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HANGIN

Ang pagyakap sa isang ideolohiyang politikal o ang simpleng pagpapahayag ng paniniwala o adhikain na kaugnay sa politika ay maihahalintulad sa pagtatanim ng hangin. Hindi ka nakakatiyak kung ano ang iyong aanihin – hanging amihan ba o habagat. May salawikain nga tayo na ganito ang sinasabi – “Kapag nagtanim ka ng hangin, bagyo ang iyong aanihin.”

Kung ang makakarinig o makakabasa ng mga ipinahayag mo ay kahalintulad mo ng paniniwala, amihan ang hanging iyong aanihin. Ang pagsangayon ng mga kakampi mo ay parang hanging amihan na dadampi sa iyong mga pisngi. Maginhawa iyon sa pakiramdam. Ang papuring ibibigay nila ay parang malamyos na hangin. Presko.

Subalit kung ang makakasumpong ng mga ipinahayag mo ay kasalungat mo ang paniniwala’t paninindigan, hanging habagat ang iyong aanihin. Humanda ka sa paghihip nito. Dala ng hanging habagat ay ulan. Pihadong uulanin ka ng batikos. Hindi masarap ang dampi ng hanging habagat. Minsan may kasama pa itong kidlat, mga bayolenteng reaksyon laban sa adhikain mong politikal o sa mga pahayag mong malinaw na nagsasaad ng iyong paninidigan sa politika at kung sinong politiko ang iyong sinusuportahan.

Para sa mga hindi mo kaalyado at kakampi sa politika, ano man ang sabihin mo, tama o mali, eh para itong hanging ibinuga mo sa iyong likuran. Tama ka, ang tawag sa hanging iyon ay utot. Masangsang ito’t mabantot para sa kanila. Pero siyempre kung ang makakaamoy nito ay kabilang sa kampong pinili mong samahan ay sasabihin nilang ito’y amoy rosas at sampagita.

Ang paniniwalang politikal ay para kasing hininga, nakakasulasok at makabaligtad-sikmura ang amoy nito kung manggagaling sa bibig ng mga hindi mo kakulay. Wala naman itong kasingbango kung ito’y mamumutawi sa labi ng mga kaalyado mo.

Kung lilimiin natin ng mabuti, ang eleksyon sa Pilipinas ay parang ipo-ipo. Kapag ito’y dumaan, nagugulo ang mundo ng mga Pilipino. Dulot nito’y pagkawasak… pagkawasak ng kanilang pangangatwiran. Nakakadismaya na sa panahon ng eleksyon animo’y nagsasara ang isip ng karamihan sa atin. Aminin man natin o hindi eh watak-watak tayo…galit-galit…. kanya-kanya. Napakahirap ipaliwanag kung bakit sa panahon ng eleksyon ang tanging tama ay kung ano ang isinusulong ng panig na  kinabibilangan natin… na ang tanging karapat-dapat na manalo ay ang kandidatong sinusuportahan natin… na ang kandidatong sinusuportahan natin ay siya lang ang mabuti…malinis… marangal… walang bahid dungis… na ang ibang kandidato at ang mga sumusuporta sa kanila ay mga bobo, sira-ulo, at kampon ng kadiliman.    

Parang ipo-ipo rin ang mga pulitiko sa Pilipinas. Ang bilis nilang umikot kapag may eleksyon. Bawat sulok na may botante napapasok. Ang bilis nilang magpaikot ng pera… para sa materyales na gagamitin nila upang isulong ang kanliang kandidatura… iyong iba sa kanila ay magapapaikot ng pera para  bumili ng boto.

Animo’y ipo-ipo nga ang mga pulitiko. Ang galing at ang tindi nilang mag-paikot – ng tao. Paiikutin ka nila’t paniniwalain hanggang ika’y mahilo at mahibang. Kung hindi matibay ang pundasyon ng pag-iisip mo ay mahihipnotismo ka. Iyan ang nangyari sa maraming Pilipino. Nahilo’t nahibang. Sa sobrang hilo at hibang nga ng iba ay tila sila’y nagiging panatiko. Makikipagbangayan sila’t  makikipagaway, minsan makikipagpatayan upang ipagtanggol ang politikong animo’y Diyos na kung kanilang ituring. Sa sobrang hilo ng ilan sa mga kababayan natin ay kakagalitin kahit mga mahal sa buhay, ipagtatabuyan ang mga kaybigan, at hihiwalayan ultimo ang kasintahan upang ipagtanggol ang parang sa tingin nila ay mga santo o santa na politikong kanilang sinusuportahan. Sa sobrang hilo nila eh tapos na ang eleksyon eh hindi pa rin humihintong ipaglaban ang kanilang sinasambang politiko.

