A Stormy Heart

Something is happening in my life which, depending on the outcome, I know will potentially and irrevocably change my life forever. Whether it’s in a good way or in a bad way, only time will tell. But right now, I’m at the cusp of this big possible change.

It’s a dark, scary and stormy place to be. I knew rationally that it was bound to happen sooner or later, I just wasn’t prepared for this to happen at this point in time. But then…. there’s no such thing as good timing when it comes to bad news, is there?

Whatever the outcome, I can’t afford to lose control and fall apart. Some people have the luxury of being able to be weak, depressed, sad and in despair for periods at a time. I don’t have that luxury. The pillar of strength cannot fall apart, because the rest draw their own strength from this pillar.

It’s both a blessing and a curse.

An Open Letter to the President Elect

Dear President Noynoy,

I know I’m only one of thousands of people sending you messages, well wishes and suggestions.

But in the off-chance that you, or one of your trusted supporters or administration staff do get to read this, I sincerely hope that you would heed what I am writing because I believe many share my sentiments.

For the sake of national unity & healing, I implore you to please cease all this crap about snubbing the Chief Justice. I implore you to please stop politicking and doing whatever you can to snub decisions made by the administration of PGMA. Whether she truly and genuinely has an agenda of her own past her Presidential term is no longer the relevant matter, nor should she even be the focus of your political agenda. You will be declared the President of this country. When the time comes, we believe that you and your administration will do what needs to be done regarding this matter.

But in the meantime, please do not start your term and your office (you have not even been proclaimed yet!) betraying the trust of those who voted for you. Many voted for you because they all believed you would be the instrument of change. And for change to take place where and when it should, there’s no room for traditional politicians. But since the appointment of Chief Justice Corona, your actions and reactions have been painfully reminiscent of a trapo.

What’s saddening by this, is that this makes you no better than those you accuse of using their position of power to advance their own agenda. While this may not be your intention, it still feels like you’re putting your own agenda ahead of the needs of the country.

I just wish for once that people in power would lessen their bickering, and just act more. Words are nothing without action. Promises are nothing until we see steps being taken to meet them.

So much time is spent bickering and arguing like schoolyard bullies resorting to childish name-calling. It’s getting old and tiring. It’s so painfully familiar. Is this the change you promised?

Before the 2010 Elections Campaign period began, many people (like me) were cynical and skeptical that anything good will happen in this country. For my part, I’d lost hope that I could build a good and comfortable life for myself and my family here. I’d lost hope that hard work, diligence and responsibility will amount to anything here. I compare our country to our Asian counterparts who have far far surpassed us already in progress and development, and I wonder why in spite of our talent and wealth of promise, we’re lagging seriously far behind.

And I realized it’s largely because of our culture of governance. So much time is wasted arguing and bickering. Picking on each other. Finding loopholes and shortcomings.

If people in the administration could argue objectively setting aside personal agenda and governing with only the best interests of the nation at heart – I believe so much more can be accomplished.

During your campaign, you promised change. While snubbing the Chief Justice is certainly a change (it’s never been done and will probably be cause for yet another major catastrophe in governance) — will this even accomplish anything positive for the country?

For you, perhaps it makes a point and makes your stand pretty clear.

But what value does it have¬† for ordinary decent, hardworking, taxpaying citizens like me?¬† What about for the millions of starving families baking under the intense heat of the El Nino sun whose homes can’t even protect them from nature’s forces?

In the greater scheme of things, where you take your oath is actually a small, trivial matter. While it’s a much awaited and much anticipated event, it’s much like a wedding. A one day, one-off affair that in reality, has absolutely no bearing, nor an impact to the marriage. Unlike many women, I don’t put much value in weddings. Ultimately, what does matter is the marriage.

And the same is true for governance. Does it really, truly matter where you take your oath of office?

I hate opening the morning papers reading about the politics of the President Elect snubbing the newly appointed Chief Justice.

Why can’t I read instead about you appointing the right people for the right job in your cabinet?

Why can’t I read about policies you will enforce in your administration that will serve the citizens of this country rather than the interests of those who serve?

