critics were silenced for a while: too tamed and too stunned to say anything mean in the face of a suffering icon. Anyone who had an evil thing to say would have second thoughts about expressing them in the wake of an outpouring of prayers, concern and affection as Cory fought for dear life in the hospital.

But all good things (and even the bad) never last. Alas! Cory was called home by her Maker as the light of a new day broke on the first day of August and the Philippines felt a great sense of loss. Men and women, young and old, from all walks of life, unabashedly cried upon hearing the news and upon watching television coverage and stories of her life. The yellow fever was on and hotter than swine flu as crowds cheered Cory on her way from La Salle Greenhills to the Manila Cathedral that Monday morning, something that her family and the country have not expected to happen again. Yellow is again the color of the day. Yellow is again the color of love. Yellow is again the color of nationalism, of national pride. Yellow has become the color of sacrifice and the color of hope.

When the last flower had been cast, when the last handful of confetti had been hurled, when the last ribbon had been tied, when the last candle had been lit and the last flame blown away, when the last tear had been shed and wiped today, a question is aching to be asked. As Cory is laid to her final resting place, what becomes of us now, Filipinos?

We would like to believe that Ninoy did not die in vain when he said that the Filipino is worth dying for. We would like to believe even more that Cory’s spirit, her life and all that she stood for, have not been lived in vain either. So much had been said about her character and about what she means to the Filipino people that I will not elaborate on them anymore.

Cory gave us hope and inspiration by her exemplary life. What can we do about it now? What can we do for her? What can we do for country and for the God she faithfully served?

We cannot all be Presidents or CEO’s, School Administrators or powerful landlords and businessmen. Most of us lead ordinary lives with ordinary dreams and aspirations. Most of us will never go down in history like Cory did.

But perhaps we can always mean something in our ordinariness. Because of Cory’s inspiration, we can be better spouses, better parents, and better children. We certainly can be better doctors and nurses, better engineers and sales persons, better managers and tellers, better vendors and street sweepers and better lawyers than liars. We can do our own share by being better followers of traffic rules, better stewards of those which are entrusted to us, better teachers to better students and better persons in whatever state of life we are in.

Like Cory, we can shun evil like a plague and cease from all forms of cheating, stealing and killing and live a blameless life, imperfect it may be. Like Cory, we can nurture and hold on to our faith and do everything we can within our capacity but leave everything to God as if it is the only thing we can do. Like Cory, we can go down on our knees and pray for the only Motherland we will ever have.

When we will each do a good thing, that will create a ripple effect in a sea of imperfection and evil intentions. Like a small lighted candle, every single act of kindness, every “thank you” and “I am sorry” uttered in sincerity, every hand extended in unconditional charity, would brighten a country steeped in the darkness of corruption and greed. Like Cory, if we forget ourselves and bury our pride and selfishness, we would be reborn with honor and glory, worthy to be called a Filipino.

I am a housewife. I am now what Cory was before she was catapulted into power. Because of Cory’s example and inspiration, I now look at my present role from a different perspective. I now shed off feelings of self-pity, uselessness and inadequacy and give way to a new skin of worth and value regardless of how puny I think my tasks seem to be. Whatever state or position I am in, whether I am a housewife who washes dishes and irons clothes for my family, or a hobbyist who marvels at taking good shots or makes greeting cards to give to relatives and friends, or a sister or friend who is willing to drive a family to the hospital or place of work, or a passionate journal writer and network friend or just a simple and ordinary person, I can be a channel of blessing and encouragement to others. In the end, it is only then that I can say that my life has not been lived in vain.

It is only then that Cory’s legacy will live on in the hearts of someone as ordinary as me.”

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