The inside story: President Aquino quotes an anonymous blogger

2015-SONA gov dot ph

2015 SONA [Photo credit: gov.ph]

People have asked for my take on the SONA speech but I’m inclined not to judge it. I take it at face value, a report card packed with information and human interest profiles. I don’t really care for all the critiques done by others who claim greater wisdom, and who would have done it better, differently, or right if they had been President. Or who would have run the nation better if they had been in charge.

Well, they aren’t . . . nor am I.

I didn’t listen to the pundits and analysts afterward. I listened to the speech, and read it.

The state of the nation is good. Excellent, actually. Moving with purpose in the right direction.  A lot of good work is being done. There are a lot of good people in government working diligently for a good president.

The President’s mention of anonymous blogger Joe America, namely me, was a stunner. It put me into a catatonic state for about five minutes as I contemplated what had just happened. It was an out of body experience, that I somehow ended up on the big screen with the President speaking what I had written.

Speculation since has been quite humorous. Some guess that blogger JoeAm is none other than the President’s Communication guy, former blogger, Manuel L. Quezon III (MLQ3). Or JoeAm is a journalist for hire, or he has a direct connection with the Palace. I mean, this is the Philippines, right? And what we see OBVIOUSLY can not be the truth. There are games being played somewhere. We are being manipulated by someone. Someone is making money some how. That’s the way it works in the Philippines.

I mean, why else would a blogger write so avidly, so passionately, in support of President Aquino? And get cited in the SONA as a result?

Let me give you the facts, and nothing but the facts. If you find that you are not able to accept them, I’d suggest you make an appointment with a professional absolutely as soon as possible. You have hobgoblins in your mind, so to speak, and they ought to be invited to leave.

Here’s the truth as best as I can tell it:

  • A lot of Filipinos seem to have a different standard of patriotism than I do. I’m not exactly sure what that Filipino standard is because I can’t relate to it. I can’t relate to the vacuum that exists where patriotic sacrifice should reside. Missing is the idea that supporting a president makes for a stronger nation. I don’t understand this vacuum. And I don’t understand why some people take insulting pot-shots at those of us who support the President. I don’t understand the need to be AGAINST loyalty to the President. I also recognize that there are a LOT of people who do actively and passionately support their President and nation. More power to them.
  • Very definitely, I receive no payment for creating this blog. The reward is satisfaction.
  • The well-being of the Philippines is what underpins the blog. JoeAm welcomes opposing views, expressed respectfully, because it helps readers – and JoeAm – craft or polish their understandings and decisions. When a political stand is taken by JoeAm, it is not a conclusion that has to be justified against any argument. It is always open to change. The stand is taken after I have listened to others and judged what I believe to be best for the Philippines. Readers are free to disagree, and many do. That’s what makes the blog a rich place to visit. There are no parrots or puppets in the Society’s house. There are many excellent listeners.
  • JoeAm is anonymous to most. But not all. He is not anonymous to some Society of Honor members (Edgar Lores, Cha, and Andrew Lim who worked together on the Rizal/Robredo Voter’s Guide), or to certain colleagues (blogger Raissa Robles; columnist Tomas “Buddy” Gomez III), or to esteemed people in government to whom it would be disrespectful to remain anonymous. If there is a need to know who JoeAm is, then JoeAm will provide the proper introduction.
  • President Aquino’s first exposure to JoeAm was courtesy of Kris Aquino who read a blog to the President in 2012 (A first class Philippines: President Benigno S. Aquino III). Since then, I have shared a few messages with Kris (she is unfailingly kind and down-to-earth). I’ve also engaged in a few e-mails with the President’s Communications staff, for example, with MLQ3, who is perhaps the nation’s foremost custodian of information about Philippine history and government. I knew MLQ3 from years ago when he, too, was prominent in the nation’s young blogging community.

If you want to receive the same information the Aquino Administration gets from JoeAm, read the blogs and the discussion threads. Because that’s all there is. If you want the same kind of information that JoeAm receives from the Aquino Administration, go to Twitter or Facebook and follow @MLQ3. You’ll get links to a whole electronic library, absolute treasures, delivered to your computer.

There is no direct working relationship between JoeAm and the Aquino Administration. No collusion. No agenda. No partnership. If the President and I think alike on some issues, it is because we both study issues from all angles and are both reflective, perceptive and adequately smart. We’ve both had managerial assignments and understand the complexities of major projects and the discipline of delegation, letting go, and giving other managers consideration (trust), direction and encouragement.

Let’s turn directly to the President’s SONA, looking at the tributes he offered near the end of his speech. He did a masterful job on the tributes, going name by name and characterizing people on his cabinet in very endearing, personal and occasionally humorous terms. (Digression: He has a superb cabinet, honorable, capable and earnest. I suspect most would stay on under a President Roxas. There could be considerable disruption of leadership under someone else.)

Soon, the President got to what I’ll call the second ring, the people who do not report through his cabinet or do management work in government. These are people who helped in their own peculiar way. Here’s the text of the speech (English) that includes his mention of Joe America:

To my spiritual advisers, Father Catalino Arevalo, Sister Agnes Guillen, and Father Jett Villarin [applause], and to Cardinal Chito Tagle, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Ka Eduardo Manalo, Bishop Soc Villegas, Bishop Jonel Milan, and Brother Eddie Villanueva; to all those in the religious sector and to those who have prayed for us as we faced major challenges;

To those like Joe America, a blogger who, despite never having met me, wrote: “If the President were in my foxhole, I’d watch his back. That’s because I trust that he is watching mine.” [applause] I thank you and all our other friends from other shores who have express[ed] their unity with our transformation agenda;

To members of the youth like Francesca Santiago, who, at an early age, has displayed love for country;

To Noel Cabangon, and all those in culture and the arts who have used their talents to proclaim our country’s transformation; [applause]

To Ate Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, Kris, and my brothers-in-law and nephews and nieces [applause]: You have stood by me since Mom and Dad were in public service. The day is coming when you will no longer have to make additional sacrifices on my behalf;

Note that Joe America was used as an example of a greater message, a greater expression of appreciation. The President thanked people from around the world who support the well-being of the Philippines and the Aquino transformation agenda. It was not an award to JoeAm or a recommendation to read his blog. It was thanks to people like many who contribute to this blog who live in Australia, America, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and other places around the globe. It was a tribute to foreigners who care, and say so. It was an expression of appreciation for the people around the world who help him, and are for the Philippines.

Next, he recognized and thanked his security team, social secretary, hairstylist, and his office and personal staff.

And, as is his pattern in his SONAs, President Aquino then turned to the third ring, his bosses, the people. This, to me, was the most inspiring part of the speech, a speech in which there were many meaningful moments:

My Bosses, perhaps my having no family of my own is part of the plan. It has allowed me to focus on our people. In this job, I sometimes feel like a punching bag precariously held together by duct tape, but I have never wavered because you are behind me. It is true: I am not alone. [Applause] This has led me to conclude that my parents continue to watch over me, and that God truly loves us. Thus, to every Filipino who has made this change possible, thank you. It is a great honor being your leader. [Applause]

The third ring, of course, embraces us all.

So if you want to know why I support President Aquino, it is this: I do so because he is the duly elected leader of the Philippines. He has superb character and integrity. He is also genuine; he has great human kindness, he is vulnerable to emotions as we all are, and he is strong. His bosses judged him as insensitive during the Mamasapano episode. Never have so many people been so absolutely wrong about an individual’s character. Insensitive people don’t praise a cabinet in such genuine, appreciative, personal terms.

A good President MUST be strong and emotionless. The rest of us are allowed to go ballistic, to rant and weep and blame. To tear our hair out and kick the dog. The President has no such luxury. He must take a life-or-death decision on hostages (Zamboanga) and say, without flinching, “no negotiations”. He must face the raging mobs of Hong Kong (bus incident) or a ranting Taiwanese President (shooting of a fisherman) and calmly explain what will happen and why. He must face down China and say, firmly, “let’s look at the laws”. He must bear up under the pressure of a dozen tabloid media outlets looking for every flaw, conflict or flub, and he must put up with a set of bosses who want every decision made THEIR way, and ONLY their way. He must deal patiently with insults and lies from crooks and the politically desperate rather than go down into the mud with them.

The burdens one man is asked to carry . . .

Hey, if it your style to add to them, well, it is a free country, and he expects that. President Aquino holds no illusions that his job is supposed to be easy. But adding to the burdens is not my style. If that troubles you, I don’t know exactly what to say.

Philippine democracy is young. It is perhaps in its late teens. The nation has gone through a rough childhood of abandonment and abuse. Now the nation must head out into the bigger world and stand tall for herself, as an adult. As an equal to any nation on the planet.

If the nation is mature enough, and wise enough – if emotion is channeled into introspection and confidence and growth rather than criticism and insecurity and tearing down – perhaps we will be able to comprehend something very simple. Here’s the most important charter we have as citizens (forgive me, yes, I can extend myself that far):

To elect a President with impeccable integrity, and to help him carry the load as best we can.

If we do those two things, the Philippines, in 10 years, will not be rising.

She will be soaring.

 

Comments
295 Responses to “The inside story: President Aquino quotes an anonymous blogger”
  1. Vicara says:

    Ah, if only every candidate for political office in 2016 could be forced to declare in a SALN the internet trolls on their payroll.

  2. Percival says:

    Keep up the good work Joe. The country needs a lot of JoeAm’s. Like the President, I would like to thank you too.

  3. 🙂
    Soaring in 12 years that is the dream!!

  4. NHerrera says:

    I do not have a literary flourish even writing this three-liner. But this I say, you put into beautiful meaningful words the best of President Aquino and the country (rightly leaving out the negatives that others seem to enjoy saying and writing). Thanks Joe.

  5. This just got me thinking, joeam, if you had communications with ‘the’ Kris Aquino way before and liked your blog, (was the blog she liked about Pnoy or more so about this administration?) … then knowing Kris, (well, the only instant we met was in a studio taping for GameKaNaBa way before), was she instrumental in your political leanings? I’m just being devil’s advocate, cause from the way I see it, Kris won’t let you go empty-handed once she ‘liked’ you, not to mention your blogs. And being protective of her president-brother, she will do any means , I mean, ANY, to ‘give back’ to you.
    This curiosity was had due to your timely pro-PNoy blog. Though I cannot articulate well and be a mainstay in your blogs due to my poor ‘learned’ communication tools like yourselves, I found some of your political blogs so interesting and a eye-opener, an outsider’s view of the Philippine backyard. Continue your passion as I continue reading them, maybe I could persuade some non-readers too.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, franklin. Kris had little to do with my political leanings. They developed out of a conscious effort to open my eyes to the positive goings on in the Philippines, and its government, something that most foreigners seem unable to do, as they judge by their background and standards. I’ve actually criticized the Aquino sisters for their backing, some time ago, of VP Binay. I hope they explicitly change that point of view.

      • welcome Joe. nice to know there are balanced views somewhere not only spoon-fed by tv networks which are biased…..shared your blog on facebook for those who still didn’t know you. 2016 is coming and we ought to get the right president.

        • may abriol says:

          And the right person who can continue pnoy’s tuwid na daan is none other than sec. Mar roxas. And i was surprised our joeam blogger was mentioned by pinoy in his last sona. Tnx mr joe in supporting this administration specially ppinoy and mar. I hope silang dalawa ang pres. And vice pres this coming election.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, they got angry about the way the VP attacked their brother after he left office. Right decision. Wrong reason. They should have detached when it became clear that money and witnesses have gone missing. Still, it does raise the question of the logic of the Binay campaign strategy, to attack every decent person around.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Perhaps their reason had to be personal and not objective precisely because the relationship with Binay was personal. He (and the family) were family friends, and he was available and, I understand, at hand in time of need. As with Saguisag’s view of Binay, it is hard to see a former comrade in bad light.

            Unless, of course, you are Binay. (I am referring to his apostasy of the administration he was part of.)
            *****

      • Johnny Lin says:

        Aquino sisters are also your ardent fans, heed your advice and disclaimed, discarded and debunked support to Binay
        He he he

  6. Eldino Caballes says:

    Dear Joe-Am,

    I was delighted reading the SONA when I chanced on your name….Congrats!!!!!

    At least you are not “binayaran” and although only in the sidelines, you blogs are the veracity of the issue.

    Regards,

    Eldino (onidle sellabac in FB)

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the introduction, Eldino. Stop by to comment any time. I work the blog more than Facebook, although I must say, Facebook is a very active place these days. I can’t keep up with all the conversations.

      • eldino caballes says:

        That’s correct JoeAm, facebook is sometimes un-nerving me in speed but for us OFWs, is the cheapest way to communicate with the world. Just stay with the truth and God will always be on your side.

  7. Jean says:

    Careful Joe, if you are not careful, you just may turn me into ( God forbid) a believer.

    The part I liked best in this article was:

    “If the nation is mature enough, and wise enough – if emotion is channeled into introspection and confidence and growth rather than criticism and insecurity and tearing down – perhaps we will be able to comprehend something very simple. Here’s the most important charter we have as citizens (forgive me, yes, I can extend myself that far):

    To elect a President with impeccable integrity, and to help him carry the load as best we can.”

    Though I must admit, I find the term “impeccable” wishful thinking. Thus I propose that we settle for becoming a society that forces/influences any and every candidate who takes the seat to be a person of unwavering integrity, instead

    Anyhow, I am starting to see, why some people like him, I am not just there… yet ( maybe never ) But I will say this, though I wished he did more ( because I really think he could have ) I will no longer down-play what he has done and the things he has set in motion.

    Moving on,

    Joe, let me warn you, you shall have a tougher time converting me to someone who would back Mar… That said, I eagerly anticipate your future attempts hehe….

  8. Faye says:

    Enjoyed reading it.. Keep up writing and writing.. We need a good read like this. Im inspired.

  9. madokakaname03 says:

    Well, strictly speaking you aren’t really that anonymous: you did give your real name here once before 😉

  10. andrewlim8 says:

    Wow, Joe you did it again. As an old timer in this blog, I must say those last few paragraphs can make a grown man cry. I was expecting Honest Abe to re-appear with his “… with malice toward none…” 🙂

    And that’s my point. Say all you want about Aquino’s foibles and deficiencies, but he did not do anything with malice towards the Filipino people. You cannot say the same for Marcos, Estrada and Arroyo, who were malicious and malevolent at certain points in their rule, plundering and oppressing.

    • NHerrera says:

      And if I may add, of more contemporary names, no one can beat the malice — but deceitful show of his and his family’s concern — to the people, by one who wants to be the President of the Philippines in 2016.

    • Joe America says:

      You get two pictures, one the press draws, of a man always making mistakes and under attack and underperforming. Because the media allows itself to be trolled by gameplayers. The second picture is of a decent man working earnestly for the well-being of the nation, and far exceeding the expectations many of us had for him. It’s a choice which one we buy into.

  11. virginia says:

    Mr. JoeAm, you really never fail to impressed me in all your blogs…worth the time to spend reading them…you deserved to be acknowledged by our President, hope i could meet you someday, i a fan…Kudos to you Sir 🙂

    • virginia says:

      *i’m a fan

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Virginia. I’m feeling a little like a rock star these days, but humility is chasing not far behind.

      • Melanie Avery says:

        Joe, same here. I also hope to meet you someday(perhaps a gathering of JoeAms fan club.. Hahaha.. Not a bad idea!) Am a fan.. Not just your style of writing but also …the person behind those nice words.. who writes with his soul exposed. Well done.

        • Joe America says:

          Nice thoughts, Melanie. Thanks.

          • BFD says:

            Well, we have to ride the ships/planes/cars/drones/Zepellins/air balloons to see JoeAm if we are to go where he lives or even see him at a neutral ground. 🙂

            How about a mall tour, Joe?

            • Hazel says:

              Or a book. A compilation of your essays in print?

              Good job, JoeAm! Just chanced thru your blog today. I wish I have stumbled upon it sooner.

              It’s sad that media play along the wishes of those who pay them. We should really bring social media to the masses so they’d be exposed to other ideas/news as well.