Why can’t I read about a team looking into an in-depth analysis of our economic structure in the attempts of pinpointing the best strategy to reduce our debts without burdening the taxpapers any further and adding the burden of economic progress on the growth of OFWs?

Why can’t I read about educational programs intended to uplift the standards of our public education system?

And what exactly can be done with the situation in Mindanao?

So much work to do, yet all I see in the papers are more politics.

So please, live up to your promises in your campaign and please start the change that we need. It has to begin with you, you see. We will take your lead.

And please, don’t start your term with vengeance and vindication in your heart. For once, we need a President who will think about our welfare first for a change.

2010 Philippine Elections: A Summary

President/ Vice President NoyBi.

It seems we have a clear winner for President, and an almost clear winner for Vice President.

The Noy Aquino-Jejomar Binay tandem so far wins the race (unless Mar catches up in the next few hours from the remaining municipalities). Unofficial results, of course. And still a partial count… but the numbers are quite clear.

Villar, Gibo, Gordon and de los Reyes have already conceded defeat.

Now… I did not vote for either of the 2 winners.

But I love my country.

And so, for her sake, I will embrace this new administration with open arms and give them all my support and loyalty. I, like many Filipinos, genuinely hope for the best.

I want to be a good citizen. Aside from paying my taxes religiously, and helping my husband month on month fix his rigorous taxes too… aside from exercising my right to suffrage, I will be a good citizen by giving this new administration a chance and simply stop… complaining and just letting them do their jobs.

President Elect Noy, please take care of this country and do what you have to do to start finding solutions to our country’s problems. For now, this is all the message I have for you.

I am a proud voter. Along with almost 50M other Filipinos.

Never in the history of my voting life have I ever felt so much pride for the indelibe ink on my finger. And never had the turnout of the voting public been higher than it was on May 10. More than 50M registered voters… at a 75% turnout. That means around 40M voters, more than half of the Filipino population.

And the 75% doesn’t include the votes that did not go through the PCOS machines yet.

All this, in spite of most of us having to brave the smoldering and torturous heat and humidity, lining up for hours just to get our votes in. It’s truly amazing.

Yesterday, a passing thought entered my head.

For those who could’ve voted, but chose not to… and especially for those who were simply too lazy, apathetic or cynical to cast their votes… I have no kind words to say to them.

Human nature leads all of us to spend more time complaining about what the government is doing (or not doing) for its constituencies. But frankly, those who have the least right to complain are those who can’t even go out of their way to do what little they can for their country. They complain about the ineptitude of the administration when they themselves were indifferent enough to have done nothing, when they had the chance to be heard.

Like I always say… kung sinadya mong hindi bumoto, wala ka ng karapatang magreklamo. (If you deliberately chose not to vote for whatever reason, you have no more right to complain.)

Democracy Truly At Work?

Hope has sprung forth on the 10th of May. Maybe it’s also thanks to the automated elections… but from what we see, these elections have been smooth-sailing and peaceful.

Election returns were fast, quick and clean. They seemed untampered with, and thus, legit.

Presidentials and Vice Presidentials conceded defeat even before results were finalized (well, most of them). And all of them truly did give way and make way for the new President Elect, pledging their support and allegiance as soon as they knew that results were unquestioned.

It gave me goosebumps when all those who conceded plainly, simply and humbly said that “the people have chosen, and what the people have chosen, I will support” (not in those words).

Have we truly started on our journey towards true democracy?

What Happens After?

Well, I’m quite excited to see what happens next. But also perhaps, somewhat afraid.

I keep my fingers crossed that when the results are truly final, the number 2s (Erap for Pres/ Mar or Binay for VP) will peacefully concede and just let the results be.

I hope and pray that the ongoing conflicts and violence in Mindanao will start coming to a peaceful resolution. It’s a long way to go yet, but I continue to fervently hope that a resolution happens within my lifetime.

I am a bit anxious about PGMA as a whole. I worry a bit if there’s any validity to her plans of installing herself as Speaker of the House (since she’s already been proclaimed this morning in Pampanga) to help her supposed climb as the Prime Minister. I hope it’s not true. We don’t need this right now. In the midst of a more hopeful future, we need a united country all headed towards a common, peaceful goal.