Ang eleksyon ay parang hanging dadaanan tayo. Kapag lumampas na, panalo o talo, eh huwag na nating habulin.  Mahirap habulin ang hangin. Hindi mo ito maaabutan. Hindi mo kaya (at hindi) puwedeng baguhin ang resulta.

Habang nilalakbay mo ang  dagat ng buhay at ang hangin ng politika ay hindi sumangayon sa direksyong gusto mong lakbayin ay dalawa lamang ang puwede mong pagpiliang gawin. Una, bumalik ka sa pampang at hintayin mong humihip ang hangin sangayon sa iyong kagustuhan.  At ang pangalawa, ayusin mo ang timon mo’t layag at ipagpatuloy mo ang paglalakbay. Hindi mo kaylangang bumalik sa pampang. Porke ba natalo ang kandidato mo eh magmukmok ka sa isang sulok at iiyak na parang batang inagawan ng kendi? Wika nga nila sa English, “You cannot change the wind, but you can adjust your sail.”  Patuloy ka lang maglakbay. May buhay kang dapat ayusin na huwag mong isama  sa inog ng ipo-ipo ng politika. Umiwas ka sa ipo-pong nililikha ng mga pulitiko. Hindi katapusan ng mundo dahil lang natalo ang kandidatong iniidolo mo.  Patuloy na iikot ang mundo, panalo man o talo ang sinuportahan mong kandidato. At kung nanalo naman ang kandidato mo eh ano? Ang pagkapanalo niya ay parang hangin ding lalampas. Matapos ang selebrasyon at pangangantyaw sa talunan eh ano na ang susunod mong gagawin? Huwag ka masyado magpakalunod sa tagumpay na natamo ng kandidato mo. Dahil nga ang eleksyon ay parang hangin. Lalampasan ka lang niyan. Babalik at babalik ka sa realidad ng buhay – na ang tagumpay mo at kaligayahan ay hindi nakasasalay sa nanalong kandidato. Nakasalalay iyan sa sarili mong pagsisikap.    

Lagi nating tandaan na ang politika ay parang hangin. Papalit-palit ito ng direksyon. Minsan ang kampo mo panalo, minsan talo. Ganoon talaga. Wika nga nila, sa mundo ng politika ay weder-weder lang.

The Business Venture Called Politics

How many of the incumbent local and national officials in the Philippines (and also in your own country) can come forward and with  heads held high say that they did not buy their way  to  victory?

The painful truth is that elections have turned out to be a business venture. Politicians are like businessmen who if they hope to win must be willing to make an investment. And the investor in the politicians would expect a profit, not just a return on investment.

How much should a politician invest? Do the math.

According to the Commission on Elections, the number of registered voters for 2022 polls hit 63 million.

Last year (2020), the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 6095 amending provisions of RA No. 7166. The bill provides that those running for President and Vice President can spend up to P50 per voter for their campaign. That used to be P10 per voter. From P3, senators, district representatives, governor, vice governor, board members, mayor, vice-mayor, and councilors are now allowed to spend up to P30 per voter. But those who were not born yesterday know that candidates for national and local elections spend way much beyond what the laws allow.

Beyond what the statutes allow, a candidate has to dig deeper into his pocket if he hopes to win. Vote-buying is no longer a secret making this writer say that election now is nothing but a business venture. It is no longer the best and most qualified candidates getting elected but the ones who have enormous financial resources.

A candidate willing to pay at least P500 for every voter is likely to win. The percentage for winning gets higher if the one seeking an elective position has the capacity of making that amount higher… like P1000 to P2000 for each vote.

Now, do the Math if you wish to know how much a candidate needs to prepare for his election bid. Include the amount needed for campaign advertisement, salaries of campaign leaders per geographical unit (province, town, city, barangay, districts, or zones) depending on which position is being sought, and other miscellaneous expenses. Don’t forget to add the amount a candidate is willing to pay for each voter (multiplied by the number of voters.)

For the millions of pesos those candidates extricate from their coffers what do they wish to get in return?

