• What is happening to our country?


    WHILE being wheeled to the emergency room of a hospital after a near-fatal ambush in 1982, former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez asked then Quezon City police director Tomas Karingal: “What is happening to our country, General?”

    At that time, Pelaez, one of the country’s prominent political personalities having served also as congressman and senator, was actively opposing the coconut levy that benefited Marcos cronies. It was one of the reasons suspected behind the ambush.

    Last Saturday in a completely different setting, my friend Luie Guia popped the same question, but not addressed to a general or to anybody. Luie happens to be a commissioner at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

    No, he was not referring to the number of nuisance candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy two weeks before. Nor was it about the volume of work the poll body has to deal with in preparation for the conduct of orderly elections in 2016.

    Luie was referring to the AlDub phenomenon. He verbalized on his Facebook status what many others have in their mind as noontime show Eat Bulaga was staging what it called “Ang Tamang Panahon” weekend at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

    Luie’s status on FB: “What is it with this AlDub…I cannot understand…Bakit may mga umiyak pa…Everyone seems to have gone crazy…What is happening to my country?”

    I did not watch the show. I’ve seen two previous episodes though. But when I opened my Facebook at past noon, status with the AlDub hash tags dominated the threads. Unbelievable! I was told that Twitter was more amazing… more than 25 million tweets in one day?

    Later in the day, I saw some photos that friends uploaded on their accounts, showing such a huge crowd at the 55,000-seater arena, touted as the world’s largest indoor arena, watching the special show of Eat Bulaga, the longest-running noontime show.

    Video clips indeed showed people crying, shrieking, laughing as the love team of good-looking Alden Richards and pretty Maine Mendoza looked at one another, hugged, sang and held hands. Wow!

    I became more curious and Googled their names. I found out that Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza are screen names. In real life, Alden was born Richard Reyes Faulkerson, Jr. 23 years ago. He was described as a Filipino television actor, host, model and recording artist.

    Really? A recording artist? He must be too nervous when he sang “God Gave Me You” to Maine, or overwhelmed with the huge crowd before them. His singing did not give me an impression that he is a recording artist. But then, I remembered that Anne Curtis also has recorded an album and had filled Araneta Center for a concert.

    Maine was born Nicomaine Dei Capili Mendoza, who plays Yaya Dub after she became an internet celebrity for yet another craze called dub smash.

    Apart from the loveteam, viewers were also amused at the antics of Lola Nidora, Tidora, and Tinidora, the characters being played by comedians Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo, and Paolo Ballesteros.

    Reports said tickets to the Saturday show was sold out in two days. Tickets were sold at P1,200 and lower. Eat Bulaga reported a gross of P14 million for the show which will all be donated to select libraries across the country.

    It is really puzzling and mind-boggling how the show can get such a huge following and change the Filipinos’ viewing habits. Some say it was a good escape from the problems we face every day. Others say it offers plain good fun. My niece in Australia takes time off her studies to watch recorded episodes of the show on YouTube, or snippets of footages uploaded by a nephew. Seeing the show is a stress-buster for her.

    Perhaps when Luie was watching the show, he must have been thinking how Filipinos can be drawn to such a craze. He was probably wishing that the Comelec’s biometrics campaign would receive a similar reaction from the public.

    Indeed, 33 years after the failed ambush and 12 years after his death, the question of Pelaez reverberates and continues to be relevant, not only with regards to the AlDub phenomenon, but in so many other ways.

    When you get stuck in heavy traffic in Metro Manila, or when you have 130 people wanting to become the country’s president, don’t you ask yourself, “What is happening to our country?”

    When you lose your patience because of worsening telecommunications services even if you pay your bills on time regularly, don’t you ask, “What is happening to our country?”

    Where are our taxes going? I hardly feel the benefits of giving up at least a third of my monthly earnings when I go to a government office to, say, get a tax clearance certificate. For such simple services for which you have to pay separate service fees, you have to be prepared to waste time queuing or arguing with incompetent civil servants. Lucky if you know somebody who can make things easier for you by cutting through the line.

    Imagine having to go to a government office three times in two weeks for a paper that can be processed in an hour?

    For several days in the last two weeks, I have been asking myself if the PLDT DSL internet access is on rationing. I pay a premium subscription and I have not been late in paying my bill because it is automatically credited to my card when it falls due. I get strong signal, but no access. Even my LTE subscription for my mobile phone with Smart is showing either GPRS or E (empty) signal most of the time. It does not work either when the Wi-Fi is not working. Why? I don’t get any answer because the telecom company’s lines for complaints are eternally busy.