              Keep writing! And God bless! 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Well, I’m happy you stumbled this way, Hazel. You can rummage through back blogs by going to the home page and using the “search” function to look for topics I may have written about. A political candidate, Mamasapano, Yolanda . . . whatever. If you are like most people, you will not always agree with what I’ve written. Do read the discussion threads, too, because people who think differently are usually represented there.

  12. Maxie says:

    When I heard the President make special mention of a blogger, Joe America, I flipped and almost fell off my seat 🙂 My iPad was nearby and I hastily put something on Twitter to @societyofhonor! I felt as if I was the one personally mentioned hahaha

    A lot of people complained that the President should have mentioned this, that and those. If he were to include in his SONA everything that everyone wants him to say, 2 hours would not be sufficient. He would probably still be delivering his speech the next day to an empty Batasan because everyone else would have already gone home 🙂

    And as to the President not having done enough for the country … come on, naman. If we can have a composite of the best and the brightest people, dead and alive, as our president, that entity would still not be able to do enough. Ika nga, “Rome was not built in a day”. And that same entity would also not be able to eradicate poverty. DI ba sabi ni Jesus Christ Superstar … “there will be poor always, pathetically struggling … look at the good things you’ve go.”

    Ay, Bayan ko … when are we going to appreciate the good things we’ve got. And take on where and what we can do to help build our nation.

  13. OzyBoy says:

    You know Joe, a lot of Filipinos are really very distrustful individuals; they distrust you because you like Pres Aquino and they don’t understand why certain people could like certain people, no matter how eloquently you’ve spoken already why you find PNoy and his administrattion likeable. Now they think you’re a paid lackey. When I was working out West, I contributed some dough to the campaign of Hillary when she ran in the Pres primaries, altho I could not vote, but I did it bec I liked what she was doing. (I dunno if that was against U.S. law for a non-American to contribute). My real beef with some of my kababayans is the lack of utter respect for the Office of the President – imagine criticizing the Sona bec it was long? And those who raised protest placards inside the Hall, really, now, “have some respect for your President.” Keep on blogging, Joe, your blog is a breath of fresh air, amidst the tiring and trite “opinions” in the mainstream media.

  14. josephivo says:

    I do like to read your blog not for its political inclinations, but for the common sense, the sparkling language and the many discussions that make me think, understand, feel involved.

    And as for many things in life, the closer one comes to perfection, the clearer the improvement opportunities. When in the dark all efforts seem to be needles. I believe that this president made a huge step in the right direction. But by doing so he also made it possible to see the equally huge improvement opportunities, these improvements also start looking achievable. This is why sometimes I dare to be critical.

    Looking forward for more enlightening discussions, more positive criticism, more alternatives, more than just hope, a believe in the progress made and a source of constructive energy.

    Once more congratulations and tnx.

  15. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Hello, Joe America. Sharing with you something I wrote minutes after the SONA. I posted it in Facebook (Renee Will Villanueva) and in the Philippine Daily Inquirer website after today’s editorial. Thank you for your efforts, erudition, expressiveness, and American derring-do.

    “I was clapping by my lonesome in our home.

    He wasn’t supposed to succeed. We chose him almost as an afterthought, and only because his revered mother showed how it is to live, and how it is to die.

    Why did we cast our eyes on the only son who was a good guy but hardly showed fire in the belly? We were in need of a rallying point, for pretenders had crushed every dream we had of a better country after two EDSAs. He seemed approachable, he was a good son, therefore he could be a good leader, we thought.

    But he was ranged against professional politicians. And the yellow fever seemed to have abated. At final count, he beat the resurgent pardoned convict as his closest rival.

    The Ninoy and Cory magic worked in the 2010 elections, but even his own supporters would keep quiet at the onrush of criticisms during his term.

    Yet, there he was keeping the nation in thrall in his last State of the Nation Address today at the Batasan. He had endorsements from a winsome scholarship beneficiary, from the Makati Business Club, from a congresswoman in some forgotten town. Speaking in flawless Filipino, stumbling at times because of his smoker’s cough (I kept thinking, don’t die, don’t die, don’t leave us to the dark forces) President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III delivered what was the best political speeches I ever heard to rouse a nation from self-doubt.

    Who would have known? He hardly showed any promise back then, living under the shadow of his great parents, but all he wanted to do was to honor his parents. And honor his parents he did. The bright spot in Asia, sustaining GDP at the high sixes and sevens, a witness to the jailing of prominent politicians for corrupt practices and the unmasking of a fearsome politician by Senate inquiry, the Philippines has found a good president with more spirit than we could have imagined. Whether or not he would be the great president we have longed for is for history to decide. — Will”

    • NHerrera says:

      Inspired by your words, I would like to add the following:

      I wrote sometime ago at Raissa’s Blog, borrowing some words from the wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s “finest-hour speech” made in 1940 when he was still fresh at the office.

      I said in Raissa’s Blog that the peril remains great as we approach May 2016, and wrote:

      “The battle of Pnoy is about over. The next crucial battle is about to begin. Upon that battle depends the future of our beloved country. The whole machinery and dirty tricks developed through the years may soon be thrust upon us … Let us therefore brace ourselves … so, Filipinos decades later will say, ‘This was their finest hour.'”

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        The Battle of the Philippines is being fought. It’s patriots and moral guardians against those who wish to keep it poor and open to bribery of voters. It’s a good thing JoeAm is fighting alongside good Filipinos, such as in Bataan when an inextricable link was formed between the United States and our country. We have many threats to our nationhood, but nothing comes close to the malevolence of Filipino political leaders who see the national treasury as key to their own fantasies. Our work is cut out for us. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!

    • Joe America says:

      Hi, Wil, thank you for sharing your own inspiring rendition of the President’s growth on the job. Who would have known. I think his father’s determination and his mother’s steady good heart got transferred to him, and we are all fortunate for that.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      @ Wilfredo Villanueva

      I strongly suggest you contribute an article sometime to this blog. You have a gift for it.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      So PNoy is the accidental president?

      Still.

      If Binay is elected next president, PNoy is the president the country did not deserve.
      *****

      • Bert says:

        Edgar, if Binay is elected next president, can it be said a Pres. Noynoy’s legacy to the nation for annointing Mar Roxas? Just asking.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Good question.

          No, it does not follow. The legacy of PNoy stands on its own. It will stand as a turning point in our history.

          It is up to the voters to complete the turn now… or to delay it.
          *****

          • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

            Dear Edgar and Bert, In a few hours, President Aquino will officially launch Mar Roxas’s candidacy. We will be equal to the task. We always have been. We have no problem when it’s fiesta time (such as elections). What bedevils the core is when we sweep the floor and stack up the chairs, and everyone has gone home and wait a minute, the fight has just begun, don’t go on sleep mode yet. Till the next tyrant and plunderer. Vigilance is not our strong suit. But twerking, loud music, trumpets, horns, cymbals, ribbons and motorcades, that’s our thing. Binay will be drowned out, a mismatch, folded and tucked in a tsunami with only his teeth showing, will not know what hit him, I tell you. He chose the wrong event.

      • “If Binay is elected next president, PNoy is the president the country did not deserve.” I totally agree.

        and if a Binay presidency brings us economic uncertainty, when business goes down, growth slows down, all those who were busy bringing down the PNoy administration will wish PNoy is president again. They are the ones that truly deserve a corrupt presidency.

    • ffziebert says:

      Very well said, Will! Beautiful piece!

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Thanks, ffziebert! Posted it in the Philippine Daily Inquirer website and it has a share of likes. Also in my wife’s and my Facebook page, same effect. You draw from the heart, you pull out a string of hearts.

  16. RHiro says:

    One of the things the downfall of Marcos brought this country is a little democratic space to speak out. Many of my generation paid with their lives for that space. The Presidents father paid dearly for that also.

    The coalition versus the dictator even before the rise of the digital revolution gave us that space.

    Now we have the internet. Hence the private opinions of Joeam has had public play.

    They are his opinions and we respect it.

    Even the almost single minded opinions against Binay are well documented. However they were based on very serious allegations.

    The flawed justice system now has to take over…

    I believe without a doubt that Joeam is NOT a paid stooge of anyone..

    However I disagree with his oversimplification of the problems facing the Philippines…

    The long years of colonization have left a debilitating effect and legacy on this country.

    Similarly like the U.S. the legacy of slavery still lives on and the political divide is still between the slave states and almost slave states and the rest of the country.

    PNoy’s speech was a speech about an alternate universe. A universe dominated by the elite of this country whom the president is part of. Here the illustrado vs indio divide lingers on.

    Most people who read this blog will not quite comprehend the subnormal conditions in the macroeconomic fundamentals of the world that has created a financial bonanza for a country that is strategically dependent on foreign fund flows.

    No question the transition from a completely disgraced former President who used her powers and the Treasury to maintain her hold on power. She was even close to declaring martial law…

    Business confidence here soared since everyone knew that PNoy was not interested in power or wealth. But the financial bonanza propelled the domestic business conglomerates from expanding their holdings…

    Unfortunately they were in sectors that has the least effect on the economy….

    Hence the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Economist pointed out that in spite of growth rates, they were limited to the top or exclusive…They pointed to the huge gap in wealth….They predict that this will go on….

    Unfortunately for the country the man the President has picked to replace him is a hard nosed ideologue in economic dogma. He is a doctrinaire “Wahhabi” of economic neo-liberalism…

    This same ideology Pope Francis condemned as the “dung of the devil…” The same economic paradigm we are stuck in that results in this rather exclusive form of economic well being…

    The other guy Binay cannot be trusted as he may be guilty of massive corruption..

    Roxas meanwhile comes from the class that has kept this country weak, dependent and mendicant…

    The government and the country still cannot pay its bills without foreign inflows of funding…

    Seventy years after a semblance of political autonomy the government still does not know how to spend effectively.. PNoy’s government is no exception….The bureaucracy is still riddled with corruption… All branches of government included.

    Binay should seek redemption and make his last battle and run his election based on class contradictions. PNoy has drawn the line in the sand…His group of Ayn Rand followers will support his choice in Roxas.

    Economy good for the exclusive few. The vast majority who are excluded from the economy could be agitated and organized. Binay has a platform for class war. How well he uses it could determine his last stand in politics.

    Romney blundered into class contradictions in his run for Presidency and he imploded.

    Anyway to end I respect Joeam’s opinions about even Roxas but am still unclear on what seminal act did he accomplish to deserve the title “Father of the BPO Industry?

    • josephivo says:

      “Here the illustrado vs indio divide lingers on.”
      “He (Roxas) is a doctrinaire “Wahhabi” of economic neo-liberalism…”
      Love it.

      But luckily the Philippines is not an Island any longer, it is more and more interwoven with the world, 10 million OFW’s, multinationals – rating agencies – IMF…, an emerging global culture. The neo-liberal economy will experience more frequent, deeper crises (even more so with a Trump as US president). Even Roxas will have to follow global economic corrections. Individualism, marketization and inequality are at their peak, I think/hope.

      • RHiro says:

        Your answer is well appreciated but the turmoil in the world today is based on the fact of the changes in power relations.. The IMF is mostly irrelevant… Economic “wahhabism” is ascendant. The best example is the unraveling of the Euro and the emergence of powerhouse Germany… The euro is today the default currency that used to be the Deutschmark..The Greek state is no more…

        The Greek experience is analogous to the Philippines.. An oligarchy that preyed on their people and supported by the troika…

        The same as the Philippines. An elite that is anti development for the people of the Philippines.

        • OzyBoy says:

          RHiro,
          We, simple Filipinos, who do not have your economic and political savvy, can still see with our own eyes and feel with our stomachs, the big difference(s) in the Philippine administirations. Like you, Siir/Madam, we were at the forefront of rallies etc during martial law and People Power. Now, can you suggest what the future President (it could be Roxas) must do to accomplish what you think s/d be accomplished to make our country more liveable, more believable, richer and better over-all?

          ” Binay should seek redemption and make his last battle and run his election based on class contradictions,” and “The vast majority who are excluded from the economy could be agitated and organized. Binay has a platform for class war. How well he uses it could determine his last stand in politics.”

          You see, we simple Fiipinos, are already VERY TIRED, of such line of thinking – class struggles, class conflict, class divides… etc.
          And I believe that even the poor, now with access to digital technology (text, wi-fi) can be easilty presented with the “ipagpatuloy ang tuwid na daan,” by Roxas. And to be presented with all the “corruption” issues against Binay.

          • OzyBoy says:

            Anti – Corruption, honesty, less crimes, relatively peaceful environment, better “Philippine image” globally – these are issues we, simple Filipinos, can easily understand, and we saw them all with Pinoy administration.

          • Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

            So true…for us ordinary folks, such terms remind us of left leaning groups chanting their anti government mantra…they are so quiet about Binay’s corruption and plunder and the makabayan bloc of the HR even raised quotes from Binay “manhid, palpak”….. they have seemingly the same approach towards the West Philippine Seas and China’s bullying tactics over there…a scary Binay presidency which we should avoid being thrust upon us knowing that the radical change that they are espousing can only happen in a communist style of governance.

            Am quite curious why high corruption exists in communist countries like russia and China.

            • RHiro says:

              There is an old saying: if one helps the poor by giving charity or allowing some economic gains to trickle down one is charitable. But is one questions why the system is so unequal one is immediately labeled a communist…

              “Our class has declared war and we are winning” – Warren Buffet

              Christian Legarde- also mentioned recently that the most serious problem is inequality in the global economy.

              Ben Bernanke whose mandate is not redistribution of wealth recently said that the U.S. need some parts of a welfare state as outcomes are unequal…

              The Economist research group Economic intelligence Unit most recent report stated that due to the wide gaps in income robust growth is not being felt by the majority of Filipinos.

              Droplets simply will not do in the presence of unjust social structures which bring forth inequalities are are maintained by corrupt practices by the elite.

              I suppose the list above are all hard core leftists…

              Plus Pope Francis speech in Bolivia…

              Electoral battles is a form of warfare… The achilles heel of the present government similar to the past ones is the religious adherence to trickle down economics….

              The Aquino/Roxas commentariat are probably mostly all Starbuck’s regulars…

              http://time.com/3952885/pope-francis-bolivia-poverty-speech-transcript/

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                The Pulse Asia survey does not show a class divide. It is only with Erap that support from the E class significantly predominates. And contrary to the stated speculation about Starbuck regulars, Roxas largest support comes from E.


                *****

              • RHiro says:

                Premature reply I am sure is not proof of premature ejaculation… Joke…

                The Aquino/Roxas commentariat most likely come from the Starbucks crowd… They can afford.

                No class divide? Why are survey done amongst different income groups and labeled by letter…

                Please keep to the topic at hand… Elections are about fiesta’s for the masa and movie stars dancing on stages…

                It is not about immigration, trade treaties or currency rates….

                That also would require thought even from the top tier commentariat……

                Joeam is part of the internets gift of free commenting…Hence he is part of the commentariat that favors the Aquino/Roxas team….The Binay team and if grace runs the Grace team will campaign on the hopes and expectations of the working poor…The absolute majority of voters…

                An example would be kailan pa ba kami? Yung maykaya lang ay yung umuusad…

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Look at the numbers.
                *****

              • RHiro says:

                Mr. Lores Pls note:

                COMMENT-ARIAT All of us who participate in this blog post our COMMENTS and we are part of the commentariat…This blog is not a survey of presidential wannabees.

                My post was simple to comprehend— The Aquino/Roxas commentariat are Starbuck’s regulars…

                The written English in this blog shows a certain fundamental comfort in the language…The massa would get nosebleeds trying to read posts on this blog…

                They think and speak in their own dialects and language.

                It begs the question, are you a natural born English speaker and do you think and comprehend the world in English?

                Language is critical as it allows us to share a common human experience…

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Thank you. Context is important.

                1st paragraph: poor… charity
                2nd paragraph: class… war
                3rd paragraph: most serious problem… inequality
                4th paragraph: wealth redistribution… welfare state… unequal outcomes
                5th paragraph: wide gaps in income… no robust growth
                6th paragraph: unjust social structures … inequality
                7th paragraph: hard core leftists
                8th paragraph: pope in Bolivia
                9th paragraph: electoral battles… trickle down economics

                10th paragraph: aquino/roxas commentariat… Starbucks

                Definition of commentariat: “members of the news media considered as a class.”