On the side, I worry about her too, and the charges she will have to answer the day her Presidential term expires. I still think some the accusations against her are overrated and are an overreaction arising from fear and insecurity. And I think her biggest downfall was her relations and the people she surrounds herself with.

I’m hopeful too about Noy. Still apprehensive to some degree, but hopeful too. I hope he’s truly ready to take on the role of the most powerful person in the country. Because with it comes 6 long ,painful years of public scrutiny. Many see him now as the Messiah. The one who will change Philippine politics and turn it all around. The one who can solve all our problems. But no one can do that overnight. And alone. It takes an entire citizenry to enact changes. And it takes a long, long time to right the wrongs done through decades of a warped and corrupt political system. And with a body of Senators who are still the same senators of decades… the old traditional politicians acting as the chief legislators of our country… I wonder how much change can we really expect.

Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, I just hope that we as a Filipino citizen, are also ready and willing to embrace a promising era that speaks of change and reformation. And I hope we all do our part in whatever way big or small, to turning this country around.

Who Should You Vote For on May 10?

The ones you should vote for on May 10 are the ones whom you think will fulfill their roles the best. Not the one “most likely to win”. Not “the one most likely to defeat so-and-so.” Not “the lesser evil”.

After all the discussions, debates, the volatile roller-coaster ride of survey and poll results, the political smearing and candidate-bashing… ultimately, here’s what I’ve realized over the weekend:

One. Don’t trust surveys. I fell for it last week. But here’s some truth: when FVR ran for President in 1992, he was only #5 in the polls survey. So if you’re just ‘settling’ for a candidate just because you think he has a better chance of winning (thereby defeating the ‘lesser evil’) … think again. I have.

Two. Don’t vote based on personality alone. That would be like hiring an employee just because he/she seems nice and seems to have a nice personality. When you hire an employee, of course personality is a big factor. But it’s not enough. You evaluate skill, track record, capability and look at achievements… as well as personality. And the same is true for the reverse. See, they go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

Three. Take time to study. Before even getting to know your candidates, get to know your country. Your government. The role of your President and Vice-President. What your Senators are for. What your Congressmen, Mayors, Councilors are for. What the point of voting for a Party List is. Get to know the issues. So you also get to figure out for yourself what problems need to be solved first, and how one problem affects all our other problems. And then review your candidates’ platforms. Find out what solutions they have in mind to address the most pressing problems. And then judge for yourself if you believe in the policies and platform of your candidate.

Four. The Other Government Seats are equally as important as the Presidential Seat. The Vice-President succeeds the President if for whatever reason, he cannot continue his term. Senators legislate and decide on laws that affect you and me in ways we may not even realize yet. So does the Congress. Mayors decide if the city you live in will be prepared if the next Typhoon Ondoy strikes. Councilors can help you fix your backyard; arrest neighborhood addicts and commend honorable Barangay Tanods. All of them have a reason for being. So yes, they are just as important as the President of the country.

And finally, five. Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by what others say. Listen, of course. Take it in stride and a grain of salt. Some things you hear on TV and from the lips of your family and friends may be true, but may not be true as well. Details matter, but in the greater scheme of things, they don’t matter as much as the big picture. No one’s perfect. The question is: in your point of view, who is the better man/woman qualified to do the job properly?

As Election Day draws closer, and anxiety continues to build all around, and speculations of cheating, failure of elections and whatnots abound; from ordinary voting citizens like us, what we need to do is to pause for a moment, and really reflect on the choices we will make on May 10.

I’ve come across some nice, non-partisan and unbiased articles that could help you when you reflect. Cheers!

How Presidentiables Plan to Generate Jobs

The Presidentiables’ Stand on Education

The Presidentiables’ Platforms

The Presidentiables’ Stand on Population Control

Get to Know Your Vice Presidentiables

The Buzz About the Senatorial Candidates. I have yet to find a site that compiles the list and profile of all the senatorial candidates (I suppose that would really be far too much), so instead I’m taking you to a forum where people discuss different senatorial candidates. Maybe you can pick up a thing or two here about them.

Refresher Course on Philippine Government Structure

Understanding the Partylist System. This is something new I forced myself to learn today.