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Home Columns A Voice From America Quo Vadis, Philippines?
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Columns - A Voice From America
Written by Ernie Delfin   
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 11:25

The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men – Plato

 

* A Million-Peso Dinner in New York

 

 

In this FaceBook generation and instant Twitter communication, we in America can read and see what’s happening in other countries, like the Philippines, every hour on the hour. Cell phones have become indispensable like they are part of our clothing.  

 

Indeed, communication is instantaneous that could be a blessing or a curse. Quite recently, we have seen it again with the death of former President Cory Aquino and her burial.  I was also amazed of the unexpected outpouring show of affection, respect and love for her from the common people, reminiscent of the funeral procession for Ninoy. I was just wondering if those incredible queues of people soaking in rain for hours ever made the present occupant of Malacanang Palace think, be nervous or envious. A normal human being who is cognizant of his/her mortality can be affected by such a sight unless she is already  affected with  that serious ‘manhid’ (callousness) disease, as evidenced by the so-many wrong moves on her part since she occupied the Black House along the polluted Pasig River.

 

This brings me back to this shameful news that have been circulating  around the globe via the Internet, Twitter and FaceBook that the President of a very-poor country pretended to be rich and she had GMA (Ginintuang Masamang Ani) as her initials. She and the members of her chosen entourage had a million-peso dinner party (about $20,000) in a very expensive classy New York restaurant WHILE the poor people in her own country, the Philippines, are going hungry every night? Yes, they had the expensive dinner WHILE the people are mourning the demise of their beloved former President. The official explanation emanating from the Office of the President was that NO CENTAVO from the public coffers was spent, as the dinner bill was purportedly paid by another ‘callous’ Filipino politician (or his brother?). The President or her Press Secretary should have admitted a big mistake and apologized and promised that they could still amend their shameful ways!

 

As a Filipino American, I am so ashamed that this was done by no less than the President of a poor country, giving very poor examples to be followed by her compatriots. And yes, the American press did not really bother to write about GMA’s meeting President Obama (there is more press coverage of Obama’s beer meeting with a white police officer (Crowley)  who arrested a black professor (Gates) the same afternoon) but the New York Post carried her late-evening dinner complete with the itemized  expensive menu and  bottles of wine! We, the Filipino people, were just made the "butt of jokes" again! That news was really crass, devoid of human sensibility and Christian compassion!  Absolutely without honor and totally unpresidential! The entire group acted stupidly and  all those who participated should just bury themselves in the Pinatubo lahar, so that they will be unable to procreate their own kind again!

 

* * * * *

 

* Comparing  the Israelites’ 40-year Journey to the Promised Land and the Filipinos’ Suffering and Quest for their Version of the Promised Land

 

I read that there are more-and-more politicians wanting to lead the Philippines by becoming a candidate to be the next President of the Philippines. Some even have the temerity that God talked to them that they should deliver the Filipinos from slavery to the Promised Land. In my catechism classes in grade school, we were taught about the ‘examination of conscience’ and  to convict ourselves of our sins and confessing them to an ordained priest, who then give us absolution after a sincere act of contrition. Despite of “self-righteous” men and women leading us, how come  the Filipino people are still suffering ? Tell me, Lord, why?

 

In my Bible Studies, I  can’t help but make some comparison between the sufferings and confusion of the Israelites in the desert after their exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land and the present sufferings  of the Filipino people. It took the Israelites 40 years (about two  generations)  to suffer, to be transformed in the desert because they did not “behave” as God wanted them to do. While Moses was in the mountain to meet his God and bring back the Ten Commandments, the people have fallen back into idolatry and lived a hedonistic life devoid of spirituality. God was not pleased, and Moses got angry when people became unrighteous in the eyes of God. Hence, the people were punished and it took them a long time to reach the Promised Land. Is this what is happening to the Filipino people? To suffer for 40 more years? Maawaing Diyos,  patawarin mo kami!  Maawa ka sa amin!  (Merciful God, forgive us. Have pity on us!)

 

I am not a very-religious person, neither am I a biblical scholar. However, I believe in the Law of the Farm: that whatever we sow, we harvest. If we plant tomato, you get tomato. You plant a coconut, you get coconuts. Children are taught more by our examples than what they are told. Lately, like millions of people who watched the news, I heard Kris Aquino’s eulogy to her mother. I also read  Ninoy’s letters to his eldest daughter Ballsy and also to his only son, Noynoy, and as a father, I had goose bumps. Yes, as a father myself, I shed a tear or two. Why? I possibly would do what Ninoy did – if I am given that rare moment of truth as he once faced. I cannot in conscience live in bondage and under tyranny myself. I have met Ninoy but once in Los Angeles as I was then one of the youngest members of the Anti-Martial Law Movement in LA then,  and I was always impressed by his ideology and deportment.

 

Nationalists like Ninoy Aquino, Evelio Javier, Raul Manglapus, Raul Roco, Max Soliven and Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, who have touched my life, are all gone. (Only Jovy Salonga of that generation whom I met and worked with as a volunteer of the PCGG in LA then is alive; may you live another 50 years, Jovy!)

 

I have not met any of the children of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. Neither the children of Mike and Gloria Arroyo. Neither have I met any of the children of Ferdie and Imelda Marcos.

 

But I also read and analyzed the news, especially after Cory’s death. And as a parent, I like the children of one couple (guess?) a hundred times more than the children of the other couples. Observe how children act or behave, and you can trace somehow the values that they have internalized from their own parents.

 

As my own father told me (and I am also telling it to my own daughter and son) “Ang bunga ng kahoy ay mahuholog na di malayo sa puno” (The fruits of the tree will not fall far from the trunk). Yes, children, you can etch that saying in stone! It was true then and it is true now, and forever. # # #

 

* E-mail the writer at: ernie.delfin@gmail.com  or  drbannatiran@yahoo.com

 

  

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 August 2009 12:02
 

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