                My assumption on first reading: The definition of commentariat has been extended to include people who comment on social media. This is a semantic failing. It is a highfaluting way to describe commenters or bloggers. This assumption has been clarified… and confirmed.

                Analysis:

                1. Except for the last paragraph, all the preceding paragraphs pertain to the class divide.

                2. It is therefore a fair assumption that the last paragraph has to do with the preceding paragraphs… and is not a non sequitur.

                2.1. If it is NOT a non sequitur, it has to be interpreted in the context of the class divide found in all the preceding 9 paragraphs.

                2.2. If it IS a non sequitur, the statement should have simply read: “The social media commentariat are probably mostly all Starbuck regulars…” The qualifier “Aquino/Roxas” is unneccesary and misleading.

                2.3. Without the modifier, the point of the post would simply have been: “There is a class divide. Most social media political commenters belong to the upper class.” Note the proper use of the generic modifier “politcal.”

                2.4. But, no, a non-generic modifier has been deliberately inserted… and its specificity suggests a political juxtaposition.

                3. Now, as it happens the current political divide mirrors the class divide. On one hand, there is Aquino/Roxas who are members of the social elite. On the other, there is Binay who came from humble beginnings. Given this, one can derive the following:

                o The commentariat on social media who comment on Aquino/Roxas are supporters of the two. They are mostly patrons of Starbucks, meaning that they too belong to the upper classes.

                o On the other hand, there is the commentariat who do not comment on Aquino/Roxas. Presumably, they comment on and support Binay. These commentaritat are not patrons of Starbucks.

                o The conclusion that can be inferred from the above is that Binay supporters largely come from the CDE class, and the Roxas supporters from the AB class. This conclusion is not supported by the survey.

                4. I agree: “Language is critical as it allows us to share a common human experience…”

                4.1. But more: Not only should words be used accurately but the meaning they convey should be understood within the textual package wherein they are being used.
                *****

              • Joe America says:

                “Hard core leftists.” Spilt my mango juice. I think the CCT program is not trickle down, nor the widespread road construction projects. But for sure there is basically agribusiness malaise and no manufacturing to put jobs out. Just retail. Yes, wealth in the Philippines is certainly held at the top, and laws preserve that.

              • Joe America says:

                Gadzooks, my grammar teachers must have flinched on that paragraph.

    • Joe America says:

      He worked with the first companies to invest here to get them operational, formed an association of BPO operators, and was the main government official dealing with the industry (Sec of DTI). Others call him that, in the BPO business. I don’t think he claims that fame himself.

      Nice analysis. Roxas is from the elite class, indeed, but he does not behave that way, I think. The other pertinent question is, of course, what are the economic principles of Grace Poe and Jejomar Binay?

      • RHiro says:

        LOL, Poe and Binay are both clueless as to the existence of economic paradigms.

        Close relatives are investment bankers and Roxas was trained as one.. I have had the opportunity to be present and participated at small business forums and in congressional hearings where Roxas was presiding..

        He first of all he is honest to a fault. However his understanding of the problems of mal-development in the country was superficial at best. When he was DTI head he was already pushing for the complete liberalization of the Philippine economy. He was pushing hard for foreign ownership of land.

        He was reminded then that the country still had no effective land use policy, no zoning rules and the countries land registration was a mess. He was also reminded that we did have a long term lease for foreign investors and leases were already being accepted as collateral for mortgages.

        Also he was reminded that the insurgency still ongoing was caused by the land tenancy issues in the rural areas.

        He appeared clueless about the realities of Philippine political economy. I transcribe that to the fact that he remains to be in an elite bubble.

        History again is being retold that a high degree political and economic independence can only be achieved by armed struggle. The winner then imposes and organizes the State.

        Germany, France, U.S., England and now China.

        The change that will alter the structure will come from the bottom. It never comes from the top…

        • Joe America says:

          I appreciate the background. I wonder what his position will be on a comprehensive National Land Use Act. And foreign ownership. I think the foreign ownership limit is not such a big problem, as there are ways around it, as you say. My first property in the Philippines was purchased on my behalf and held under a trust agreement that instructed the owner to take direction from me on the property. No problem at all.

      • RHiro says:

        Ok now I know why you call him the “Father of the BPO” sector…. That title is misplaced though.

        The history of the DTI and its Board of Investments and their promotion of export or dollar earning pioneer industries has it roots in the law initiated by then Pres. Marcos.

        BP1789. This was done in the midst of a looming Balance of payments crisis in the early 80″s.. Different business sectors (both foreign and domestic) were encouraged to from associations to enable them to deal with the government for lobbying for fiscal incentives to enable them to quickly establish dollar earnings. The Export Processing Zones were then promoted to assist foreign investors.

        The BOI revises its list for incentives under the Industry Priorities Plan for the ever changing nature of business enterprises. Thus was born the car assemblers association, garment and textile associations,semiconductor producer associations, call center associations.

        The second important bill that Aquino wants pushed before he steps down is the Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives Act. After over 25 years of this there has been the government wants to make sure this subsidies are worth the expense to the treasury…

        Buildings built to house BPO’s were given Export Processing Zone status to avail them of tax breaks and duty and tax free importation of goods.
        Plus income tax breaks… naturally this helped produce part of the boom in real estate..

        Eastwood is one example…

        The other president who helped a great deal was Ramos… he said that the country could leapfrog into the Digital Age and need not worry about the first and second wave of economic development. Agriculture and Industrial development…

        Roxas like the good soldier that he is simply carried on with the same policy started earlier….

        Take note that the higher value added sectors in outsourcing, technical support, financial services support and software development that requires skilled workers all went to India that has high skills graduates of engineering, science and math.

        As far as the semiconductors and other digital hardware, this was directly a result of the Plaza Accords in 1985 when Japan started off-shoring their electronics sector to S.E.Asia
        and China.. This started the Asian electronic supply chain controlled by Japan, S. Korea
        and China…

        Now the country is suffering simply for the lack of foresight by the government. Food Clothing, Shelter..

        No economy the size of the Philippine population can afford to leapfrog into the digital age. Singapore is doing it really well. Small geographical area with small population…Their GDP with 5M outproduces us with 100M.

        The present Trade Secretary Domingo now has unveiled a new Car manufacturing program…After over 40 years we are back to that…It has been tried before but failed…

        • Joe America says:

          I think all the specific technicalities from here on forward will get lost in the general idea that Mar Roxas was instrumental in establishing the BPO industry, and, as the young AVP said in his speech today, “Thank you Sec. Roxas”. It’s a million jobs and P18 billion in revenue. I’m sure you would not expect him to decline to use it as a lever to beat on Poe and Binay about what real achievement means.

          • RHiro says:

            Election campaigning is not about prose but poetry…….

            That is what The Donald is using in the U.S. His first target undocumented immigrants…

            His audience the blue collar white man who believes the narrative that the illegals are major causes of their economic distress…

            He is demolishing the competition with inflamatory language.

            Many people believe that Hitler came to power because of German hyperinflation.

            He came into power during the height of the Great Depression, when Germans were suffering from serious economic distress.

            However here in the Philippines 80%+ of the voters will not care about BPO’s.

            The economics/ politics here is bread, rice and noodles plus load for today….

            The Daan Matuwid is meaningless….

            • Joe America says:

              Perhaps. I’d agree that they don’t care about BPO’s, but they do care about jobs. And one can be leveraged to speak about the other.

            • Oliver says:

              RHiro,

              You’re undoubtedly intelligent. You spew history and jargon like a master throws jabs, kicks, straights and a whole variety of fancy moves. My problem with your prose is that I do not see any proposed solution– except an observation by you that : “The change that will alter the structure will come from the bottom. It never comes from the top…”.

              Are you now saying that we as a people should bring about our own personal changes regardless of who our president may be? If that was your stand then I agree. As a simple citizen, and entrepreneur living in the thick of the middle class, I am starving for great leadership. However, I know fully well, the results I claim for myself in my life are my own responsibility. Neither I, or those less fortunate than I am, should have the time or luxury to blame the president for my misfortunes in life.

              But if no solution was given, then congratulations for giving an impressive summary on why I metaphorically wallow in feces. I’ve stopped reading many editorials of similar tone. It makes me feel like Jack Nicholson in the movie “As good as it gets” when he said: “I’m drowning here… and you’re describing the water!” However, if someone as learned as yourself starts proposing something, especially if a specific plan is bravely suggested, then you would certainly have my attention and respect.

              In my experience, it’s so much harder to put myself out there, campaign for a certain path and be made vulnerable to every person who has the gall or time to criticise me. (which I sincerely don’t mind when that other person’s suggestion makes so much more sense than mine.)

              I will defend my president with my own experience and the experience of other people I know.

              A Special Police Officer I know says that he and many of our policemen love PNoy because he was the only president to arm every policeman with his own sidearm. He’s even happier because it’s actually a decent piece of weapon– a Glock 9. It’s nothing short of ridiculous that we ask these honourable men to watch over our laws, lives and property with nothing but a stick. That he’s done this is a reflection of compassion to our police force and evidence of common sense.

              I’m a businessman. I have a construction company. During the past two presidencies, influence pedlars, project proponents and public officials lauded their connections, flaunted their influence and charged up the nose (or another body cavity) when talking about government projects. The attitude of such people was smug. I won’t say that such people are now gone but, nowadays, these people talk in whispers, find darker corners to do their business and charge low enough to avoid the radar. Some may see this as a small thing but, I assure you that the numbers involved have changed quite a bit.

              When China started bullying us with the reclamation and the threatening and the condescension, I was glad and proud that our president represented our interests in the international community and called out our allies to put money where their mouth was. And it infuriated me to read it when Alex Magno likened our position (and very directly, the PNoy’s position as well) to a crying baby (I’m paraphrasing because I do not have the article) demanding without discretion, or sophistication, or whatever condescending tone he always uses when talking about my president. Even now I find it hard to write without expletives. I mean we were being (expletive) bullied in our own (expletive) waters in plain (expletive) sight! And this (expletive) guy was ripping on the guy bravely defending us! Like what you said JoeAm, I can’t help but feel involved because at that time, I truly felt that my president had my back. I’d rather other people let him do his job and say thank you.

              I voted for PNoy in 2010 because I was so disgusted at what Arroyo did with her mandate. Yes she’s brilliant. Yes she brought about good changes. Yes PNoy should also acknowledge to a certain extent the contribution of past administrations. However, during her term belief in the Vote was seriously compromised and I felt that justice and democracy was being spat at. I voted for PNoy because I wanted to believe that our society was worth something and our government wasn’t a joke. With top officials being tried, corruption being brought out in the open (supposed selective justice or not), it is so much better than what was before. Let the crooks talk in the dark as they turn on one another. That’s where they should be talking; not parading their filth in the open.

              PNoy didn’t present himself as perfect, and I don’t see him that way. But I am grateful for what he’s done. I hope the next leader could do better.

              • Joe America says:

                Oliver, it is so refreshing to read that someone GETS IT, the sense of both personal accountability and willingness to grant accountability (and trust) to those who, from all evidence, will word earnestly in our behalf . . . even if making some decisions differently than we would. I get so frustrated with people who believe the President must attend to their specific needs. The media were PROMOTING this kind of thinking, asking people with vested interests what they (had the arrogant audacity to demand) expected the President to say in the SONA. Then when he did not deliver, they whined. It’s like the President, to be respected, has to deliver 100 million SONA speeches to get it exactly right. The quota of personal sacrifice for national good seems infinitesimal. Woe to any President who loses a military battle.

                You are welcome to submit a guest blog any time on any subject, if you can carve out the time from your schedule to write one.

              • RHiro says:

                CONTEXT CONTEXT CONTEXT

                Saw this quote in a good movie——-

                “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.”

                Raissa Robles described the speech of the president as political theater…

                He has an automatic platform whenever he speaks…

                The Donald meanwhile who wants to be president of the U.S.A. has come out swinging….

                “The American dream is dead” and “the US is going to hell” “The bridges are falling apart. The roads are falling apart. The airports look like hell. Look, I come back from places like Qatar, Dubai, where everything is unbelievable. Then, we land at LaGuardia or Kennedy or LAX, and it’s Third World,”
                “Don’t believe 5.6 percent,” Trump declared during his announcement as a candidate for the Presidency, “The real unemployment rate is 18 to 20 percent.”

                His negative message about the conditions in American society is clearly targeted to the disappearing middle class. It is resonating since the middle class is being dismantled…

                It is a very pointed reminder of “its the economy stupid.”

                I do not dwell on personalities… I look at the economic policy that drives Philippine society.

                It is economics first that creates the politics of the country….The problems of this country are 99.9 percent economic problems….

                The three urgent bills the president wants passed, namely BBL, rationalization of fiscal incentives and legislation on political dynasties…

                The roots causes all are economic….

                Neo-liberal economics, Washington Consensus, trickle down economics, free market fundamentalism and unbridled capitalism are all one and the same economic policy…

                It essentially is anti-statist and calls for private capture of most state functions except external defense…Look the rich in this country live behind gated enclaves with their own security force…

                Even Singapore and HK do not follow the anti -statist ideology…

                I do not speak of what I have done or am doing for this country…

                The government functionaries here have redefined unemployment to mean what they want it to mean… Who would believe that in a country with a population of 100M of a Labor force of close to 65M and a labor market participation rate of 65% we only have 2.5 M unemployed….Are they nuts?

                My simple suggestion for Binay or if Poe want to be president is to attack the Aquino government for failing to spread the benefits of this exclusive economy….If Binay gets elected it will make for interesting times…As Lenin once said, the worse the better…Success is more often the child of failure…

                My beef with this government and the past one is dogmatically following an economic paradigm that has already proven wrong….

                Look at our neighbors and how they play the pragmatic card…

                The President of Indonesia recently asked the Chinese government whom Pnoy called NAZI’s to use Indonesia as their production base and expressed agreement to be part of China’s Maritime Silk Route. Almost the entire Indonesian archipelago is adjacent to the strategic Strait of Malacca. Meanwhile Thailand governed by their military has expressed an intent to buy Chinese submarines… Thailand and Malaysia are on board to link their railroads with the New Silk Road
                which will link the entire Eurasian land mass.

                I agree with the Philippines filing the arbitration case but we shit the door to negotiations under any circumstance…No Plan B.

                “It is the economy stupid”

              • @ RHiro

                “If Binay gets elected it will make for interesting times…As Lenin once said, the worse the better…Success is more often the child of failure…”

                I don’t know…maybe I’m a bit dense at this very moment, but I get the feeling that you are a left leaning guy, just as I suspect Binay is, too, what with the deafening silence of the left leaning groups who tried ineffectively to criticize him (for show, or a token one) but get back at blaming Pinoy in the next breath, and their representative in the HR (the Makabayan kuno bloc) who rudely raised their prepared placard that mouthed Binay’s “manhid palpak” slogan during the last SONA. And all are in favor of joining China in whatever she is doing in the whole of Asia. China is like Binay, trying to bribe the ASEAN countries with whatever they want just to… to… to what? Be quiet about her sea grabbing in the West Philippine Seas, putting up military installations right in our own EEZ? Binay and the leftists are one in their adoration of China? These leftists want the government to fail so the communist can come in and effect the radical changes that they are espousing.

                I could be wrong, in fact, I would like to be wrong or we are in trouble should Binay win…. Heaven forbid… God have mercy.

              • Oliver says:

                @ Joe America

                I am equally “refreshed” to read that someone shares my sentiments especially on leadership and accountability. Your voice mirrored my unexpressed convictions. It gave me permission to speak of gratitude and optimism when it seemed more popular to tear someone down and complain. (I suspect it would be increasingly so in the months to come.)

                Thank you for the invitation to continue writing on your blog. I certainly will.

  17. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Inspirational.

    2. I count that the word “Filipino” occurs 3 times in the post. Twice by JoeAm and once in the quoted SONA.

    3. People are usually proud of their nationality. It’s strange that the word “Filipino” and its variations – Filipina, Pinoy – carry a derogatory connotation. As in a Filipina is a maid, and in the expression “Ang Pinoy nga naman.”

