Friday, September 23, 2011

Taas Noo

“This is what democracy is all about: having a government disciplined enough to imbibe in itself the principles of transparency, accountability and citizen involvement—the necessary preconditions to poverty alleviation and inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” 

President Benigno Aquino III
Open Government Partnership Summit, 
New York

I was all smiles one morning while reading the news article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was a breath of fresh air after having to bear the putrified smell of blood reeking from the crime scenes at the SM Malls just a few days ago. Of course I was not there to see the gruesome moments while men fell to the ground after being gunned down by their lovers. (who plans to self destruct as well) But the collective shock, no matter how I tried to shield myself, was able to hit me with a potent punch.

President Pnoy was invited by Obama to attend the opening of the global initiative summit at the Big Apple. I remember asking @abi_valte on Twitter how much will the taxpayers have to shell for the plane ticket and the hotel accommodation of the president and his men. It turns out, the price was irrelevant. Rather, we should all be proud that the country was invited to grace the prestigious event attended by some of the important leaders of the free world.

The Open Government Partnership aims to promote greater transparency and accountability in governments. It hopes to fight corruption with free-flowing information and instill a sense of nationhood by engaging  people on social media and other public forums in a healthy discourse of state policies.

The chance to speak came at an opportune time because the country is also remembering the declaration of Martial Law 39 years ago. While no one among us had lived through such time, echoes from our surviving elders tell how they fought for freedom on our behalf.

And while the past leadership corrupted every aspect of our lives, it was, I believe a far cry from the ancient horrors of an authoritarian regime. History was there to make sure the past never happens and we asserted it the moment we cast our votes and chose the leader who would look after our aspirations.

Change has indeed come. From the symbolic turnover of classified documents from the AFP to the Commission of Human Rights, to the alliance of the government and the business leaders against corrupt business practices, to the very words of the taxi driver that I hailed a few nights ago; when he concurred my impression that the police have become a little less abusive these days. There seems to be a quiet hum in the air, and its familiar sound has become too hypnotic for our ears to ignore.

To be sure, these superficial embellishments do not translate to swift economic prosperity, and it would not serve as an antidote to our social ills. (As of these writing the Polytechnic University of the Philippines students and faculty are planning to march from its Santa Mesa Campus to Mendiola to bring into light the dwindling budget for the state university) Instead, the sea change serves as a reminder; a promise that as long as the government fulfills its social contract with the people, the nation will somehow be appeased.

John Kennedy once said in a stirring speech "ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country." The speech tells us that to achieve progress, the citizenry should do its duties and not rely everything on the government. I do not know how many of us are aware of this wisdom, but I have faith that as long as PNoy enjoys the trust rating recently reported in the news, he can call on the nation to do its part in nation building.

I was there when the people banded together to help Ondoy's victims get back to their feet. The Bayanihan was infectious, I know, such selflessness runs in our blood.

Anyway, whenever I get to read news like this, I cannot help but return to that blog post last year, when, in a moment of epiphany I defied everyone's expectations by casting my future with the current president. I remember all the comments as well the occasional cricket sounds whenever I write entries such as this.

"As for Noynoy, I see him accomplishing little during his term, but he will be loved like his parents are. Accomplishing little will never be an issue, not even a footnote in the grand scheme of things.

What he will bestow to a grateful country is a sense of belonging: an undeniable feeling of pride among its citizens."

June 29, 2010
Midnight Afterburner

Five more years before history judges our decision.

So far, I am overjoyed that the present, has not betrayed me yet.



Anonymous said...

Some examples you plotted sound surreal to me for I was forced to thinking that the roots of corruption have already reached the bedrock of our social horrors. The least that I could do is take part in nation-building than apportion blame to the non-productivity of most officials.

Blabbering about my choice over a year ago would just raise eyebrows, so I'd just look at this PNoy gesture as baby steps. In the hope that we will all see the greater sunlight at the end of the tunnel.


Xian Garvida said...

We have this attitude to always complain whenever things turned out as not what we expected to happen. Many of us undermined the abilities and capabilities of our current president, including myself but somehow he has proved himself little by little. His journey of "Ang Tuwid na Daan" may not be just a dream anymore but a reality with all his small accomplishments to knock down corruption and uplift the living conditions of the poorest of the poor.
Let us stop complaining and do our share in making this once great nation greater than ever.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between him and the Marcoses? or the Arroyos? He will be again out of the country after going to China and the US. Will these translate to an economic prosperity? Or will the poor become poorer and the rich richer? Moeover, is he his mother's son? I will have to suspend my judgment until I see him become a leader who will unite us towards a better Philippines...

Clarence said...

The picture looks like two bestfriends walking and having a grand time.. but not for politicians, specially not for heads of state, this one is a power play. To me this reads like what those street protesters always chant “tuta ng america”.. have you ever seen yourself from afar when you try to help out your grandparent walk, or an elderly, or worst a sick person? You walk beside them and you gently put your hand on their back for support. This is how I read this picture. And yeah sentimental feelings of brotherhood, camaraderie etc etc is not part of presidential pictures.. it’s all about displaying power and influence.. and Noynoy or whoever our next president would be should know that.

Mugen said...


Of course we know that, but at least, our president didn't go all the way this time to the US just to have a photo-op with Obama. That's a huge difference from the one who went to the US two years ago just to shake the hand of the then newly elected president only to return home to find that our icon of democracy has already passed away. :)

Anon 2:

Let's hope he doesn't veer from his vision. So far, I'm satisfied.

Mugen said...


Some people could only bear little burden, some could bear a little more. But if we don't make our own sacrifice, we won't get anywhere. Yun na lang sinasabi ko palagi. :)


Sana nga we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maswerte ka, you're still quite young, mas mapapakinabangan mo ang accomplishments natin today.

ZaiZai said...

I thought this entries title was a pun referring to the President receding hairline - un kasi una napansin ko sa pic :)

Mugen said...


Ambad mo. :P Gandang gabi!!

Sean said...

i think his heart is in the right place. some people expect huge changes overnight, when we all need to do what we can rather than pinning all our expectations on one person.