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Backlash

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Backlash
Ronald Roy — 2013 February 05

 

Nothing can be more calamitous for a nation than a backlash. A backlash is defined by English lexicographers as a “strong negative reaction by a large number of people, especially to racial or political developments” such as, for example, a public backlash to government’s oppressive tax policies.

But before I proceed, I wish to react to a reader by clarifying that I have never called Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III, a.k.a. P-Noy, a dishonest or corrupt person. On the contrary, I salute him as a relentless crime-buster and, in particular, an uncompromising fighter against corrupt practices in government. I’d like to stress though that “staying clean” is not all there is to running the country’s presidency.

Beyond the fundamental requirement of integrity, P-Noy must inspire all sectors of society as a competent, humble, selfless and just leader. His failure as a competent, humble, selfless and just leader will surely result in a backlash, his honesty and truculence against criminality and corruption notwithstanding.

The severity of a backlash is proportionate to the citizenry’s hopes or expectations. Therefore, politicians must guard against making the usual promises and assurances the sovereign citizenry usually love to hear; and it is here, unfortunately, where P-Noy’s administration sometimes tends to be careless, if not outright deceptive, by resorting to askew propaganda.

In connection with the so-called “good news” about our participation in the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual conference in Davos, Switzerland over two weeks ago, it will take time whether the propaganda efforts of the Filipino delegation headed by President Aquino will bear fruit.

Needless to state, a lot will depend on the sincerity behind the words and on the effective management of ongoing growth-related plans and projects, not to mention unpredictable exogenous factors such as those besieging the global economy, acts of God and evil world leaders, and the like.

In any event, P-Noy appears wanting in humility (and tact).

As one known for trumpeting his feats quite pompously, it was not at all surprising that he would issue arrival statements at Villamor Air Base that his speaking performance at Davos had wowed over 2,500 distinguished personalities around the world over how his administration had transformed the Philippines from being the “sick man of Asia” into becoming a dynamic market well positioned to confront escalating global economic challenges. Hmmm… hopefully he will not need to bite off more than he can chew when the going gets rough and tough.

Actually, all P-Noy brought home from his junket to the Swiss Alps was the usual basket full of pledges which all presidents routinely take home from foreign trips. Well, there’s really nothing wrong with pledges, except that P-Noy reportedly spent ₱49 Million of taxpayers’ money to get them (via an entourage of a 63 delegates, for each of whom the amount of US$20,000 was allocated to cover his or her conference fee). Maracas de Caracas!! 63 at $20,000 per head??!

The Alpine junket becomes monumentally scandalous when we learn our president did not play a significant role at any of the several top-level meetings he had attended. And it certainly becomes unpardonable that he had reportedly dared to muster braggadocio before an illustrious assembly of state heads, distinguished leaders in politics, business and industry, bankers, diplomats, scholars and other egg heads many of whom never even heard of the Philippines! Holi macaroni!!

As everybody knows, propaganda is the self-serving tool that politicians use, and which P-Noy’s coterie of die-hards, himself included, are known to maximize at every turn. In Davos, the President’s deportment and mien did not seem to match the stateliness of his co-equals.

But his youthful demeanor should not be an issue, because I, for one, will never take against him the exuberance he displayed on his first presidential trip to assassination-prone America, when he crossed a New York avenue to buy lunch at a street-corner hotdog stand—to the horror of his security cordon led by U.S. Secret Service agents!!

That refreshing bit of candor endeared him to most Filipinos. And, depending on how he can marshal the same spontaneous charm, or panache, or whatever one calls it, he can really get away with some booboos and blunders.

On the other hand, The Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) conference recently held in our country was quite another experience, although similar to that one in Davos in one essential aspect: the imperative need for all nations to address the phenomenal upsurge of corruption as an economic and political menace to all of the world’s democracies.

It was ironic, if not laughable, that GOPAC was staged in our country that was then still reeling under the Christmas cash-gift scandals that humiliated both chambers of our congress, nay, the entire nation.

At the GOPAC convention that was attended by some 500 parliamentarians from around the world to formulate synergetic action plans around the theme: “God Leaders, Good Laws, Good People”, it was ironic, if not laughable, that no less than Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile asserted—authoritatively, ha?!—that it would take a painstakingly long, long time before global corruption could be effectively controlled.

It was ironic, if not laughable, that while brilliant anti-crime minds from different shores feverishly worked to reach consensus, the embarrassing denouement of a Ponzi scheme rip-off masterminded by a Filipino would hit the headlines, an alarming series of daring robberies would explode to give the news that our streets were no longer safe, law enforcers would be involved in a check-point ambush of fellow law enforcers and innocent civilians over large sums of money, and so on, ad nauseam.

So, here’s the thing: How sure are we next year’s staging of the World Economic Forum in Manila will not be more embarrassing? Or even worse: How sure are we next year’s planned extravaganza won’t be prevented by a backlash?

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