    4. What is stranger is that Filipinos themselves use the word in this derogatory sense. When Australians see other Australians doing something bad, they say it is un-Australian. When Americans see other Americans doing something they don’t like, they say it is un-American. When Filipinos see other Filipinos doing something illegal, they say “Pinoy talaga.”

    5. Why do we disparage ourselves so? It is time to change this mindset. It is time to be proud to be a Filipino. And it is time to bring into use the term “un-Filipino.”

    o Corruption is un-Filipino.
    o Selling/buying votes is un-Filipino.
    o Being lazy is un-Filipino.
    o Being an arrogant thieving politician and creating a dynasty is un-Filipino.

    Conversely,

    o Being a good citizen is Filipino.
    o Being a good singer is Filipino.
    o Being a good worker is Filipino.
    o Being truthful, kind and compassionate is Filipino.

    6. As individuals and as a people, let us speak, act and live in such a manner that we can truly say with bursting pride in our hearts, “Ako ay Filipino.”
    *****

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Let me step down from the soapbox, and say that this has been an exciting journey… in virtual space.
      *****

      • Edgar, am also a fan of yours…always looking forward to your contribution ..thoroughly enjoying your journey in the blogosphere! I hope I get the chance to meet you too in person. Of course with JoeAm… if possible. Not with a glass of beer.. Hahaha maybe tuba!

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Thanks, Melanie. It’s wonderful — isn’t it? — that there can be a meeting of minds in virtual space. Something impossible 20 years ago. Virtual camaraderie feels as real as college friendships… perhaps more so as we share thoughts and feelings of the better angels of our nature. Ideal thoughts and feelings that we may not even communicate with our better halves… unless we are very fortunate. In this sense, perhaps we “know” each other better than real relationships, and it is natural to want to meet in person. I’ll drink to that… with my mug of Ovaltine.
          *****

        • Bert says:

          Aba, aba, aba, sama ako riyan. Energen ang aking inumin., :).

          • Hahaha, yes of course Bert! Am not kidding. Will be visiting Phil soon. Hope to see you there too. Would be nice to put a face on the name!! Am not sure about energen tho. Wala sa Amin niyan eh😉

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              Energen? Isn’t that a baby formula?
              *****

              • We have enerlyte, use as fluid and electrolyte replacement for people with gastroenteritis. Tastes yummy but good for you. Haha.

              • Bert says:

                No, Edgar, not a baby formula. It comes in pocket of one serving/cup, chocolate or vanilla flavor, just add water in a cup. With cereal in it, too, I think it’s oat. I love the choco flavor, good for the heart I guess. Works for me.

      • Joe America says:

        Ah, but you orate so finely, edgar. I do think that what President Aquino referred to as his transformation agenda will bring a more positive reading of things. I hope so. The suspicions and negativity are a little much some days.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      What are the main characteristics that Filipino is identified that makes them called a Filipino?
      1. Anti-Corruption but corrupt
      2. Anti Vote Selling but sell anyways
      3. Anti Vote buying but sell anyways
      4. Anti-Dynasty but vote Dynasties
      5. Whatever the Filipinos say it is always the opposite
      6. That is why they are called derogatorily called FLIPS because they are always on the Flipside of everything

      If Filipinos become not corrupt
      If Filipinos do not sell votes
      If Filipinos do not buy votes
      If Filipinos vote for alternatives
      If Filipinos are honest
      If Filipinos stop at a STOP sign
      If Filipinos stand before the yellow line
      If Filipinos do not “psssst”

      What becomes of them? they are not Filipinos anymore. They lose their essential character of being Filipino.

      Let us think what we should be called. The Societals

      • Joe America says:

        Nice conclusion. I imagine a nation of citizens sipping afternoon tea with the pinky raised.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Mariano,

        It’s a cliche but… if your are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.

        You represent, if I may use the new term, the un-Filipino.
        *******

      • cjm says:

        Mariano, I can’t resist suggesting a common trait to your list “Ïf Filipinos do not use their snout in pointing directions”.
        Well, my take on this issue is that if our president introduced his name as “Pnoy Aquino” after getting elected (sometimes Penoy to his critics); this is ,to me, a clear acceptance of the on going norm. A norm that is, again to me, not offensive but rather individualistic as a nation. Like a Flip Nation or Pinoy Nation. Iba talaga.

  18. Gener Geneta says:

    I was also delighted when I heard the President mentioning your name. I’m proud because I’m a reader of this blog and I’m an admirer both of you and the President.

  19. chempo says:

    For Philippines to “soar ” in 10 years time, I think 2 things need to happen. The Administration needs to continue on the straight path AND a societal change in moral norms and discipline must go hand-in-hand. Only then can we see a new Philippines that one can be proud of.

    Much has been said about governance. But how does one go about changing Filipino moral and discipline. I am no expert in this and offers nothing here. This in itself is one whole big topic that perhaps Joe can pick up after you’re done with politiking.

    Jean said :

    To elect a President with impeccable integrity, and to help him carry the load as best we can.”
    ———–

    At the micro level, every individual Filipino has a role to play. Thus my insert on norms and discipline. To illustrate — I come from a land where we don’t litter. But it’s tough finding a trash can when you need it, even here in Makati. So I do admit there were times when I too contributed to the clogging of the drains. Once I was with my girl friend (a wonderful and beautiful lady from Paranaque) and after failing to find a trashcan, in exasperation I was about to throw some sweet wrappers away. She stopped me and gently took the wrappers from my hands, folded them nicely, and placed them in her handbag. She said she will dispose of it at her convenience. I was ashamed of myself and exceedingly proud of her. It’s no exaggeration that every one has a role to play.

    • Joe America says:

      Everyone, yes, and the first step is to get that awareness of “social duty” out there.

    • Jean says:

      @ chempo

      Actually, that was an excerpt taken from Joe’s article. I only wish I were that eloquent and concise.

      I like your trail of thought. I think if I were to follow that to it’s end, I would see a society which does not look to the president to fix things rather to “caretake” a nation’s will.

      May I live long enough to see that come true.

  20. Juan Masipag says:

    I like to thank you Joe for being as determined as President Noy is, you like the president see things in a different perspective and was persistent enough to pursue that dream, the impossible dream for the Filipinos, your blog has been an oasis for a lot of Filipinos like me who found a sanctuary for an equal opportunity and unbiased intellectual discussion. Like they always say to most foreigners like you “Mabuhey!” Mabuhay ka JoeAm! Salamat!

  21. chico says:

    i have to a great degree agreed with your views.. regardless of agreement or disagreement please continue to present issues in the most rational way you can! philippine democracy needs it

    • Joe America says:

      It’s interesting, Chico. I’ve been thinking about that. Disagreement ought to be looked at as a learning opportunity. Not a need to defend one’s esteem. I think I need to get that into a blog. Thanks for crystallizing the thought.

  22. Jasmin G says:

    Now I’m resisting the urge to ask for your autograph, Joe. Oh Pnoy, look what you’ve done?! Hehe. Seriously, hope your readership will increase a thousand-fold after the special mention. I’m starting to have separation anxiety knowing that Pnoy will be stepping down after a few months. Please, please Pinas, don’t get the next presidential elections wrong. Choose integrity and selfless public service above anything else. For Daang Matuwid to continue, we all know who to vote for.

    • Joe America says:

      Maybe I can do a selfie, eh? I’ll need a proper mask, of course. Then send it to you . . . 🙂

      I think the nation will miss Mr. Aquino big time, and that indeed may get Mar Roxas elected.

      • Sal E. says:

        JoeAm, something tells me Mr. Aquino is not going to just ride off into the sunset after 2016. I think his heart is truly with the Filipino people and will stay backstage after his term and continue to water the “…tree he has planted whose shade he knows he shall never sit in” (old Greek proverb used by Canada’s PM to praise the work of PNoy).

  23. sonny says:

    Well, Joe. You are everything the Society members have let you know. One of my best metaphors I have already used, the flywheel. Even so, I hope you’ll still accept a used tribute, you are our Philippine Flywheel, you with the golden synchromesh gearbox. Simply the Good Guy. 🙂

  24. Ford says:

    Good read. Thanks JoeAm!! Every single words in your blog really makes sense. People would not get bored reading your blog from start to end. Because at the end of it. It is eye-opening and something we can learn too. Mabuhay Ka!!

  25. i7sharp says:

    This is the tail end of the blog article:
    x-
    If we do those two things, the Philippines, in 10 years, will not be rising.

    She will be soaring.
    -x

    … and the very last word is:
    “soaring”

    The word brought to mind the Philippine Eagle, the national bird:

    http://j.mp/i7pe-v7
    (Soon to be unfettered?)

    Some people like to call the country “The New Asian Tiger.”

    Should it not, hopefully very soon, be called …
    “The World’s Eagle”?

    Let our hopes soar with the eagle:

    http://j.mp/i7pe-v8

    i7sharp

    • chempo says:

      @ i7sharp on “The New Asian Tiger”

      Sorry to douse the idea with a little cold water. At the time when Sokor, Taiwan, HK and Singapore were Asian Tigers, the economic take-off was very evident and growth was very inclusive. I remembered those good old days. Consumerism was at it’s height. Employment at it’s peak. Under Aquino, Philippines has definitely done much better, economy has improved tremendously, but I don’t think it is anywhere near the take-off point yet. Businessmen are more optimistic, but I don’t get the impression that the impact has trickled down to barangay levels just yet.

      Under the Rostovian model for economic take-off, growth must be lead by some individual sectors, those with the competitive advantages. I can only see one such sector in Philippines, that is the BPO. In my eyes, it is absolutely the right thing to do for Phils to continue to build up the BPO industry. Philippines need more sectors to drive the economy forward.

      There is still a long way to go to reach the point of economic take-off. Much needs to be done and Aquino has already done some of the ground work. The push for FOI and economic changes in the constitution, foreign banks full ownership, RP bill etc these are some of the moves. Another one is the K-12 (way too late in my view, from the perspective of Asean Economic Co-op). All these things that Aquino has done, he has a vision for the future. Too bad lots of Filipinos do not understand.

  26. leo says:

    Why I like reading here… my sentiments
    1. It’s the people who give sound, different views but most often respectful of each other. Taught me tolerance.
    2. that a foreigner appreciates my country more (than me) and point out good things that I do not or fail to see. It shames me sometimes. I think when you met your wife must be love at first sight.
    3. the (now getting) long list of equally brilliant regulars that I always look forward to – josephivo, andrew, edgar, ireneo, johnny, jameboy, gian, sonny, nhererra, micha, rhiro, and mrp… hope juana and cha comes back… the bright and always sharp guys who question, challenge and allows things be clearer to (people like) me bert, mary, karl, chit…
    4. the eloquence, literary gems and words that are good to the ears and the… soul? Your better than many of them priest…hh .. and the wealth of ideas..
    5. self-reflection… the blog as a mirror.
    6. And most importantly what attracts me here is the goodness that emanates from your writings (Edgar, sonny) and the society too. Is it just good intention? I don’t know but I’ve been reading you for many years now. You must be a good man…
    You and Raissa have made a blueprint for a blogsite Joe…. must be taxing for you… hope many brilliant Filipinos will follow you and make blogs just like this.
    I often have my lunch here in my favorite carenderia….very good meals here not much fat…
    To Joe and the rest, thanks for the inspiration… am not good at expressing myself so hiding now under the blanket after posting.. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      Trust me, leo, you express yourself beautifully. What a wonderful tribute to the WHOLE of this blog, which indeed is the discussion and the brains, heart and . . . yes . . . soul within. You can come out from the blanket now. So you can write some more . . .

    • Bert says:

      leo, get out of that mushy blanket right now and save electricity, hear? :). And give us more of that very nice insights of yours. :).

    • Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

      @ leo

      My passion and enthusiasm in my advocacies are what drives me to contribute in this worthy blog…they tolerate my frequent typos, repetitive and circuituous way of saying things so I go ahead as time and iternet connection permit…Don’t ever hesitate to contribute here, I think everyone is welcome here except those who trollishly engage in personal attacks. I’ve been a follower a while back, and had later got enough courage to join in the fruitful discussions here.

  27. A very good read! I’m now one of your followers 🙂

  28. Tony Valenciano y Quevedo says:

    The last “state of the nation ” address of Pres. Aquino is a report card of what he thought what his school examination requires to pass it. Well it is not a school exam he was enrolling in; because when he ran for the position of President the problems the Republic was facing needed managing with skills of a manager and a politician, an economist, conversant with nuances of geo-politics with a good grasp of military skills all rolled into one job. It is all about governance, of deciding on priorities, of being efficient and effective in pursuing those priorities. All for the good of the country and never for the praises of his peers. I am very disappointed with his presidency a waste of time and energy all fury signifying nothing.

    • Sal E. says:

      To a retired corporate guy like me the SONA was very similar to CEOs’ presentations during annual shareholder’s meetings I have attended. PNoy’s target audience was the shareholders… his “bosses”. I thought it was an excellent summary of a 5-year turnaround effort and the path to being a first world country.

    • Jellybean says:

      I agree with you Mr. Tony Valenciano. I am not fully convinced, there is still doubt in my mind…with all the sadness, I like the President but he still lack the intellegence of a human. He don’t have a heart. Mr. Joe Am is a banana !

    • Joe America says:

      Have you worked in a corporation, Tony? The disciplines they deploy are the same used by Mr. Aquino. Establish a plan to set priorities, make them measurable, delegate follow through, track results, make adjustments when falling behind. The results are there. Steady growth, financial improvement, infrastructure investments, rising on every global performance index, amazing progress. I sense that you may not understand the challenges or complexity of running a nation.

    • Eh di wow! Kayo na ang perfect. Try running for President. Get yourself elected. I bet my bottom dollar, you will eat your negative words. Who among the past presidents possesses ALL the characteristics that you’re looking for? No One. Nobody. No one will ever measure up to your standards. To a person who has such negativity, no one will ever meet your expectations. Nothing and no one will please you. The President is not a robot. It’s a thankless job — you get blamed for every little thing (baka pati sirang sahig sa Malacanang kasalanan mo parin). Damn if you do, damn if you don’t. The ambition to become a President is NOT ENOUGH. You don’t run for the prestige, for the title and the perks (But sadly, that is the case for those few people we know). Give him credit because he deserves it. Our President is not corrupt and he damn works his butt off to get things done, given his limitations and our limited resources. Too bad he can’t be in so many places at the same time. Knowing his work ethics, if that is possible, he would have done that. I can sleep at night assured that my President is not robbing me off of my hard-earned tax money while I’m sleeping. Opposition is good. That’s a sign of a healthy democracy. Criticism is good, but make it constructive criticism at that. But if you criticize without providing solutions, then you’re just adding up to the problem. You are part of the problem actually. And who does have a heart? Binay? Escudero? Poe? Que horror! And who is banana in truth? Yeah, this very same people. Sarili muna nila bago tayo.

      • OzyBoy says:

        Simple lang. Give credit where credit is due. Philippines under Pnoy vastly improved, just look at the new roads, and I’m really impressed how disaster preparedness is now in the subconscious of every Pnoy (thanks to improving Pag-asa, barangays watching the backs of their residents, etc, under PNoy’s watch). Those who do not see the NEW PHILIPPINES will not see any improvements because these people are the ones wearing blinders.

      • Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

        @ /iamdramaprincess

        My sentiments exactly…those words were the ones I attempted to post that night of the last SONA, had to stop when dolor de corazon comes a knockin….thanks for expressing what I failed to post.

    • leo says:

      Few thoughts.
      I’m confused with what you mean because what your looking for is just there in front of you. Yes we thought he was just like the rest of them but he proved to be a very good manager. What I like about his presidency is that most of the problems that troubled his administration comes from the outside – Mamasapano, Yolanda, the bus crises, Zamboanga, China and not borne from the inside – yes, PDAF? but these problem has been brewing all along only to surface at (the right) his time brought by a bad system that we have.
      Few questions, how will you explain the growing economy that we have? the improved ratings we get from international agencies – Fitch, Moodys, IIF, IMF etc?
      If others will discount that this improvement is not brought upon by his admin but from GMA, well he has improved it much more and better. Often I wonder how this admin has not been down to its knees when it is the only one I can remember that has been so much tested – Zamboanga, Mamasapano China etc. probably because we have someone we can truly trust at the helm.
      This is actually the first time that I feel the government seems to be “working” as one. And the first time it seems to hear a lot of its people from long years of neglect. Much faster and more efficient, still a long way to go but better.
      His achievements for me more importantly are (other than the things mentioned by many):
      1. for bringing TRUST back to our government.
      2. that there is such a thing as good incorruptible politician. I think he’s the first one seen by many in the position in such a long, long time.
      3. And for bringing trust in ourselves as Filipinos.
      btw… in his term, after so many presidents 80% of the national highway here in the island where I live is now cemented. I think should be completed but we have the greedy local lords too. The LGU just received 10M for an evacuation center project. LGU seems busy. Hope things are going to be better.

