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Aug 09th
Home Columns JGL Eye Filipinos Can Dream Again
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Columns - JGL Eye
Friday, 02 July 2010 06:44




(Journal Group Link International)


Filipinos Can Dream Again


C HICAGO (JGLi) – Benigno Simeon Aquino, III had at least two options in which to deliver his obra maestra (master piece) inaugural speech shortly after he was sworn into office as the 15th President of the Philippines last Wednesday (June 30) – English or Filipino.


And if I may add another one – a sign language interpreter for the benefit of those hard of hearing watching him live and on TV, notably senior citizens who voted into office his rival Vice President Jejomar Binay.


But of course, he cannot have it all.


Believing he is only accountable to the Filipino people who voted him into office, it was easy for Mr. Aquino to talk to the Filipino people in a language they understand. He used the Filipino language because he did not want to be misinterpreted.


But Mr. Aquino sprinkled his 2,059-word speech with snatches of English to serve notice to the international community that he is also at home with one of the United Nations’ two working languages. The other being French.


His use of the Filipino language only meant that it is equal to any language as when a Chinese premiere would speak Chinese in an international forum although he knew how to speak English.


After all, Mr. Aquino referred to the majority of the Filipinos as “my boss” (“kayo ang boss ko”) not the minority or special interest groups such as his Kamaganak, Inc. (his sisters and other relatives), his Liberal Party, kaklase (classmates) and close friends, the U.S. Pinoys for Noynoy-Mar (that includes me), Johnny-come-latelies, kibitzers, etc.




I remember before then Vice President Joseph Estrada delivered his Independence Week speech in Chicago in 1996, I asked “Erap” (Mr. Estrada’s nickname) what language was he going to use to deliver his speech. He told me, “English siempre dahil meron tayo diyang mga hindi nakakaintinde ng Filipino.” (I am going to deliver it in English because we have listeners, who cannot understand the Filipino language).


Of course, Erap was correct in his use of the Filipino language during that time and place. After all, when in Rome, do what the Romans do.


I am not very sure but I think Estrada was the only other Philippine President, who delivered his inaugural speech in Filipino.


And besides, Mr. Estrada was true to his word when he warned in his speech that he would not be wheeling and dealing with his friends and relatives during his administration when he said, “walang kumpare, walang kamag-anak at walang kaibigan” (no family friends, no relatives and no friends) because he did not even bother to invite me in his inaugural although he invited me and I helped him in his presidential campaign.


So the populist message of Erap was a déjà vu to me when Noynoy declared: “Walang lamangan, walang padrino, at walang pagnanakaw. Walang wang-wang, walang counterflow, walang tong. Panahon na upang tayo ay muling magkawang-gawa.” (Nobody exploits their relations with me to steal from the government even if they are my friends. Nobody uses sirens, nobody goes against the traffic, no grease money (tips). Let’s be all volunteers again.)


These are big words and big challenges. I hope they are not ningas cogon (short-lived brush fires) that are easily forgotten by fickle-minded people.


In the case of the non-use of sirens, the Aquino government can make money out of this habit by asking violators to pay when they are caught. Walang padrino (No name dropping). Just pay up. This will be a challenge to the police, traffic enforcers and the military, who are enforcers of these violations and violators themselves, including the firemen, mobile patrol cars and ambulances, who would put up their blinkers and sirens even if there are no emergencies.




A nd of course, heftier fines should be assessed civilian drivers, who would follow the blaring mobile patrol cars, fire trucks and ambulances, instead of stopping by the roadside to pave the way for the emergency vehicles. Drivers should be taught defensive driving. Chicago is making a lot of money from traffic violators, good money that is able to close the city's budget gap.


In the case of “tong,” (tips) this is even going to be more intimidating to the government because government employes are being paid meager income. If government employes will get a paycheck that will be enough to support a family of four (the ideal number of family members, two children per family), I think “tong” system will be lessened. But it will not just go away as bad habits die hard.


Many government employes work on the side, selling something to their fellow employes, or cutting hours in connivance with their supervisors to work part time in another job.


And volunteerism will only be good for retirees, who have enough money to take care of themselves in their retirement, or rich people, who do not have to work double jobs just keep both ends meet.


But the government should strengthen its feedback mechanism by acting on public complaints in a timely fashion and by giving volunteers credit, where credit is due, or rewarding honest-to-goodness whistle-blowers.


While I give Mr. Aquino a fighting chance to achieve and reconcile with law violators after obtaining justice because mechanisms have been in place, implementation of other Mr. Aquino’s wish list will have to wait.


“No more junkets, no more senseless spending. No more turning back on pledges made during the campaign, whether today or in the coming challenges that will confront us over the next six years. No more influence peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more shortcuts, no more bribes.”


But Filipinos can always dream again.


Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (


Last Updated on Friday, 02 July 2010 15:03

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You have to accentuate the positive,eliminate the negative,and latch on to the affirmative.Don't mess with "Mr. In-between".~Louis Armstrong