    Dealing with service inefficiencies and incompetence daily from both government and private business supposedly under government regulation make me wonder how and where the figures showing improved economic performance can be felt. What really is happening to our country?


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. miss valderama better to raise ur isue to pinoy and comelec na maging parehas ang election makkita mo ang sagot satanong mo

    2. brandogandanghari on

      What is happening to our country? 30 plus years after EDSA 86 yellow oligarchs sponsored “people power” yellow propagandist journalist still insert impertinent info like Pelaez in failed assasination para lang may masabi or implicate Marcos as bad guy. What is happening to our country is the result of edsa 1, it’s the death of nationalism and deterioration of this country, 1986 edsa yellow revolution is a treachery, it’s the return of yellow oligarchy disguished as democracy.

    3. These Aldub phenomena shows how the Filipino embrace low quality entertainment and willing to pay just pure kilig without any talent to show. If I will spend my P1,200, I will pay it to a concert whose singer can sing and dance well. Another thing is that 3 lolas, what are they teaching the young people? That it is normal to be transvestite?

    4. I posted a comment in one of GMA posts on their Facebook Page if these Aldub fans have already registered to exercise their right to vote. I just hope that they have done that before going to Aldub show. But what I get in return are bashing and rebuke from Aldub fans telling me that i am bitter, that i am “inggit lang”, that I am “walang kwenta”…hahahaha these people are really crazy.

    5. Even we our free country comelec should study why so many nuisance candidates filed a COC. What is happening to comelec?

    6. Why should some people think that they should first approve what should make the masa deliriously happy? This shows that there is an unbridgeable gap between the masa and these snooty but demonstrably corrupt and incompetent elitists who are on top of society. What is more unfathomable, this Aldub phenomenon of the masses or the BS Aquino Jr phenomenon of 2010 of the yellow elites?

    7. Anything up will sooner or later will go down under. That’s nature’s law as the wheel of life for everything like fame is but temporary. Aldub enjoys a phenomenal rise today. We don’t know why. Maybe Aldub is a kind of dope in which people are just too willing to get dupe. Yet, sooner or later a new craze will replace them and the wheel will continue to turn and hopefully for the better. Hopefully also that will be the case in our political scene. Five years ago, Noynoy was the flavor of the month and some of us know where that led the nation. Come 2016, will the Filipinos still be willing to blindly wallow deeper into the mud of incompetence, lies, madness and delusions; or do we rise again to claim back our long lost dignity as a people and as a nation? To be really and truly great, in the original and truest sense of the word, is our birthright. Darkness or light? Choose well . . . be the light!

    8. Ruben V. Calip on

      Well, Ms. Valderama, a bigger question than the number of nuisance candidates is “What is happening to our country with the Comelec allowing a foreign company run by foreigners control the elections through their PCOS OMR machines?”

      Have you been silent about this issue because this Comelec Commissioner is your friend?

    9. Oct 26, 2015

      Thank you for this column. You’ve just verbalized our frustration over government ineptness and incompetency and over telcoms’ greed for shoddy service.

      • The answer is more competition in public service. If you have dsl provided by only 2 companies, then you are going to get lousy service.

    10. LUIE GUIA is the same as those ALDUB fans who doesn’t care about what is happening to our country, because if he really care he should not have allowed SMARTMATIC and their PCOS machines dominate the entire COMELEC. Those fans doesn’t care because of people like this COMMISSIONER, who maybe have partake huge COMMISSION from SMARTMATIC. Starting from Sixto Brillantes to the present officials of COMELEC, it is (puro) COMMISSION NO (real) ELECTION, and that is what is realy happening in our country today.

      • It’s more like talking about running forward, but taking 3 steps backward and then claiming you ran forward.
        Get a couple of government controlled newspapers to print you ran forward and follow that up with some paid survey saying the people are happy about it.

    11. What really is happening to our country?

      It’s falling apart.

      5 years of incompetence and diverting funds into the dynasty politicians pockets.

      5 years of selling the telecom,’s and power companies to foreign companies that loot 90 to 100% of the profits.

      Add in the hundreds of other scandals involving awarding government contracts to relatives or dummy companies and the infrastructure finally starts to fall apart.

    12. This is a complicated issue. We can see problems but we are helpless. We learned
      that ” Pagasa ng Bayan ay nasa Kabataan”. Tell me what kind of understanding they are getting from their own family, school, neigborhood and media. If they grow up, will they be able to resist temptations. Will they be a good individual. If Filipino follow the Path of Goodness then our Beautiful Country will be truly blessed.