      • chempo says:

        and Leo, may I add:
        4. for alleviating the standing of Philippines in the eyes of other countries.

        A few days ago I noticed a classified ad for a temp Auditor placed by a Czech organisation. They wanted their project in the Yolanda aftermath audited after having completed it. This is the first time I see a donor body doing this and it’s a sad commentary on the country. Let’s hope Philippines continue on it’s right path and no more Czech mates in future.

  29. Ace N. Chang says:

    never a dull brain cell when reading your posts. Salamat.

  30. Tambay says:

    I felt a lump in my throat after reading this since it’s exactly how I feel about PNOY but just expressed in a much better way. Sometimes I wish you were a Filipino Citizen so people won’t be in such a haste to judge the source of such inspiring words to become a better Pinoy/Pinay in terms of appreciating and seeing what we have as our President. Congratulations again with PNOY’s mention of your blog. Truly deserved from my humble opinion. Keep it up!

  31. Rowell says:

    Thanks for supporting Pnoy..he is really a good and sincere person..i wish all of us could like you and not a crab mentality..I love Philippines, my beloved country.

    Keep up the good work and God bless

  32. lawrence ingaran says:

    Sad to say but media have 2 faces, one is for the service and truth and the other is for business. Some of them mastered the art of extortion. Most of them knew how to dribble the ball. All of them influenced every Filipinos while watching or listening in their homes.

  33. ffziebert says:

    This part…

    “A good President MUST be strong and emotionless. The rest of us are allowed to go ballistic, to rant and weep and blame. To tear our hair out and kick the dog. The President has no such luxury. He must take a life-or-death decision on hostages (Zamboanga) and say, without flinching, “no negotiations”. He must face the raging mobs of Hong Kong (bus incident) or a ranting Taiwanese President (shooting of a fisherman) and calmly explain what will happen and why. He must face down China and say, firmly, “let’s look at the laws”. He must bear up under the pressure of a dozen tabloid media outlets looking for every flaw, conflict or flub, and he must put up with a set of bosses who want every decision made THEIR way, and ONLY their way. He must deal patiently with insults and lies from crooks and the politically desperate rather than go down into the mud with them.
    The burdens one man is asked to carry . . .”

    …crystalizes my thoughts for me and is a nugget of wisdom I can take with me. Thanks JoeAm.

    • Joe America says:

      Yep, it really is a tough job. During some of those crises, Mar Roxas was beside him (zamboanga). VP Binay was causing problems (wanting to negotiate). Grace Poe was not around.

  34. I am very proud of you, Joe. You deserve to be mentioned by the President in his SONA.

    The countless hours you dedicated in this readworthy blog, together with your genuine and unwavering belief in the goodness of the Philippines and the Filipinos, is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you, Joe, for being a person of great discernment, probity and magnanimity.

  35. Arnold quinzon says:

    A few good men , great men, rich men, powerful men or perhaps presidents, so to speak , dreams of the straight path that the current administration wants to take as their route to change for the future of this nation, i am so proud that one man does and thats my president ….and yes your right joe it is not also my style to blame him in every bit of recent crisis that comes along …but to pray for him to have a wisdom and a good judgement in every way, concerning the country ….i like to thank him for being genuine in every way ….truthfully it is in his administration alone that many plunderers , liars and corrupt public officials come to light in the public eyes and go to jail….thank you also joe to putting it into perspective and in writing, to honor and confirmed the man , for the LOVE of the country.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m suspecting that, in time, he might read through these comments, Arnold. Hahahah, it might have to wait until late 2016, but he’ll eventually pick up your good wishes.

  36. cha says:

    I wish you were really one of the President’s speechwriters as the fertile imaginations of some ‘conspiracy theorists’ have recently concocted. Those last lines about not simply rising but soaring to great heights, that would have made Aquino’s last SONA fly. (And I say that not for humorous effect.) I raise this not as a criticism of the speech but as perhaps an afterthought, a kind of lightbulb moment that comes to one after doing good or witnessing something done well and then realizing there is a way that could have made it even better.

    I understand that that speech was basically written by the President himself and it does have that feel. Like the President himself, it had chutzpah, full of personal confidence and courage to speak the truth. His truth. Like him too, it is a message and the embodiment of the collective hope that the Filipino people have found once again after more than a decade of a seeming helplessness and desolation. And like he has done consistently in the ladt five years, it is an acknowledgement of the people’s power to create their own future. The power is in your hands, the President’s very closing words were.

    The President though, as I think about it now, could have gone a step further, from a message of hope to one of empowerment. From inspiring to actually coaching. From Pointing out the way to pointing out the way to do it. From saying ‘we can do it’ to ‘we can do it by….’ .

    And that’s where your own closing in this blog comes in. You point out the need to channel our emotions ‘into introspection and confidence and growth rather than criticism and insecurity and tearing down’. You tell us we need to ‘elect a President with impeccable integrity’ but you also impress upon us the necessity of helping him ‘carry the load as best as we can’. And that is what it would take for us to fully realize our nation’s potential, from rising to soaring as you so elegantly put. That is how we control the future. Imagine that or some-such message spoken in President Aquino’s own unique style,. That Congress Hall would have risen to its feet, I daresay.

    Again I say, not criticising here. But simply considering the possibilities.

    • Joe America says:

      I draw two points from that, actually, Cha. One is the need for reflection among Filipinos about how to help rather than tear down. And another is how to be motivational, which is one part the words and one part charisma, perhaps. I’ve come to just like President Aquino, period. But maybe we can work on Mar Roxas to get him campaigning in the style of which you speak. I’m also wondering who wrote the President’s speech to the Japanese Diet, which was absolutely brilliant, and DID get the rousing, stand-up finish. The SONA was so long and exhausting, I think the President and his audience were both worn out, but appreciative. I had no trouble paying attention the whole time because of the style and exhibits and meaningful points.

      • cha says:

        “But maybe we can work on Mar Roxas to get him campaigning in the style of which you speak.”

        Yes! Moving forward. That’s our motto.

        • cha says:

          From testimonials from people whose lifestories changed because of what the government has done for them (as was done quite well in the recent SONA) to affirmations from those who have worked hand in hand with the government or even on their own and achieved extraordinary results that benefitted their communities and achieved a greater good.

          Like the local government of Iloilo and the national government pitching in and and transforming Iloilo into one of the more beautiful and liveable cities probably in the cpuntry at the moment. Like the young people and business leaders behind bantay.ph who are keeping some local governments on their toes with their monitoring and reporting of how some basic operations are conducted. Like the so many netizens who take on the ‘kotong’ cops by capturing them on video and exposing them in social media.

          So many more doers and movers who can be tapped to paint a picture of a dynamic and ‘can do’ nation where doing the right thing is no longer the exception but the norm.

          How does that sound as one of the key messages of the Roxas campaign strategy?

  37. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “… Benigno Aquino III is poised to formally anoint Interior Secretary Mar Roxas as his chosen successor on Friday … ”

    Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/708837/aquino-set-to-anoint-roxas-on-friday-lp-exec#ixzz3hJnrRaym

    Inquirer is saying THERE WILL BE NO ELECTION. Because Benigno has appointed a successor.

    Am I Englischtzes nitpicker? Or, is there truth that lies in the news that insinuates a coup? Because Binay is still a rock star.

  38. jorel says:

    thanks joeam…a must read article!

  39. Johnny Lin says:

    Joeam
    true reason why PNoy mentioned Joeam in his SONA

    PNoy is a foreign movie addict, his latest favorite is titled
    The Honest Liar starring James Randi
    The poster of the leading man’s facial feature reminds him of Joeam.

    Google the poster and compare with avatar of Joeam or search Netflix movies
    Doppelgänger -surreal movie title and PNoy recognition of JoeAm
    Coincidence?

    He he he

      • Johnny Lin says:

        Joeam

        With all the accolades, I know you can squeeze in your spirit that doppelgänger pun.

        Nevertheless, I could say I have interacted in your blog for years and truly believe that your admiration on the honesty, integrity and capability of PNoy is deep your heart and mind. You have not only defended and praised him but also thread indefensible matters he was embroiled into like his fondness of keeping his friends in tow. To that I salute your steadfastness.

        Maybe, we the voters in 2016 will be rubbed by your unblemished loyalty to him in supporting his anointed candidates. That, would become the greatest accomplishment of his last SONA.

        Keep sending that Kickapoo juice to PNoy
        He he he

  40. Abby says:

    Wow! Very nice article! This is worth sharing…

  41. joe, i agree to your brand of patriotism. thank you for putting into words what i have in my mind and heart.

  42. So you are the “Joe America” the President referred to!

    Sir, my hat’s off to you …. for to earn someone’s unwavering trust is the best compliment someone could earn!

    May you live long and prosper sir!

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I’m that guy, Antonski. I rather think a lot of people fall into camps, pro-Aquino, anti-Aquino, and then spend six years defending their viewpoint. My base is Pro-Philippines, and not political, and the President simply falls into the category of being very good for the nation. So I say that, and I think he appreciates it because it comes from a non-political observer. So it means something.

  43. RHiro says:

    I pray for your indulgence in allowing me to present an actual Presidential candidate offering himself to his bosses and his campaign platform…. Please take note this is the U.S.A.

    He has very little chance of making it but he may force the front runner Hillary who is backed by the corporates of tempering her policies…

    We are eons away from such a struggle while the class war here is more serious and there is actually no one addressing the more serious issues.

    Let Me Be Very Blunt and Tell You Why I Am Running

    By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

    28 July 15

    Let me be very blunt and tell you why I am running.

    This country faces more serious problems today than at any time in modern history, and establishment politics will not successfully resolve them.

    Corporate greed is rampant, and the very rich keep growing richer while everyone else grows poorer. Despite an explosion in technology and a huge increase in productivity, the middle class continues to disappear, most Americans work longer hours for lower wages, and 45 million live in poverty.

    The skyrocketing level of income and wealth inequality is not only grotesque and immoral, it is economically unsustainable. It is unconscionable that 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%. It is absurd that the top one-tenth of 1% own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, and that one family (the Waltons of Walmart) has more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans.

    As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, the billionaire class is spending huge amounts of money to buy candidates and elections. We are now witnessing the undermining of American democracy and the rapid movement toward oligarchy where a handful of very wealthy families and their Super PACs will control our government.

    The scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and is already bringing catastrophic damage to our planet. Yet, the Republican Party is prepared to reject science in order to gain campaign contributions from the Koch brothers, Big Energy companies and others who make billions on fossil fuels. If we do not act boldly on climate change, the planet we leave to our grandchildren may be uninhabitable.

    The United States once led the world in terms of the percentage of our young people who had college degrees. Today, in a highly competitive global economy, we are now in 12th place. Hundreds of thousands of bright young people have given up on the dream of higher education, while millions of others leave school with oppressive debt.

    Our infrastructure — roads, bridges, rail, airports, water systems, wastewater plants, levees, dams — is crumbling, and Congress refuses to appropriate anywhere near the necessary funds to rebuild it. If we do not invest substantially in infrastructure, a bad situation will only become much worse.

    Despite substantial gains, we still have a long way to go to achieve equality for minorities. Instead of investing in opportunities, we are locking people up at an incredible rate. We now have the highest incarceration rate in the entire world with over 2 million in prison and millions more on probation or parole. We have a broken immigration system that divides families and keeps millions of hard-working people in the shadows.

    Most of the major Wall Street financial institutions that we bailed out because they were “too big to fail,” are now bigger than they used to be. The six largest financial institutions now have assets equivalent to nearly 60% of our GDP, issue 35% of the mortgages, and oversee 65% of credit cards.

    Our tax system is wildly unfair – rigged to benefit the very rich. Major corporations that earn billions in profits stash their money in tax havens and pay nothing in federal income taxes, while billionaire hedge fund managers pay a lower effective tax rate than nurses or teachers.

    Despite growing poverty among seniors, almost all Republicans, and some Democrats, want to cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans. They want more austerity for the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, and more tax breaks for the rich.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. The United States spends more on the military than the next nine biggest-spending countries combined. Today, there are massive cost over-runs with defense contractors and the Pentagon cannot even pass an independent audit.

    We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to change that reality.

    Let’s be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: “Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”

    I have discussed some of the major crises that we face. Let me give you the outline of an agenda which addresses these problems.

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The truth is that real unemployment in our country is not the “official” and widely-reported 5.4 percent. Counting those who are underemployed and those who have given up looking for work, real unemployment is almost 11 percent. Even more disturbingly, real unemployment for white and Hispanic youth is over 30 percent, while African-American youth unemployment is over 50 percent.

    We need a major federal jobs program. The most effective way to do that is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. To do that, I have introduced legislation which would invest $1 trillion over 5 years to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure. This would create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs. It would also make our country more productive, efficient and safe.

    As a member of Congress who voted against NAFTA, CAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China (PNTR) and is helping to lead the opposition against the TPP, I will continue my opposition to trade policies which have cost us millions of decent paying jobs as corporate America shuts down plants here and moves them to low-wage countries.

    Raising Wages: Today, millions of Americans are working for starvation wages and median family income has declined by almost $5,000 since 1999. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is totally inadequate. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage – $15 an hour over the next few years. Our goal must be that no full-time worker in this country lives in poverty. We must also bring about pay equity for women. There is no rational reason why women should be earning 78 cents on the dollar compared to men who perform the same work.

    Further, we need to implement “family values” for American working families. It is unacceptable that the United States is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee family and medical leave, sick time and paid vacations.

    Wealth and Income Inequality: Today, the richest 400 Americans own over $2.2 trillion in wealth, more than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. Meanwhile, nearly half of all Americans have less than $10,000 in savings and have no idea how they will be able to retire with dignity.

    In order to reverse the massive transfer of wealth and income from the middle class to the very rich that we have seen in recent years, we need real tax reform which makes the wealthy and profitable corporations begin to pay their fair share of taxes. It is fiscally irresponsible that the U.S. Treasury loses about $100 billion a year because corporations and the rich stash their profits in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other tax havens.

    We need a tax system which is fair and progressive. Children should not go hungry in this country while profitable corporations and the wealthy avoid their tax responsibilities.

    Reforming Wall Street: I have introduced legislation which would break up the largest financial institutions in the country. In my view, if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself investing trillions in risky financial instruments. We need banks that invest in the job-creating productive economy. We do not need more speculation and gambling in casino-type activities.

    Campaign Finance Reform: We need to return to a one-person, one-vote democracy. It is not acceptable that the Koch brothers and other billionaires are spending endless sums of money to buy elections. I have introduced legislation which would overturn the horrendous Citizens United decision and will only appoint Supreme Court justices who are prepared to do that. We must also demand disclosure of all large campaign contributions. Long term, we need to move to public funding of elections.

    Fighting Climate Change: The United States must lead the world in reversing climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal and other forms of sustainable energy. Transforming our energy system will not only protect the environment, it will create good-paying jobs.

    Health Care for All: The United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all as a right. Despite the modest gains of the Affordable Care Act, 35 million Americans continue to lack health insurance and many more are under-insured. Yet, we continue paying far more per capita for health care than any other nation. The United States must move toward a Medicare-for-All single-payer system.

    Protecting Our Most Vulnerable: Today, the United States has more people living in poverty than at almost any time in the modern history of our country. We have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major nation, and millions of seniors and people with disabilities struggle to put food on the table because of insufficient Social Security benefits.

    In my view, we have a moral responsibility to make certain that no American goes hungry or sleeps on the street. We must also make certain that seniors and people with disabilities can live in dignity. Not only must we vigorously oppose Republican attacks on the social safety net, we must expand benefits for those most in need. That is why I have recently introduced legislation which would extend the solvency of Social Security until 2065, while increasing benefits for those most in need.

