Thursday, May 25, 2006

No trust despite promises of Enchanted Kingdom

HOME IS A SUPPOSED SANCTUARY—a place of peace and a place where one can rest from the personal wars one faces. Home in a more concrete sense for me is my house and my family. It’s not a war zone, it is quiet, but I think I’ll be lying if I said that the quietness didn’t come at a price. But this intricate personal issue is to be tackled in typed words on another day.

Today, allow me this moment of angst as I discuss our country—our common home, which is in no way a peaceful place, thanks to our supposed leader.

Yesterday, (Tuesday, May 23) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (I think we can agree that the label “President” would be inappropriate) made a speech at the 27th National Conference of Employers held at the Manila Hotel. As customary to all presidential speeches (made by real presidents or otherwise), the talk of promise was big. Arroyo spoke of taking the Philippines to the Enchanted Kingdom of being a First World country.

This statement is an easy set-up. I’ll allow the wittiest among you take this one. Have fun while you’re at it. I’ll take a hack at the other statements, if you don’t mind.

“Your response is logical,” she said to the employers. “Survive, compete with the rest of the world and succeed.”

I got nothing for this statement. I agree with it. Those of you who know me already know about my sentiments about our Pinoy “escapists” looking for greener pastures in the world where brunettes and blondes rule. I give praise to the employers at the conference who have stuck it out here. I just included this statement because it brings to light some facts about (a) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and (b) being a president.

Arroyo doesn’t lack in intellect. She could be a good president given a pure heart (which she doesn’t have) and a situation wherein she’s trusted (which is not the Philippines we’re living in).

That’s the simple truth.

Aside from Joseph Estrada, we’ve always elected presidents that had the brains to run this nation of ours. Their failures and downfall are due to their betrayal of our trust in them.

Ferdinand Marcos was supremely intelligent but we could no longer trust him. Estrada was dumb but the masa trusted him; he in turn betrayed that trust (whether the masa realized it or not).

It the same thing now with Arroyo.

Her administration holds on to power in the most obscene of ways (how many oppositionists and journalists have died in her term?). Then she goes to conferences like the one yesterday to make bold statements that she thinks affirms her administration. It’s a formula we’ve seen too many times before.

She went on to say yesterday that she agrees with the Labor Day rallies. She pleaded for higher wages for workers. Again, a solid presidential statement. But again, look behind what was said. Would any politician not appear to be fighting for the common worker in public? Furthermore, last time I checked, some of those Labor Day rallies were for her to step down. Why doesn’t she listen to those rallies, as well?

She even had the nerve to say yesterday that no time in Philippine history had there been lesser number of worker strikes. And “Our goal is to have a zero reason to have strikes by the end of my term in 2010.”

Arroyo should be wary of that last statement. Flat out: what makes her think that she’ll last until 2010? Lord knows she doesn’t deserve to. Furthermore, lessening the number of strikes doesn’t mean a satisfied citizenship. It’s most likely to mean a loss of belief in what having legal strikes can do. It could mean the loss of basic civil liberties. It could mean the death of democracy.

Intellectual statements and promises can serve as proof that Arroyo could steer this ship of ours. But not now. A prerequisite to the responsibility of leading is trust. She lost our trust. And there’s no way that she can get it back. Nor does she deserve a second chance.

Others argue that there’s no one else that we can trust. Now does that give us reason to just stick it out with Arroyo? No. Whether we can trust the future president remains to be seen and is a separate issue. We’ll cross that bridge once we get there.

One can agree with what Arroyo says sometimes (as I did with the “your response is logical” statement), but it’s all for not if Arroyo has lost her credibility. The only way she can redeem herself now as a “good leader” is do what a “good leader” would do in her current situation and step down. She has lost her mandate. And from what I’ve heard about certain wiretapping incidents, she never had a mandate to begin with.

5:15pm Wed 24 May 06


Blogger hastydevil said...

Is it okay to add a link of your site in my blog? You write with insight and clarity.

2:24 AM  

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