It’s not difficult to determine what drives people to run for election (and seek re-election). It’s as simple as A, B, or C.

A – a political position is a business venture for which they expect to get returns for their investments and a whole lot of profit (How? Use your imagination!!!).

B – an opportunity to wield power allowing the one who holds it to protect personal and family interests and to advance other personal motives and agendas.

C – love for public service.

The citizens who care are hoping it’s the C. For those who sell their votes, A and B. Why? Come on, don’t tell me you don’t know.

Let me end the way I started – with the following question.

How many of the country’s incumbent local and national officials can come forward and with a head held high say that they did not buy their way  to  victory?

Allow me to ask one more question.

How many local and national officials whose assets did not exponentially increase at the end of their terms?

And one more…

How many of them ran (and obviously won) and will seek reelection – for the love of public service?

On The 2016 Elections (last of a series)

 

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The 2016 Elections presents another opportunity for change. Not that His Excellency President Benigno Aquino III did not do well as a President. It’s just that an election presents a chance for a fresh start, an opportunity to rectify mistakes outgoing leaders may have committed during their incumbency and continue the programs they have implemented which are proven to be beneficial.

Under Noynoy’s watch the Philippines experienced a steady economic growth from 2010 to 2015. The battle the Aquino administration waged against graft and corruption is by all means serious. It resulted to the hospital arrest of a former President, netted the impeachment of a Chief Justice, forced the resignation of an Ombudsman in order to avoid impeachment, and led to the conviction and indictment of high-profile individuals, including three (3) incumbent senators. However, what may go down in history as the best legacy of the current administration are not economic gains nor the weeding out  of corrupt government officials but a bold educational reform… the introduction of the K to 12 program.

The Aquino-led government also made miscalculations and had misgivings. It is not  perfect, neither were past administrations. History will judge the present administration’s performance, it will decide whether or not Noynoy can be ranked among the best presidents Philippines had.

If the Liberal party (where Noynoy belongs) could have their way they would want their anointed candidate (Roxas) to win the presidential derby so he could continue the programs already in place. But Roxas’ fate, and those of the other candidates, are in the hands of the Filipino electorate.

No matter how great the accomplishments of Noynoy as president it is not a guarantee that the candidate he endorsed (Roxas) would be chosen as his successor. As a matter of fact, Roxas has not topped any of the election surveys held in the past months making many believe that it would be difficult for him to win. If the Filipino voters choose to hold  Noynoy accountable for his booboos as president and turn a blind eye on his accomplishments it now becomes a question of  whether Noynoy’s endorsement is a bane or a boon to Roxas’ candidacy.

The Filipinos are hard to please. They tend to remember the few mistakes people in position commit and forget about their many accomplishments. The most difficult part is that Filipinos demand too much from their leaders but they fail to perform their civic responsibilities.

So, it’s really time to change…time for Filipinos to change the way they choose leaders and time for them to change their perspectives about nation building. The 2016 elections present an opportune time to do exactly that.

One of the tragic flaws in the Filipino character is pinning their hopes on a leader to make their nation a great one. After all these years they haven’t realized that nation building is a shared responsibility between leaders and the citizenry and that, in reality, the citizens carry the bigger chunk of the burden because they are the ones choosing the leaders who will hold the reins of government.

The Filipinos refuse to be accountable. So, for the forthcoming presidential elections they have the same mind set. They still subscribe to the notion that the president they will elect must singlehandedly solve all the nation’s woes. The Filipinos blindly cling to the belief that the head of the executive branch of the government is a supernatural being who can weave magic and in a snap of a finger eradicate all of their problems and provide everything they need.

Whoever becomes the next president will be considered the anointed messiah who must work the miracles the Filipinos are expecting…no traffic, no power outages, more jobs, higher salaries, lesser taxes, subsidized education, more school buildings, and what-have-you. The elected president must deliver. He/she must curb criminality, end insurgency and eradicate poverty in the shortest possible time.

Who among the presidential hopefuls can do all the aforementioned? No one! Nobody from among Binay, Duterte, Poe, Roxas and Santiago can perform the miracles the Filipinos are expecting…unless they do their part…unless they contribute what they ought to.

A leader may be brilliant but if the citizens will not do their share in nation building then peace and prosperity will remain just a dream. It’s not demanding too much form the citizens. They only need to perform their civic responsibilities. That’s all they need to do.

 

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