    Expanding Opportunity and Equality: We need to stop using prisons as a response to poverty. Our criminal justice system needs to be reformed so that we do not continue to house non-violent offenders at huge expense when that money could be used to rebuild communities and create opportunity. We need federal leadership to reform policing in America, to end racial profiling, and to fight the illegal activities of hate groups. We need comprehensive immigration reform that protects families and leads to a responsible and realistic path to citizenship.

    Dismantling Structural Racism: Throughout much of our history, the elite in America has divided people along racial lines in an effort to consolidate wealth and power. We need to simultaneously address the structural and institutional racism which exists in this country while at the same time vigorously attacking the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality which is making the very rich much richer, and everyone else – especially the African-American community – much poorer. Meanwhile, too many people of color in this country find themselves subjected to a system that treats citizens who have not committed crimes like criminals. We have more people locked up in jail than any other country on earth. We need to invest in jobs and education, not jails and incarceration. Finally, no person should have to worry that a routine interaction with law enforcement will end in violence and death. Black lives matter: we must reform our criminal justice system, move away from the militarization of police forces, and invest in community policing.

    College for All: The United States must join Germany and many other countries in understanding that investing in our young people’s education is investing in the future of our nation. I have introduced legislation to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lowering interest rates on student loans.

    War and Peace: I voted against the war in Iraq, and that was the right vote. We must be vigorous in combatting terrorism, but we can’t do it alone. We must be part of an international coalition that includes Muslim nations which not only defeats ISIS but which works hard to create conditions for lasting peace. I will vigorously oppose an endless war in the Middle East.

    My approach to campaigning is pretty simple and straight-forward. We hold a lot of public meetings in towns that are big and small. People ask questions and make comments. We discuss the important issues facing our country. And that’s it. Nothing very fancy. It’s called democracy and I like that approach very much. It’s something I’ve done my whole political life.

    I hope very much that you will join me at one of our meetings. I hope that you will become part of our campaign team. And I hope that you will watch our video and make a contribution to our campaign:

    https://go.berniesanders.com/sneak-peek

    Let us never forget: This country belongs to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.

    Sincerely,
    Senator Bernie Sanders

    • Joe America says:

      I just wrote “jobs jobs jobs” into a draft blog, basically the message that I think appeals to voters more than “reduce poverty”. I may link to this commentary as an example of the way a platform can speak to the people. Hat’s off to Bernie Sanders, and thanks to you for bringing it in, both as to form and content.

    • Micha says:

      @RHiro

      Glad you posted this. I have responded and made my modest contribution to Sen. Sander’s grassroots-based fund raising campaign and I hope Hillary will get some surprise in the primary. If the lunatic Trump can preserve his surge in the GOP free for all, the general election between him and Bernie will be most interesting.

      • RHiro says:

        Most welcome Micha.. The probability of a Trump vs Sanders contest is very very low.

        Trump’s supporters will eventually fade as they are a noisy micro minority and they will hit their ceiling after the Iowa and N.H. primaries.

        Sanders meanwhile showing the class contradictions will also have a very small chance of making it. Money screams in the U.S. elections and it will be a Bush III and Clinto rematch…

  44. Dmightysolomon says:

    Impeccable! Wow! So tolerating the wrongs of his cabinet is impeccable? Justifying wrong is impeccable? Selective justice is impeccable? Well, I am not surprised, you are not a Filipino, right?

  45. Marilet Meris says:

    A friend actually told me the same thing just last night. That JoeAm is in fact MLQ3 too! So I told her I don’t think so. I follow JoeAm and I also follow MLQ3 and the writing techniques are worlds apart. Some Pinoys are so jaded that they instantly think when you praise the current admin, you were paid to do so. Why only days ago, I commented on an Official Gazette post on the SONA and instantly someone replied “siguro binayaran ka” and another countered “alam na”. This kind of cynicism is what brings us Pinoys down. We only want to see what’s wrong and not working but our blinders are up when some things are actually working out and benefiting the country.

  46. malakal says:

    Miss Raissa Robles introduced me to your blog more than 2 yrs ago mr joeam and has since been ffg you. Like Ms RR, you’re one of the few whose blogs, columns, opinions i read with utmost attention and respect even if i may not be on your side-at times. Do continue writing, you’re worth the time I spend on internet.

  47. yen says:

    I like what you said… I am tired of complaints… to add:
    Just thinking out loud: Pinoys never stop criticizing its leader. No leader has ever done any good for this country. It’s right to criticize the government: for as long as it is to call for the needed change but it is not right to just complain and not consider facts. Focusing on poverty: poverty is such a huge and ancient problem that a president sitting for 6 years can never solve this, no one can in a lifetime – at least in my opininon. When Pnoy settled in 2010, the Philippine population is pegged at 92M, with a total of 15.1M under employable age of 15-24 years old. Our population at present is more than 100M and the employable age (15-24) could be the same number as that of 2010, probably even more. It will take a lifetime to create 15M jobs to eradicate unemployment and another lifetime for the next 15M. Every year, at least 2M children are born in this country. Even a god cannot solve anything at this phase of population growth. So thank you Pnoy for Reproductive Health! I just so wish that your promised daang matuwid can really account for the aid intended for the Yolanda victims… We are a rich country, that’s true but our riches are enjoyed by very few, most of which are pocketed by politicians. If ever there is one thing that Pnoy can be lauded for, it is a political will to question and campaign for transparency, good governance and fight graft and corruption. I don’t say he’s been successful, I say he has started something and even if he had contributed very small in this fight, it’s a start and great things start from small beginnings = the next president should be one to be able to continue this… For the other frustrations on transportation, education, etc… I would be barking on those government bodies in-charge of them… A nation doesn’t have only a president to be accountable – we have the senate, the congress that pass bills, laws to solve the rest of the country’s problems. Sabi nga, sa pamilya, hindi lang tatay ang responsible – may nanay, may ate, may kuya, may lola/lolo, etc. Sa barangay pa lang dapat hinahabol na ang barangay captain para maging accountable sa problema ng barangay… sus!
    https://www.facebook.com/yengrc

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the observations, yen. I agree, continuity to build on the foundation established by President Aquino is important. I view him as steering a huge ship, a monster tanker, and has been engaged in the difficult task of turning it around in the right direction. Now it is important to get it up to speed.

  48. surfer sison says:

    Can you believe this news ?

    “Widow blasts PNoy snub of Fallen 44

    By Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com
    Posted at 07/29/2015 11:55 AM
    MANILA – A widow of one of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who died in the Mamasapano mission criticized President Benigno Aquino III for failing to recognize the heroism of the fallen policemen.”

    Why do these people feel so entitled ?

    Isn’t it enough that PNoy said he is improving the combat pay and benefits of soldiers and policemen? and that he has a hardware acquisition program for them ?

    Do the President have to thank them and apologize to them ad infinitum ?

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I had a line in the speech about needy people who want the President to speak directly to them, but took it out. The media, unfortunately, love the “poor me” stories, so it get’s good play. But I think most people see it as you do. Ungrateful people who have not figured out how to take care of themselves.

    • Jean says:

      @ surfer

      I got irked by that as well.

      Me thinks, a significant majority of our current society is a perpetual echo of our spotted history. Many still bear a victim’s mentality, They act and react from a defensive and needy perspective. Ghosts still haunt society. This is most evident in the “MASA”. It is far easier to play the victim rather than to take ownership of one’s stock in life.

      • Joe America says:

        Which reminds me of Binay’s current whine, that he is the victim of cyber bullying. Talk about a guy who has detached himself from any accountability for his circumstance.

        • Micha says:

          That was really funny. Rambotito and the Dasma gate crasher Mayor Junjun cries bullying.

          Priceless.

        • Jean says:

          I’ve been spoiled, I was born and raised in Makati. I have had Jojomar as my mayor, pretty much most of my life. Perhaps, a year or so ago I would have defended him tooth and nail. I liked living and growing up here. I thought he had moxy and was savvy. I attributed a lot of the good living I experienced to his effective “mayor-ing”. Though I suspected he was corrupt , he was giving back in a way that felt tangible, so I did not feel so guilty turning a blind eye.

          At the earlier stages after his announcement to run, I would have even voted for him despite everything leveraged and accused against him (I can swallow and stomach a greedy S.O.B. politician as long as he/she realizes the best way to line their pockets is to raise the Philippines out of the muck and ashes) Now though, that ain’t happening. I really think he has lost more than a couple of marbles. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes bonkers.

          Tea anyone?

    • jolly cruz says:

      The corrupt politicians who will take advantage of tragedy know very well how to play to the emotions of those who grieve. This is what makes these people feel so entitled. I no longer feel sorry for these people for they do not know when they are being taken advantage of. They are no better than the mother of Veloso.

  49. Eva says:

    I am an avid fan and follower of your blogs JoeAm…galing nyo po..

  50. Bing Garcia says:

    Wow!

  51. Hopefulcitizen says:

    Thank you JoeAm, I, like most of those who follow your blog was ecstatic at the mention of your name at the SONA, it was as if the President thanked me also for we share the same sentiment, support and dream for a better Philippines.

  52. surfer sison says:

    Congratulations to JoeAm and all members of the Society of Honor ! 🙂

  53. marikit franco says:

    sir, i am a big fan. and i have actually suggested to one of my teachers to read your blogs, which are just great for a critical analysis papers. and now that pnoy have mentioned you in his sona, that would affirm my recommendation. anyway, i, for one am proud to have a president who has both integrity and heart, which could not be said of the past presidents we have. and i hope i could continue being proud in the next 3 years after 2016 with mar in the office. more power to you, more blogs.

  54. edgar lores says:

    *******
    I miss Karl.
    *****

  55. Jay says:

    Lubos akong natutuwa sa isang pagsasalaysay ni JoeAm kung saan mas ninais niyang sulyapan ang nakaraang SONA ng Pangulo sa isang hindi popular na positibong angulo. Ito yung paraan ni bibihirang gawin sapagkat mas madalis ay hindi.

    Nakatutuwang isipin na sa pamamagitan ng kanyang pag-susulat sa pagnanais niyang ipahayag ang kanyang malaya at positibong diwa sa pangkalahatang kalagayan ng ating bansa sa pamamahala ng ating Pangulong Pinoy ito ay nagdulot ng napakaraming makabuluhan at malalim na pagbabahagi ng malapantas na kuro kuro at opinyon ng mga nakilahok sa mahabang talastasan ito.

    Saludo ako sa mga magaganda at sinsero na kung minsan ay patalinghagang pagpapahayag na ang dulot ay hindi lamang paglipad nang aking malayang sanghaya subalit paglalim narin nang aking pagmamahal sa ating bayan. Ito ay isang matamis na bunga ng matama kong pag bagtas sa mga mahaba subalit makabuluhang talastasan dito. Ito malaalapaap kung nadarama ang nagbunsod sa aking sumulat din at mag-ambag hindi lamag pahabain pa ang mahaba nang talastasang ito subalit upang hikayatin ang mga mapagmahal sa bayan na matatalino at pantas na gawing mas abot kamay ng nakararaming Pilipino ang ganitong uri ng nakapag-lilinang ng kaisipang talastasan.

    Naway mas maraming Pilipino ang makaunawa ng inyong kaunawaan sa maraming bagay.

    Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Higit sa lahat kay ginoong JoeAm.

  56. Bing Garcia says:

    I am proud to be a fan and an acolyte of “The Society of Honor.” It counts upon the most sober, articulate, diverse, enlightened, lively and polite regular commenter-participants. Their collective erudition and wisdom provides me with a learning experience. In fact, I think I become a better Filipino imbibing new insights. The blog speaks for itself. Shucks! And it takes a “dayuhan” to serve as usher and facilitator. Buddy Gomez

  57. Johnny Lin says:

    PNoy is going to anoint Roxas his
    Chosen one.
    To send a strong message to Binay and the people on proclaiming Roxas,
    they all should wear a Yellow shirt emblazoned with the slogan

    front –PARA SA MAHIRAP
    Back–ITAKWIL ANG MAGNANAKAW SA GOBYERNO

    • Johnny Lin says:

      SAVE THE POOR

      JUNK THE THIEVES

      • Johnny Lin says:

        HINDI LABAG SA BATAS ANG MATAPOBRE

        MAGNANAKAW KINUKULONG

        • Johnny Lin says:

          CORRUPTION is the issue!
          Key word that will always reverberate to the mind of voters from now till Election Day

          MAGNANAKAW

          During the campaign
          PNoy and LP members should wear this slogan, front and back

          KULONG ANG MAGNANAKAW- Jail the thief

          VOTE FOR MAR – Iboto si Mar

  58. sonny says:

    can’t find Buddy’s article.

  59. Johnny Lin says:

    When the stone is set and settled the right thing for Grace Poe to ponder deeply is what is her best move.

    When PNoy anoints Roxas to be his presidential candidate, Grace has to start thinking on the interest of the nation, the people and her own. She could listen to her mom but not Chiz.

    Grace must embrace all the rhetorics she had expressed before as well as face the possible problems she might encounter if she decides to run for higher posts.
    With the residency and citizenship issue, the matter will not be discussed intensely if she elects to ally with PNoy as Eoxas running mate.

    • NHerrera says:

      I wrote the following in a post at Raissa’s Blog:
      ——————————————————————
      Is there such a thing as anxious but “clear conscience”? I think Grace is having that uneasiness, or to use the variant of that word which has become popular lately, that discomfort. Even Escudero — her Comfort Buddy — cannot easily relieve that discomfort as she approaches the COC day.
      ——————————————————————

      I agree with you that Grace “must embrace all the rhetorics she had expressed before.” It seems, as I followed her rhetorics that it is undergoing an evolution. I don’t know if this is the result of her academic training as a political science major, or simply a trapo trait she has learned fast from her Comfort Buddy, Escudero.

      • Johnny Lin says:

        Advice to Grace on Chiz
        Stop playing second fiddle to his ambition.

        Run as VP of Roxas since it was indirectly implied by PNoy on their last meeting!

        Slogan:
        MAR aming- GRACE Poe
        ang aming dasal

    • Johnny Lin says:

      Continuation
      If she runs for president the added issue for her is her determination to follow the lead of PNoy on Daan Matuwid. If she is a firm believer why does she need to derail the plan of PNoy.

      If she decides not to run that will catapult Chiz for VP and she could begin her career as a national leader. This is her best choice if Chiz insists on running. She will become the leader of a coalition endorsing Roxas and Chiz not necessarily meaning PNoy will endorse Chiz if there is no LP coalition.

      Final analysis is to heed the call of Serge that she runs for VP to prepare herself. Her best move is to run under coalition as VP of Roxas and change history by working hard to lead the followers of FPJ and Erap behind Roxas. Accomplishing this feat will become her first national legacy to the path of a better Philippines towards the upliftment of the economic status of the poor.

      Business Management expertise of Roxas and her emergence as the NEW leader (replacing Erap and following the ideas of FPJ) of the marginalized, the poor and the needy will become a formidable manifesto to present to the people.

      Grace must think seriously about her current political clout by recognizing the importance of her effectiveness and valuable contribution to continue the direction started by Pres Aquino.

      Thinking otherwise, she will be forever remembered as another TRAPO surrounded by scoundrels, opportunists and thieves; even if she becomes the next president because she is a victim of her personal interest.

  60. leo says:

    From Raissa’s blogsite as posted by commenter concerned citizen.

    Today I found a write up of Dr. Nathaniel von Einsiedel, what I like to share:

    Sharing the blog of a well-respected urban planner who has known VP Binay for a long time.

