My lawyer-wife Rhina and I recently went to Singapore for a three-day breather.
Although we had agreed to shy away from political dramas at home, we found ourselves talking about them and in the process saw what the Philippines lacks in terms of traffic, road system, urban planning, business processes and discipline, compared to the Lion City.
It was not our first time in Singapore, our favorite destination when we want to rest. But with every visit, I, personally, always get overpowered by admiration on one hand and envy on the other. I can only dream that someday we would be as disciplined as the Singaporeans and our government as efficient as theirs.
As the head of the Manila Broadcasting Company Network News and the gatekeeper of regional news for dzRH, I have been privileged to go around the archipelago every so often and I can say I have not seen a local government unit functioning like whatever counterpart it may have in Singapore.
Of course, we cannot be like Singapore. As what the late Lee Kwan Yew said about his country when the locals were envying the British government: “Singapore is not British and British is not Singapore.” And so is the Philippines.
In a 1965 speech, Lee compared Singapore to a shooting stick, saying, “To sit on a stool is more comfortable and stable than to sit on a shooting stick. Right? Now we are on a shooting stick. But I intend to sit on that shooting stick and since that is all I have got–214 [square]miles–we will jolly well make it a strong shooting stick. You have seen Singapore, the people here? It is a shooting stick made of steel.”
Now, what is the Philippines made of? We are made of leaders with the brains of a shooting stick. Many have manifested their intention to lead as early as today, many have been going around the country with their make-believe stories and sweet promises.
Just recently, President Aquino went to vote-rich Cebu (2.5 million, the highest in the country) with his minions.
During his visit, he lambasted Vice President Jejomar Binay for telling the public that his administration did nothing good in Cebu.
The President said Binay should have his eyes checked for him to see the real picture.
I am no fan of Binay nor of this administration. But I am a true-blooded Cebuano. I was born and raised in Cebu. And now that I am based in Manila, I visit Cebu almost every week. And in all honesty, I still have to see the administration’s work in the province.
Basic: Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), a government hospital in Cebu City, was ruined in the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013. CCMC is home to hundreds of indigent patients in the city. Until now, however, the building has not been repaired and patients make use of the fire department as makeshift hospital. And you know what the reason is? Simply because the mayor is a member of UNA, not this administration’s ally.
When Sen. Grace Poe was invited last Monday by Tingog Carolinian, a student political group at the University of San Carlos, reportedly school officials barred the media from entering the venue where she was to speak. This, allegedly, was after the SVD priest who manages the university received a call from a government official. Insiders said the priest was afraid that the event would be used to lambast the President like what VP Binay did in Cavite State University after the President’s SONA.
If this is true, then I wonder how the government plans to control the CBCP when the Catholic network airs a commercial for an international congress with Grace Poe endorsing it.
Late last year when CBCP launched the commercial, I had the opportunity to ask bishops on their choice of endorser. I was told that they find Grace Poe suited for the commercial. Hmm. Really? CBCP just made the first dip into politics and nobody would like to believe otherwise.
The Philippines is indeed not Singapore and Singapore is not the Philippines.
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