Disclaimer: Somebody used my name and the URL of my weblog in posting a (pathetic) comment in Schumey’s blog. What bothers me is that this transgression can be repeated. I was lucky the last time because I was immediately notified by Schumey (Thank you po). What was the motive in impersonating me? Was it an honest mistake or a deliberate attempt to foment animosity with other bloggers? On the other hand, my resentment is tempered by a realization that the crime committed can be excused as trivial compared to what is being done against my comrades in the provinces. “What can’t kill you can only make you stronger,” – I’m still alive and I can reclaim my identity. But how about my comrades who were silenced forever?…
Bishop bloggers of the Philippines is my blog entry for Global Voices Online….
What happened to the Strong Republic mantra of the government? Since 2002, it was the battlecry of all government agencies. It was also the campaign theme of President Gloria Arroyo in the 2004 elections.
Its objectives were to focus on reform initiatives and implement a coherent action plan that would build up our institutions’ capacities. It covered six sectoral concerns, namely, poverty alleviation, environment and natural resources, economy and infrastructure, political stability and national unity, good governance and international relations.
Since last year, when Mrs. Arroyo endorsed the charter change proposal, it seems the Strong Republic project has been abandoned already. No public official was to echo again the commitments and vision of the Strong Republic.
During President Ramos’ time, the entire machinery of the State promoted Philippines 2000 – the ambitious plan to achieve the ‘newly industrialized country’ status before the end of the millennium. Of course this project was a failure. But at least it was something concrete which the public supported (or rejected) throughout the term of Mr. Ramos. It allowed many people to identify with this drive to make the Philippines a prosperous and industrialized nation by year 2000.
It is imperative that every government inspires the people on what it aims to fulfill. The Strong Republic, though flawed in many aspects like the Philippines 2000, had this opportunity to unite the people and provide guidance to all civil servants. The surprisingly quiet demise of the Strong Republic meant that it has yet to be understood and appreciated by the public.
The shift towards charter change may be a survival strategy of President Arroyo who is facing allegations of electoral fraud and corruption.
Recently, Mrs. Arroyo heralded us with her dream of bringing the Philippines into the ‘enchanted kingdom’ before the year 2020. During that time, we thought the President was just being poetic. But on her state of the nation address, she charmed the crowd with her plan to create super regions in the country. Then, a few days ago, the President vowed to retrain the returning maids from Lebanon and transform them into ‘supermaids’ to be exported in other less dangerous countries.
What’s next? Super athletes, super charter change, super president, super congress, super Philippines?
Should we blame the speechwriters of the President who are obviously still overwhelmed by the movie ‘Superman Returns’? Or is this a proof of the debilitating influence of fantaserye shows in Philippine television? Is this the official policy of the State: talk whimsical, delight the crowd and avoid substantial issues?
From Strong Republic to super nation, this seems to be the story of the Philippines under the present leadership. The future is scary.
Pictures during my stay in Gubat, Sorsogon.