    WHY I WILL NOT VOTE FOR JOJO BINAY
    Nathaniel von Einsiedel

    The recent columns of Randy David and Sara Soliven de Guzman in the major dailies give us a pretty good picture of what a Binay presidency would be like — it will be a disaster. The problem, however, is that the average Filipino does not read or understand their analytical writings. Anyway, I agree with them a hundred percent, not just because I believe in their analysis, but because I had worked directly with Binay in the past and, therefore, have personal knowledge of how he thinks and does things. And it is based on this that I will not vote for him come 2016.
    I have known Jojo Binay personally since we were in college at UP Diliman. He was a fraternity brother of one of our neighbors in Area 1 where I grew up. He frequented our neighbor’s house and that’s how we got to know each other. After college, it was already in 1986 when I saw Binay again, when he was appointed by then President Cory Aquino as acting mayor of Makati and later on as Governor of Metro Manila in a concurrent capacity. Because of my job at the Metro Manila Commission, I got to meet with Binay on a regular basis, often assisting him in his meetings with the Metro Manila mayors and senior officials of national agencies. On many occasions, I had to join him on early morning site inspections and even late evening meetings.

    My working relations with Binay took a break when I resigned from government accepted the invitation of the United Nations and worked abroad from 1990 to 2004. When I returned home, we revived our relationship. From 2004 up to a few years ago, my consulting firm, CONCEP, was engaged by Makati City for a number of projects, such as the Makati Pabahay Project, Makati Development Agenda for the 21st Century, the Jupiter Street Urban Renewal Plan, the MACDA Housing Project, the Barangay Rizal Disaster Oriented Urban Redevelopment, and the Makati Poblacion Heritage Conservation Program. In the course of working on these projects, I had to confer with Binay frequently and thus developed a deeper insight on how he thinks and operates as a public official.

    It is based on this that I’ve become convinced that Binay is not the kind of president I would vote for president in 2016. My reasons are as follows:

    1. He will befriend you if you can help him achieve his personal objectives, and will not hesitate to dump you when you’re no longer useful to him. He is a master of charming people whom he can use to further his personal ambitions. But once they’re of no use to him, or don’t like to work with him anymore, he will readily get rid of them and fabricate a story on the reasons why.
    2. He is a congenital liar. He has perfected the practice of looking you straight in the eye and lie without blinking an eyelash. His political ads project a lie. By claiming that he will do to the country what he did in Makati, he creates an expectation that is intended to mislead people. Common public perception of Makati is that of a first world city — high rise offices and condos, glitzy malls, beautiful parks and myriad jobs. But that is Ayala’s Makati, covering only 6 of the city’s total of 33 barangays. He makes people believe that he can transform the whole country into Ayala Makati’s likeness. He knows that is not true. He had no hand in Ayala Makati’s development, and he knows he cannot replicate this anywhere.

    3. He wants to perpetuate people’s dependency on him, especially the poor. He doesn’t believe in genuine development that uplifts the living and working conditions of the poor. This is reflected in Makati’s dole-out approach to urban management, for example, its education and health programs. His political ads project the message that this dole-out system can be replicated throughout the country. He knows that the only reason he can do that in Makati is because the city has the biggest revenue among LGUs, all due to the thousands of the biggest firms located in the Ayala part of the city.

    4. He wants complete control over all programs and projects. The programs and projects of Makati city’s departments have to be approved by him directly. Thus, in Makati’s annual budget, most if not all programs and projects are listed under the Office of the Mayor, and only he can authorize budget releases. Binay also established a system that consolidates the incomes of all of Makati’s barangays and directly controls the approval of and budget releases for all barangay projects. But look at the majority of the barangays — from Kasilawan, Tejeros, Sta. Cruz, Singkamas, Bangkal, Guadalupe Viejo, Pitogo, Pinagkaisahan, Guadalupe Nuevo, all the EMBO barangays, and even his own San Antonio. There is so much poverty in these areas that no amount of dole outs throughout his as well as his wife and son’s terms of office have been able to diminish much less eradicate poverty. The incidence of poverty in the premier and richest city in the country is appalling.

    5. His pro-poor actions are all for show. He actually loathes the poor. On a number of occasions when we were discussing in private the housing projects for the poor, he used the term “salaula” (Tagalog for “uncouth” or “uncivilized”) to describe them. He has perfected the act of conveying his “concern” for the poor by, for example, setting aside time and a percentage of the city’s budget for the poor’s “KBL” — kasal (weddings), burol (wakes), and libing (burial). When we were planning the MACDA housing project, he’s approach to the issue of relocating the informal settlers was to pay them off without caring where they were to be resettled as long as they vacated the site.

    When we proposed a massive workforce development program to include the poor in the productive milieu and benefit from the jobs available in the city, Binay turned it down, criticising it as “small-time.” But he did not offer any alternative. It was obvious that he did not want the poor to improve their economic well-being and status. He wants them to be perpetually beholden to and dependent on him, and therefore, under his complete control.

    7. His management style is 101% patronage politics. There is absolutely nothing developmental in his system of management. He may have introduced some innovations, but these have been mainly for his and his family’s benefit rather than for the good of the people. He criticizes the Aquino administration as being inept, lazy, and slow. But what has he done, as Chairman of the Housing & Urban Development Coordinating Council for the past 5 years, to reduce the housing backlog? What has he done in the barangays of Makati to address poverty? Are the living and working conditions in the poorer barangays any better than before he first became mayor?
    When my team and I started consultancy projects in Makati in 2004, its incidence of poverty was higher than the national average. Binay was not alarmed by this and, in fact, seemed to be pleased with it. Perhaps because it meant he could easily manipulate the poor. Today, after almost three decades under the Binays, Makati’s overall quality of life, especially in the 27 poorer barangays, isn’t much better.

    Is this the kind of person who will be our next president? I certainly don’t think so.

    • Johnny Lin says:

      I will not vote for Binay for the simple fact that his entire family members became millionaires by being government workers knowing he was never rich before becoming Makati Mayor. Corruption is the cause of nation’s ills and languish of the poor. Nobody in their clan deserves another post in government.

      Questions to Nathaniel?

      What took you so long to realize that Jojo was a CONGENITAL LIAR?
      This is not a simple description of a liar. Congenital is perpetual habit.
      You came back from a UN position to deal with Jojo in your private business? Was there a fallout? Is there an ax to grind?

      Questions that may cloud judgment on your opinion compared to Randy David and Sara Soliven’s columns. You might be right in your deduction but isn’t it too late to expose Binay. Would have been better if you did not deal with him after UN stint.

      Nothing personal.

    • nielsky says:

      No real need, it can be read from where it first appeared. Besides, it further drums up hate against an already hated individual. Why do we always add insult to injury is something that well, a bit escapes me.

      • leo says:

        Impulse got the best of me, yes… should have shared a link instead. I was thinking of sharing with the rest since its a first hand account of someone who knew Binay, and quite better than what we get on TV.

        “Besides, it further drums up hate against an already hated individual.”

        When hate it is directed at something bad, it is good. Binay is already a hated individual but polls will tell you otherwise and he is out there to get the highest position in the land. We hate him but that hate is not yet fully turning into something good for us unless he is in jail or defeated as president. The fight against him is not yet over, So lets continue drumming till everyone knows he’s not worthy of our votes.

        “Why do we always add insult to injury is something that well, a bit escapes me.”

        Well hes not yet injured or down or imprisoned. He’s having a good life and that insult is not enough if he wins the presidency next year… heaven forbid.

  61. Alvin Barredo says:

    My deepest gratitude to you Mr. JoeAm, thank you so much for believing in our country the Philippines and to our beloved leader, President P-NOY . Sad to say a lot of Filipinos don’t realize that. I would say, President P-NOY stil continues what his parents started.He may not be perfect to some but, He is a true leader with His”Daang Matuwid”.For who in his sane and right mind , would destroy the name he carries, to his parents who fights for the restoration of true democracy for our beloved country. He is still true on what He has said before, The Filipino people are His Bosses. Again, Thank you , Mr. JoeAm!!!

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Alvin. I hope the Filipino bosses rise up and speak with a roar of appreciation. If they do, the nation will be just fine. Soaring, as it were.

  62. Joel Enriquez says:

    It may be surprising to know, but is quite true, that there are many JoeAms here in the US.
    I believe in what he just blogged and
    that certainly strengthened my support for Pres. Aquino. I just don’t fully comprehend why most of us would engage in useless prattle, most of the time personal and bordering on the insane just to show they know better than the President.

  63. Liza Julao says:

    … I have a very high standard on people. I am hard on myself when it comes to learning and meeting challenges. I was not expecting anyone to do the things President Noynoy Aquino did in fighting generations and generations of corruptions. He exceeded my expectations…

    President Noynoy Aquino delivered a first class service in the betterment of all Filipinos…

    He made me proud to be a Filipina. Because of President Noynoy Aquino we are now known to be the “New Tiger of Asia.”

    His critics can say whatever they want. They cannot give anything they don’t have. Their comments are their own reflections. I pray that the next leader who will succeed him will continue the fight against corruptions. Only then can we continue to be proud Filipinos…

    • Joe America says:

      “His critics can say whatever they want. They cannot give anything they don’t have. Their comments are their own reflections.” I hope you don’t mind, but that quote is going to my twitter output later this morning, attributed to you. It is perfect.

  64. edgar lores says:

    *******
    I sense the rising of the tide.

    These are 3 headlines I would like to see:

    o May 2016: “Binay blames anonymous blogger for inglorious defeat”

    o July 2017: “SONA 1: Daang Matuwid 2.0”

    o July 2022: “SONA 6: Philippines: The Asian Miracle”
    *****

  65. i was watching the SONA live on TV when i heard Pnoy acknowledged and thanked “joeam”…was i surpised! yes, and it was such a pleasant surprise!….joeam…my favorite blogger, next to raissa robles…thanks joeam…i am also thanking you like our dear President ….and i would just like to say that i am honored as well…..for you are an american with a filipino heart….thank you and God bless you more

  66. Espie S. Borja says:

    Enjoyed reading and admire your intelligence. I have similar sentiments as you and I truly believed President Aquino accomplished so much for the Filipino people. Keep writing Mr. JoeAm – I’m now your fan. Just wish that I have stumbled upon your writings sooner.

  67. bgie says:

    O i’ve used up my time reading this…. so interesting! Keep keep writing JoeAm.

  68. surfer sison says:

    SolGen backs petition vs Torre de Manila construction – See more at: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/07/31/1482821/solgen-backs-petition-vs-torre-de-manila-construction#sthash.82iKkgVf.dpuf

    Is there any truth to the rumour that you bought a condo unit there sir JoeAm ?

    just kidding….hahaha

    • Joe America says:

      Funny guy, surfer. No, but I did shop DMCI condos in Quezon City a while back when we were considering a move to the Big City. I think that article I did ought to earn my a unit, though, come to think about it.

      Thanks for the idea . . . 🙂

  69. ella says:

    Mr. Joe of course your blog deserves to be mentioned, you are more Filipino than most Filipinos!

    Thank you for positively pointing to us Filipinos that we are blessed with the leadership of PNOY and we should all be behind him.

  70. Mary Grace P. gonzales says:

    Not only in the SONA and the big screen, now you are on PDI front page, congrats! I hope more students, professionals and middle class (and I pray somehow, the masa) will swarm this blog site. And be enlightened. Hopefully too, the trolls and the paid media men of the corrupt groups will leave you alone, or is that too much to hope for?

  71. RHiro says:

    Once again I pray for Joeam’s indulgence in allowing me to share Pope Francis speech on inequality and the need for structural change to resolve unequal outcomes.

    Read Pope Francis’ Speech on the Poor and Indigenous Peoples

    July 10, 2015

    “I wish to join my voice to yours in calling for land, lodging and labor for all our brothers and sisters.”
    Pope Francis spoke about the problems faced by the poor and indigenous peoples at the Second World Meeting of the Popular Movements at the Expo Feria Exhibition Centre in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, on Thursday.
    Here is a transcript of his remarks:
    Good afternoon!
    Several months ago, we met in Rome, and I remember that first meeting. In the meantime I have kept you in my thoughts and prayers. I am happy to see you again, here, as you discuss the best ways to overcome the grave situations of injustice experienced by the excluded throughout our world. Thank you, President Evo Morales, for your efforts to make this meeting possible.

    During our first meeting in Rome, I sensed something very beautiful: fraternity, determination, commitment, a thirst for justice. Today, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, I sense it once again. I thank you for that. I also know, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace headed by Cardinal Turkson, that many people in the Church feel very close to the popular movements. That makes me very happy! I am pleased to see the Church opening her doors to all of you, embracing you, accompanying you and establishing in each diocese, in every justice and peace commission, a genuine, ongoing and serious cooperation with popular movements. I ask everyone, bishops, priests and laity, as well as the social organizations of the urban and rural peripheries, to deepen this encounter.

    Today God has granted that we meet again. The Bible tells us that God hears the cry of his people, and I wish to join my voice to yours in calling for land, lodging and labor for all our brothers and sisters. I said it and I repeat it: these are sacred rights. It is important, it is well worth fighting for them. May the cry of the excluded be heard in Latin America and throughout the world.
    1. Let us begin by acknowledging that change is needed. Here I would clarify, lest there be any misunderstanding, that I am speaking about problems common to all Latin Americans and, more generally, to humanity as a whole. They are global problems which today no one state can resolve on its own. With this clarification, I now propose that we ask the following questions:
    Do we realize that something is wrong in a world where there are so many farmworkers without land, so many families without a home, so many laborers without rights, so many persons whose dignity is not respected?

    Do we realize that something is wrong where so many senseless wars are being fought and acts of fratricidal violence are taking place on our very doorstep? Do we realize something is wrong when the soil, water, air and living creatures of our world are under constant threat?
    So let’s not be afraid to say it: we need change; we want change.
    In your letters and in our meetings, you have mentioned the many forms of exclusion and injustice which you experience in the workplace, in neighborhoods and throughout the land. They are many and diverse, just as many and diverse are the ways in which you confront them. Yet there is an invisible thread joining every one of those forms of exclusion: can we recognize it? These are not isolated issues. I wonder whether we can see that these destructive realities are part of a system which has become global. Do we realize that that system has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature?
    If such is the case, I would insist, let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change. This system is by now intolerable: farmworkers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable … The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable.

    We want change in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our everyday reality. We want a change which can affect the entire world, since global interdependence calls for global answers to local problems. The globalization of hope, a hope which springs up from peoples and takes root among the poor, must replace the globalization of exclusion and indifference!

    Today I wish to reflect with you on the change we want and need. You know that recently I wrote about the problems of climate change. But now I would like to speak of change in another sense. Positive change, a change which is good for us, a change – we can say – which is redemptive. Because we need it. I know that you are looking for change, and not just you alone: in my different meetings, in my different travels, I have sensed an expectation, a longing, a yearning for change, in people throughout the world. Even within that ever smaller minority which believes that the present system is beneficial, there is a widespread sense of dissatisfaction and even despondency. Many people are hoping for a change capable of releasing them from the bondage of individualism and the despondency it spawns.

    Time, my brothers and sisters, seems to be running out; we are not yet tearing one another apart, but we are tearing apart our common home. Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished. And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called “the dung of the devil”. An unfettered pursuit of money rules. The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.

    I do not need to go on describing the evil effects of this subtle dictatorship: you are well aware of them. Nor is it enough to point to the structural causes of today’s social and environmental crisis. We are suffering from an excess of diagnosis, which at times leads us to multiply words and to revel in pessimism and negativity. Looking at the daily news we think that there is nothing to be done, except to take care of ourselves and the little circle of our family and friends.

    What can I do, as collector of paper, old clothes or used metal, a recycler, about all these problems if I barely make enough money to put food on the table? What can I do as a craftsman, a street vendor, a trucker, a downtrodden worker, if I don’t even enjoy workers’ rights? What can I do, a farmwife, a native woman, a fisher who can hardly fight the domination of the big corporations? What can I do from my little home, my shanty, my hamlet, my settlement, when I daily meet with discrimination and marginalization? What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with their hearts full of hopes and dreams, but without any real solution for my problems? A lot! They can do a lot. You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands, through your ability to organize and carry out creative alternatives, through your daily efforts to ensure the three “L’s” (labor, lodging, land) and through your proactive participation in the great processes of change on the national, regional and global levels. Don’t lose heart!

    2. You are sowers of change. Here in Bolivia I have heard a phrase which I like: “process of change”. Change seen not as something which will one day result from any one political decision or change in social structure. We know from painful experience that changes of structure which are not accompanied by a sincere conversion of mind and heart sooner or later end up in bureaucratization, corruption and failure. That is why I like the image of a “process”, where the drive to sow, to water seeds which others will see sprout, replaces the ambition to occupy every available position of power and to see immediate results. Each of us is just one part of a complex and differentiated whole, interacting in time: peoples who struggle to find meaning, a destiny, and to live with dignity, to “live well”.

