FOR someone who has yet to actually and finally declare that she is running for President in 2016, Senator Grace Poe sure has been delivering speeches that sound like she’s running, pandering to certain crowds, making them laugh, establishing connections.
No, she is not talking issues. She is, as with any other politician running for office next year, saying what people want to hear.
For someone who has yet to say she is running, she sure sounds like she’s doing a whole lot of campaigning. Case in point: her speech for International Youth Day on August 12, which got her some media mileage, and which is posted in full over at gracepoe.ph. It’s an utterly confused and confusing speech, but it sure had enough soundbites to get her on the evening news.
The youth as lucky
Speaking to an audience of students, Senator Poe talked about the millennial generation, the same one that her kids ages 23, 17 and 11 also belong to. She called this generation – her audience – the “wealth, future, and present of nation.” She talked to them about her own kids, and their age gap.
She said she envied some of the youth today, because they can get jobs after they graduate. “Hindi tulad noon, nung mga 1990s, kapag nag-graduate ka mahirap makahanap ng sweldo na makakapagtaguyod sa inyong pamilya. Kayo ngayon pwede nang bumili ng condo, kung titira kayo sa inyong mga magulang pwede kayong kumuha ng loan para makakuha ng sasakyan. Noon hindi po ganoon.”
Ano raw?[What did she say?]
Who are these kids that Senator Poe is talking about, and what jobs are they getting exactly? Is it not that so many of our graduates end up taking call center jobs for lack of anything better, regardless of the courses that they took and the expertise that they gained in college? What percentage of our graduates can afford to buy condonimiums and have paychecks that will allow them to get car loans? And how many actually get wages that will be enough to care for a family?
Ah, but employment and wages is not something that Senator Poe delves into in this speech. She had other things on her mind.
From the internet to climate change
“The young people of the 21st century live a <sic> complex and diverse lives. Indeed they live in interesting and challenging times, and in many parts of our world the youth experience poverty just like here in the Philippines. Violence and lack of quality in education. On the other hand, many young people live their lives affluently, marami din mayayaman na [many are also wealthy already]who have access to education and health benefits, are not able to live happy and productive lives. But they also face common issues such as climate change. Hindi ba napapansin ninyo konting ulan lang binabaha tayo. [You do notice, don’t you, that here with just a little rain who have floods?] We experience a common phenomenon such as widespread Internet connectivity and the likes of social media.”
So it’s violence and lack of quality education for some, wealth and happiness for others, but what all the youth have in common are: the Internet, social media, and climate change.
The rest of the speech is as roundabout and confusing as that quoted paragraph, complete with tangential references and assertions that don’t quite work towards the same direction. For example, Senator Poe talks about the slowness of our Internet, and yet highlights how the youth are able to make things trend on social media, how they are able to make Filipinos win in Asia’s Got Talent, how they are able to come together and help out in tragedies like Yolanda.
One thinks: not bad for a country with slow Internet, yes?
And then for whatever reason, she makes the connection between slow Internet as born of a lack of competition, and make-up classes because of the rains and floods. These make-up classes take the youth away from Saturdays with their boyfriends and girlfriends, and as such are a big problem. So for Senator Poe Dep Ed can offer take home workbooks which students can answer at home, and which can take the place of make-up classes. There’s also homes-schooling as “innovation” offered by Dep Ed, which to the Senator is a response to two things: the transport crisis and climate change.
The transport crisis and climate change! I kid you not.
“Sino sa inyo, dahil sa mga baha, sa ulan, maraming make-up classes hindi ba? Kahit na Sabado na kasama ninyo ang boyfriend ninyo o girlfriend ninyo o kaya tumutulong kayo sa inyong mga magulang na maglaba, magplantsa. <…> Nagme-make-up classes kayo, kaya nga ang sabi ko ganito, dahi nga hindi pa natin kaya bigyan ang lahat ng estudyante ng tablet at ng computer at hindi pa mabilis ang ating internet. Siguro sa DepEd mayroon nang standard na libro lahat para kahit na kayo ay nasa bahay may workbook kayo na pini-fill out para pagpasok ninyo wala nang make-up classes. <…> Ito na ang innovation, sapagkat ang DepEd ay mayroon nang homeschool. Kasi sa dami ng ating problema sa transportasyon at sa Climate Change hindi din kayo nagiging produktibo, so importante iyan.”
All together now: ano raw?
Neither here nor there
The rest of this (campaign) speech is just as confused and disjointed, where Senator Poe jumps from one subject to another, not quite making the proper connections between issues. One of my favorites is when she shifts from talking about establishing a program for young entrepreneurs to get small loans for their businesses, to talking about encouraging a new generation of Filipinos to become farmers because otherwise what would we eat?
Yet the most important concerns are the transport sector and Internet speed: because that means equal opportunity for all.
One knows that Senator Poe’s image is premised on her simplicity and humility as a person. One hopes that the youth realize this need not mean simple-mindedness.