Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bearer of Philippines’ people’s hopes

THE Filipino electorate, the majority of the people registered as voters who could indeed be taken to stand for the majority of our population, got its wish. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd as president to replace outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Noynoy is the candidate on whom the majority pins its hopes.

Foremost of these hopes is the end of injustice. People embraced the simplistic and effective message of the Aquino campaign” “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” [When no one’s corrupt, no one will be poor. Or: There’s no poverty when there’s no corruption.]

The people bought that message because they believe it as a fact that the Arroyo administration’s being riddled with corruption is what has caused it to lose the war against massive poverty in our country.

Perhaps, government statistics showing slight improvements in the poverty and hunger levels (which Social Weather Stations surveys confirm) are true. Just the same, these improvements are not palpable enough to the poor and to the better-off working class whose purchasing power has been continuously eroding these past nine years.

Although the ordinary folk (except those influenced by leftist ideologues) cannot discuss poverty in terms of justice, injustice and social justice, we all know it in our hearts of hearts that the reason there is so much poverty is the concentration of wealth and opportunities for a better life in a very small part of the total population.

The income gap between the richest 5 percent of the Filipinos and the second layer of rich and middle-class who make up 20 percent of the population is wide and vast. And the gap between this 20 percent and the lower 30 percent (who are supposed to be better off than the poor) is also extremely wide.

The hope that Noynoy Aquino will change this depressing situation— and not Senator Manny Villar, former President Erap Estrada or former secretary Gibo Teodoro—is what moved 40 percent (perhaps it will be more in the final count) of all who voted.

This hope, of wiping out poverty caused by corruption, is in fact what the Filipino people dreamed to get from the presidency of his late mother.

Noynoy is expected to carry out the unfinished reform of Philippine society that was originally articulated by the late Senator Ninoy Aquino before he was assassinated and then resurrected during the Cory presidency.

Not just the poor and hungry

Not just the destitute and those who often experience hunger hold these hopes that Noynoy will bring about good governance, the end of corruption and a more equitable society.

Even businessmen, members of the Makati Business Club as well as the pillars of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines and the Federation of Exporters, repose their hopes on the new administration under Noynoy Aquino to make the atmosphere for business and industry less uncertain than under the present dispensation.

These businessmen’s and industrialist’s hopes are also anchored on the promise of zero tolerance for corruption. For corruption—the smuggling of products that kill the businesses of local manufacturers and agricultural producers, the arbitrary and changing interpretation of laws and regulations, etc.—makes profitability dependent on how close businessmen, industrialists, bidders for government projects and supply contracts are to government officials.

Not only local businessmen, big and small, are affected by this kind of corruption through the arbitrary application of laws and rules. Even foreign direct investors here—just listen to what the foreign chambers of commerce say—are affected. These corrupt practices have actually also been noted by such credible international bodies as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, not to mention the global corruption and transparency watchdogs.

Noynoy Aquino inherits an image of integrity bequeathed to him by Cory and Ninoy. References to the so-called “Kamag-anak Inc.” that was supposed to have exercised a corrupt influence on things during the Cory presidency have not dampened the enthusiasm of the majority of Filipinos for Noynoy as president.

If he can only divorce himself from the pro-abortionists who are pushing the Reproductive Health Bill, which the Catholic Church condemns, the bishops will, we think, be more enthusiastic in their welcome for the coming Noynoy presidency.

Noynoy and grace

Everything is from God, all that matters is Grace, those who wisely know spiritual as well as practical affairs, never tire of telling men and women of goodwill.

We think it was nothing less than another grace from the Almighty that Noynoy yesterday was made to suffer a wait of four hours to vote in his Tarlac precinct.

He and Filipinos—especially those who were not his supporters—were being given another message that the future president Noynoy MUST end the feudalism and cacique-bossism that still largely define Philippine social, political, organizational and business relations.

Feudal, undemocratic relations form the loam on which corruption in our country thrives. Noynoy Aquino, suffering with ordinary folk queuing up to vote, presented a portrait of an heir of a feudal, cacique-boss clan who had relinquished his princely status to become a true man of the people.

Just as his beloved mother’s death was a grace to him and the Filipino people to give us President Noynoy, the four hours he was made to experience yesterday was a grace from God whose message he should never forget. The Manila Times

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