    As members of popular movements, you carry out your work inspired by fraternal love, which you show in opposing social injustice. When we look into the eyes of the suffering, when we see the faces of the endangered campesino, the poor laborer, the downtrodden native, the homeless family, the persecuted migrant, the unemployed young person, the exploited child, the mother who lost her child in a shootout because the barrio was occupied by drugdealers, the father who lost his daughter to enslavement…. when we think of all those names and faces, our hearts break because of so much sorrow and pain. And we are deeply moved…. We are moved because “we have seen and heard” not a cold statistic but the pain of a suffering humanity, our own pain, our own flesh. This is something quite different than abstract theorizing or eloquent indignation. It moves us; it makes us attentive to others in an effort to move forward together. That emotion which turns into community action is not something which can be understood by reason alone: it has a surplus of meaning which only peoples understand, and it gives a special feel to genuine popular movements.

    Each day you are caught up in the storms of people’s lives. You have told me about their causes, you have shared your own struggles with me, and I thank you for that. You, dear brothers and sisters, often work on little things, in local situations, amid forms of injustice which you do not simply accept but actively resist, standing up to an idolatrous system which excludes, debases and kills. I have seen you work tirelessly for the soil and crops of campesinos, for their lands and communities, for a more dignified local economy, for the urbanization of their homes and settlements; you have helped them build their own homes and develop neighborhood infrastructures. You have also promoted any number of community activities aimed at reaffirming so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three “L’s”: land, lodging and labor.
    This rootedness in the barrio, the land, the office, the labor union, this ability to see yourselves in the faces of others, this daily proximity to their share of troubles and their little acts of heroism: this is what enables you to practice the commandment of love, not on the basis of ideas or concepts, but rather on the basis of genuine interpersonal encounter. We do not love concepts or ideas; we love people… Commitment, true commitment, is born of the love of men and women, of children and the elderly, of peoples and communities… of names and faces which fill our hearts. From those seeds of hope patiently sown in the forgotten fringes of our planet, from those seedlings of a tenderness which struggles to grow amid the shadows of exclusion, great trees will spring up, great groves of hope to give oxygen to our world.

    So I am pleased to see that you are working at close hand to care for those seedlings, but at the same time, with a broader perspective, to protect the entire forest. Your work is carried out against a horizon which, while concentrating on your own specific area, also aims to resolve at their root the more general problems of poverty, inequality and exclusion.

    I congratulate you on this. It is essential that, along with the defense of their legitimate rights, peoples and their social organizations be able to construct a humane alternative to a globalization which excludes. You are sowers of change. May God grant you the courage, joy, perseverance and passion to continue sowing. Be assured that sooner or later we will see its fruits. Of the leadership I ask this: be creative and never stop being rooted in local realities, since the father of lies is able to usurp noble words, to promote intellectual fads and to adopt ideological stances. But if you build on solid foundations, on real needs and on the lived experience of your brothers and sisters, of campesinos and natives, of excluded workers and marginalized families, you will surely be on the right path.

    The Church cannot and must not remain aloof from this process in her proclamation of the Gospel. Many priests and pastoral workers carry out an enormous work of accompanying and promoting the excluded throughout the world, alongside cooperatives, favouring businesses, providing housing, working generously in the fields of health, sports and education. I am convinced that respectful cooperation with the popular movements can revitalize these efforts and strengthen processes of change.

    Let us always have at heart the Virgin Mary, a humble girl from small people lost on the fringes of a great empire, a homeless mother who could turn a stable for beasts into a home for Jesus with just a few swaddling clothes and much tenderness. Mary is a sign of hope for peoples suffering the birth pangs of justice. I pray that Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of Bolivia, will allow this meeting of ours to be a leaven of change.

    3. Lastly, I would like us all to consider some important tasks for the present historical moment, since we desire a positive change for the benefit of all our brothers and sisters. We know this. We desire change enriched by the collaboration of governments, popular movements and other social forces. This too we know. But it is not so easy to define the content of change – in other words, a social program which can embody this project of fraternity and justice which we are seeking. So don’t expect a recipe from this Pope. Neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social reality or the proposal of solutions to contemporary issues. I dare say that no recipe exists. History is made by each generation as it follows in the footsteps of those preceding it, as it seeks its own path and respects the values which God has placed in the human heart.

    I would like, all the same, to propose three great tasks which demand a decisive and shared contribution from popular movements:

    3.1 The first task is to put the economy at the service of peoples. Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.

    The economy should not be a mechanism for accumulating goods, but rather the proper administration of our common home. This entails a commitment to care for that home and to the fitting distribution of its goods among all. It is not only about ensuring a supply of food or “decent sustenance”. Nor, although this is already a great step forward, is it to guarantee the three “L’s” of land, lodging and labor for which you are working. A truly communitarian economy, one might say an economy of Christian inspiration, must ensure peoples’ dignity and their “general, temporal welfare and prosperity”. This includes the three “L’s”, but also access to education, health care, new technologies, artistic and cultural manifestations, communications, sports and recreation. A just economy must create the conditions for everyone to be able to enjoy a childhood without want, to develop their talents when young, to work with full rights during their active years and to enjoy a dignified retirement as they grow older. It is an economy where human beings, in harmony with nature, structure the entire system of production and distribution in such a way that the abilities and needs of each individual find suitable expression in social life. You, and other peoples as well, sum up this desire in a simple and beautiful expression: “to live well”.
    Such an economy is not only desirable and necessary, but also possible. It is no utopia or chimera. It is an extremely realistic prospect. We can achieve it. The available resources in our world, the fruit of the intergenerational labors of peoples and the gifts of creation, more than suffice for the integral development of “each man and the whole man”. The problem is of another kind. There exists a system with different aims. A system which, while irresponsibly accelerating the pace of production, while using industrial and agricultural methods which damage Mother Earth in the name of “productivity”, continues to deny many millions of our brothers and sisters their most elementary economic, social and cultural rights. This system runs counter to the plan of Jesus.

    Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy. It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: it is a commandment. It is about giving to the poor and to peoples what is theirs by right. The universal destination of goods is not a figure of speech found in the Church’s social teaching. It is a reality prior to private property. Property, especially when it affects natural resources, must always serve the needs of peoples. And those needs are not restricted to consumption. It is not enough to let a few drops fall whenever the poor shake a cup which never runs over by itself. Welfare programs geared to certain emergencies can only be considered temporary responses. They will never be able to replace true inclusion, an inclusion which provides worthy, free, creative, participatory and solidary work.

    Along this path, popular movements play an essential role, not only by making demands and lodging protests, but even more basically by being creative. You are social poets: creators of work, builders of housing, producers of food, above all for people left behind by the world market.
    I have seen at first hand a variety of experiences where workers united in cooperatives and other forms of community organization were able to create work where there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy. Recuperated businesses, local fairs and cooperatives of paper collectors are examples of that popular economy which is born of exclusion and which, slowly, patiently and resolutely adopts solidary forms which dignify it. How different this is than the situation which results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!
    Governments which make it their responsibility to put the economy at the service of peoples must promote the strengthening, improvement, coordination and expansion of these forms of popular economy and communitarian production. This entails bettering the processes of work, providing adequate infrastructures and guaranteeing workers their full rights in this alternative sector. When the state and social organizations join in working for the three “L’s”, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity come into play; and these allow the common good to be achieved in a full and participatory democracy.

    3.2. The second task is to unite our peoples on the path of peace and justice. The world’s peoples want to be artisans of their own destiny. They want to advance peacefully towards justice. They do not want forms of tutelage or interference by which those with greater power subordinate those with less. They want their culture, their language, their social processes and their religious traditions to be respected. No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice the possibility of peace and justice. For “peace is founded not only on respect for human rights but also on respect for the rights of peoples, in particular the right to independence”.

    The peoples of Latin America fought to gain their political independence and for almost two centuries their history has been dramatic and filled with contradictions, as they have striven to achieve full independence.

    In recent years, after any number of misunderstandings, many Latin American countries have seen the growth of fraternity between their peoples. The governments of the region have pooled forces in order to ensure respect for the sovereignty of their own countries and the entire region, which our forebears so beautifully called the “greater country”. I ask you, my brothers and sisters of the popular movements, to foster and increase this unity. It is necessary to maintain unity in the face of every effort to divide, if the region is to grow in peace and justice.

    Despite the progress made, there are factors which still threaten this equitable human development and restrict the sovereignty of the countries of the “greater country” and other areas of our planet. The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain “free trade” treaties, and the imposition of measures of “austerity” which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor. The bishops of Latin America denounce this with utter clarity in the Aparecida Document, stating that “financial institutions and transnational companies are becoming stronger to the point that local economies are subordinated, especially weakening the local states, which seem ever more powerless to carry out development projects in the service of their populations”. At other times, under the noble guise of battling corruption, the narcotics trade and terrorism – grave evils of our time which call for coordinated international action – we see states being saddled with measures which have little to do with the resolution of these problems and which not infrequently worsen matters.

    Similarly, the monopolizing of the communications media, which would impose alienating examples of consumerism and a certain cultural uniformity, is another one of the forms taken by the new colonialism. It is ideological colonialism. As the African bishops have observed, poor countries are often treated like “parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel”.

    It must be acknowledged that none of the grave problems of humanity can be resolved without interaction between states and peoples at the international level. Every significant action carried out in one part of the planet has universal, ecological, social and cultural repercussions. Even crime and violence have become globalized. Consequently, no government can act independently of a common responsibility. If we truly desire positive change, we have to humbly accept our interdependence. Interaction, however, is not the same as imposition; it is not the subordination of some to serve the interests of others. Colonialism, both old and new, which reduces poor countries to mere providers of raw material and cheap labor, engenders violence, poverty, forced migrations and all the evils which go hand in hand with these, precisely because, by placing the periphery at the service of the center, it denies those countries the right to an integral development. That is inequality, and inequality generates a violence which no police, military, or intelligence resources can control.

    Let us say NO to forms of colonialism old and new. Let us say YES to the encounter between peoples and cultures. Blessed are the peacemakers.

    Here I wish to bring up an important issue. Some may rightly say, “When the Pope speaks of colonialism, he overlooks certain actions of the Church”. I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God. My predecessors acknowledged this, CELAM has said it, and I too wish to say it. Like Saint John Paul II, I ask that the Church “kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters”. I would also say, and here I wish to be quite clear, as was Saint John Paul II: I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the Church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.

    I also ask everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike, to think of those many bishops, priests and laity who preached and continue to preach the Good News of Jesus with courage and meekness, respectfully and pacifically; who left behind them impressive works of human promotion and of love, often standing alongside the native peoples or accompanying their popular movements even to the point of martyrdom. The Church, her sons and daughters, are part of the identity of the peoples of Latin America. An identity which here, as in other countries, some powers are committed to erasing, at times because our faith is revolutionary, because our faith challenges the tyranny of mammon. Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus. This too needs to be denounced: in this third world war, waged peacemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.

    To our brothers and sisters in the Latin American indigenous movement, allow me to express my deep affection and appreciation of their efforts to bring peoples and cultures together in a form of coexistence which I would call polyhedric, where each group preserves its own identity by building together a plurality which does not threaten but rather reinforces unity. Your quest for an interculturalism, which combines the defense of the rights of the native peoples with respect for the territorial integrity of states, is for all of us a source of enrichment and encouragement.
    3.3. The third task, perhaps the most important facing us today, is to defend Mother Earth. Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin. We see with growing disappointment how one international summit after another takes place without any significant result. There exists a clear, definite and pressing ethical imperative to implement what has not yet been done. We cannot allow certain interests – interests which are global but not universal – to take over, to dominate states and international organizations, and to continue destroying creation. People and their movements are called to cry out, to mobilize and to demand – peacefully, but firmly – that appropriate and urgently-needed measures be taken. I ask you, in the name of God, to defend Mother Earth. I have duly addressed this issue in my Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’.

    4. In conclusion, I would like to repeat: the future of humanity does not lie solely in the hands of great leaders, the great powers and the elites. It is fundamentally in the hands of peoples and in their ability to organize. It is in their hands, which can guide with humility and conviction this process of change. I am with you. Let us together say from the heart: no family without lodging, no rural worker without land, no laborer without rights, no people without sovereignty, no individual without dignity, no child without childhood, no young person without a future, no elderly person without a venerable old age. Keep up your struggle and, please, take great care of Mother Earth. I pray for you and with you, and I ask God our Father to accompany you and to bless you, to fill you with his love and defend you on your way by granting you in abundance that strength which keeps us on our feet: that strength is hope, the hope which does not disappoint. Thank you and I ask you, please, to pray for me.

  72. RHiro says:

    First from my experience with Church leaders, priests and bishops are free to express their opinions freely as citizens and according to their faith. The CBCP however only speaks after deliberation and through their head or spokesperson.. Other Church groups also speak out…

    There are only very few progressive Church bishops and some of them do participate in popular organizations. Even the late Cardinal Sin used to counsel the masses to take the bribe money and vote their conscience.

  73. Fudoshin says:

    Hi JoeAm, I just stumbled upon your blog and truly an awesome read. Thank you.

  74. Crisun2 says:

    PNoy’s SONA brought me here. Love this site. Have to read all the blogs in here. More late night sleeps. Geezzz!
    Roxas all the way for 2016!

  75. RHiro says:

    For the sake of the commentariat….most especially Mr. Lores

    The phrase political economy has two definitions i know of.

    Firstly it is the study of the anatomy of human society.. The class system…

    Secondly it is the study of power and wealth and it’s influence on the market…

    No market is not palenke but the the form of an economic system…

    The term leftist politics has its roots in the French revolution… then the French assembly divided the house.. Those who wanted change were told to gather at the left side of the chamber…
    Those who wanted to maintain the status quo would be on the right…

    Since we have no real political parties in the country., the different classes are not represented…

    Political parties are popular representation from differing sectors of human society who wish to organize to push their interests. Hence the differing classes are represented…

    Interesting read this
    http://www.manilatimes.net/are-you-looking-for-a-saint/206177/

  76. Shelly Olvido says:

    This gave me so much insight…at least I know the “thinking” masses are in full support para sa daang matuwid…

  77. Shelly Olvido says:

    This gave me additional I insights…at least I know most of the “thinking” masses are in full support of the Daang Matuwid..I wish to share your post on Facebook…that is the only thing I can do to help educate the people…

  78. Joy Bacon says:

    Hi JoeAm. You are more patriotic than some of us. Thank you for being loyal to the President. He has done so much but some people refused to perceive it that way. They would rather zero in on the missteps along the way. We need more bloggers like you.

    • eldino caballes says:

      Objective criticism is normal and it paves the way for improvement but nowadays, people criticize without in-depth knowledge of the issue or they were not done a favor.

      The achievement of Pres. Pnoy is like a benchmark, a legacy of his own that he did not expect when he was obliged to run for presidency due to public clamor for good governance.

      Quoting from JoeAM……if they were in a foxhole, he will watch Pnoy’s back for he knew Pnoy is watching his back……

  79. Regina says:

    An enlightening view.. I would like to share this… Thank you!

  80. LG says:

    It’s at the 2015 Pnoy’s SONA that I first heard about the name Joe America. Not till much later that I googled the name, got hooked to the writings and became a groupie. Long live you JA and THS…both ONE of a kind.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks, LG. When you start losing sleep over the blog, then you get some kind of trophy. I have dozens of the stupid things.

      • LG, says:

        So far, not yet, Joe. It’s only been months. First read in the morning, ahead of the breaking news. Might, after your take on what the admin agrees to at the foreseeable bilateral talks with China,

        • Joe America says:

          Roger that. Wait for further info . . . that’s a reasonable plan. Especially as I am not suggesting anybody DO anything except start making sense, from the standpoint of the greater Philippines.

          • LG says:

            I believe a lot of us are holding our breaths on this one. Real test of Dut’s mettle, as his cabinet’s. Tough call,. I thought Dut’s weakest is international relations/affairs.

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