Yolanda and other anniversaries, On whose terms?


Amy Pamintuan’s Star column, and the PDI editorial, last Monday, had the common constructive insight that PNoy had erred in picking Guiuan and skipping Tacloban instead, on the Yolanda anniversary. I very much regret to have to beg to differ with friends with whom I have so much we agree on, that occasional differences, such as on that judgment call comes as a surprise. (I seldom agree with Bobi Tiglao these days but I applaud his piece the other day on Macoy’s technocrats, who remind me of Hitler’s Good Germans, egregiously insensitive to gross human rights violations.)

No one blames Obama for 9/11, Twin Towers, 13th anniversary of the attack, or Merkel, 11/9, 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall Fall. The solemn unifying commemorations were devoid of partisan heckling that could make security antsy. But, in our country, everything seems sadly politicized. Yolanda was just last year; feelings may remain high.

I commend PNoy for taking into account prudential considerations, to avoid more negativities our country doesn’t need. If I read him right (we have no contact). But, we continue to be a crabby circular-firing-squad country.

From the start, the Tacloban leadership, let alone the Extreme Left, seems to have milked Yolanda, to heckle PNoy. When did Imelda, Imee and Bongbong, all of Tacloban, first appear there anyway? No reportage I can recall. From their billions, how much have they donated to their very own? These questions may not be less than fair. No answers I have come across, either.

Guiuan people are no less than Tacloban people.

Yolanda should not make us forget that here in Palanan, Makati where I live, not far from Tripa de Gallina, an estero, many continue to live in their teeny-weeny rinky-dink places in the sun. In many parts of Metro Manila, I see people living on sidewalk shanties. They have had to live with their regular mini-Yolandas for years, regularly. They too need help and attention in allocating our all too scarce temporal and material resources, to deal with heavy rain and flooding, to begin with.

PNoy should not make media killings seem more important than non-media killings. Massaging the press with brownie points makes him trapo-ish. I am glad he is not so as to Tacloban, which he can visit presently, before Christmas perhaps. But, not to forget those who live in pushcarts and sidewalks in Metro Manila, scratching for a living, and stage wakes on streets. Mga anak din po sila ng Diyos.

We should hear more from the many in Tacloban we and generous aliens have helped, not only those complaining. Numero Uno should deal with many problems, on his terms, as elected leader.

75,000 have complained to the human rights victims compensation board, when the deadline fell this week. There is a move to extend it for another semester. Let’s give it to the heroes who chose to deal with Macoy on their terms. It is during PNoy’s watch that the formal recognition cum compensation has become possible.

Last Tuesday, was the launch of Senator Ting Paterno’s “On My Terms – The Autobiography of Vicente Tirona Paterno” published by Anvil. Interesting and edifying. Traffic caused me to be late; so, what else is new? Ting had gone by the time I arrived but wife Baby was still there. Ting, wheelchair-bound, graciously returned. We chatted ?if ever so briefly.

Ting wrote that his “recollection is that a senator’s salary was P20,000 a month, and each senator’s Countryside Development [fund]was limited to P15 million a year.” Page 196. I cannot recall my CDF – not toxic per se – but I do remember that my take-home pay was P14,612.50. In the Cabinet in 1986, it was around P8T. Kahit isang singkong duling, Ting did not make kupit. So it is our obligation to see to it that we elect other, more Ting Paternos in 2016. He was born on November 18, 1925. Batang Quiapo. Now 89. Buena hierba.

Ting recalled that “only Rene Saguisag and I did not seek reelection [Kuya Teroy didn’t either], but the two of us differed on how to perform our Senate duties. Rene insisted that one’s entire 24-hour day must be devoted to Senate matters. I maintained that it was unrealistic – politicians could not be prevented from using their free time in pursuits not directly related to legislation, such as those in aid to reelection.” Page 197. Earlier in the Palace, in 1986, Joker and I discussed that in the new legislature, each lawmaker should be paid a million a month, enough then perhaps to have every Senator join Manong Ernie Maceda and me, in having perfect attendance records.

On incorruptible Ting’s sexual preference, this anecdote: “And here are contractors reportedly talking about me over beer in Nueva Ecija: `Hindi namin maintindihan yung si Paterno. Marami na tayong sinubok. Ayaw sa alak na inalok natin. Ayaw sa pera. Umiilag sa babae. Ano baka lalake?” Page 154. Wise Ting knew that wife Baby would get to read the bio. Sutil. No tales of being oversexed and overpricing, now the n?ew normal?

At 75 and unwell, hospitalized thrice within five months, I now see the wisdom of Ting’s foresight. I cannot afford a long lingering illness, which scares the bejesus out of me; I was not even able to provide the family a home, which my late Dulce did, via inheritance with her siblings, where we live in Palanan.

I must have first heard of and noticed Ting when “[t]he New York Times once quoted [him]on its front page in the late 1970s [his]comment that the Philippine government was buying one nuclear plant but paying for the price for two.” Page 93. Macoy even then was using the overprice template. (Post-1992, the only time I made the Times’ front page was on ballroom dancing, unlike when I was candidate Cory’s spokesperson, all the way to the 1991 bases voting.

?I voted No. He voted Yes. But, he stresses in his book that we should have relied less on US aid and Japanese reparations. Page 53.?


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  1. We should purge the apathetic, pseudo-charismatic, partisan, dramatists that destroy the vestiges of the noble Legislature and government service.

    The Golden Ages of Legislature, where all the senators and representatives serve truly as representatives of the people, and craft laws that our beneficial to the citizenry (now a historical dream)

    The reality is an epic mongering of showbiz politicking and grave abuse, The senate has turned into a Comedia/ Theatrino, Senseless Investigations, allegations, character sabotage and humiliatation tribunal, and an indirect forum for campaigning and advertising political platforms that are mere wordings but no action and fruition.

    Members that take for granted their constituents, always absent, then would ask for interviews to garner symphathetic votes and support

    The idiocracy, hypocrisy, that have tarnished the golden halls of legislature, when will we savor a new golden age of legislation. How i wonder? Hoping that this governments platform of anti corruption, would be fair, non partisan and would still follow the principles of law, fairness and due process.

  2. Romualdez is making noise to cover up for his own failure to lead in extending help at the height of the typhoon.

    • @Antonio kho: VERY TRUE! Our Mayor should be held to account for the thousands who died because of his FAILURE to EXERCISE DUE DILIGENCE. They are covering up their FAILURES by stirring hate in the hearts & minds of my fellow Taclobanons against PRES. AQUINO. They ARE HIDING every HELP & CASH ASSISTANCE that the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT was & is extending to us, BEFORE, DURING & AFTER Typhoon Yolanda.

  3. “Guiuan people are no less than Tacloban people.”

    Let us hear dear PNoy say this in public. Oh, Atty Saguisag, who needs the Opposition to destroy this Administration.

  4. victor m. hernandez on

    Indeed, we long for senators who are enlightened, conscientious, and frugal. And I agree, they need an increase in salaries, if the senators are qualified as such. The constitution needs to be more precise and exacting about people who wish to be senators of the republic. The oldies who qualified and were senators are already gone or are weakened by the vagaries of time. God bless all of them, including former senator Rene Saguisag whose writings always brings enlightenment and amusement. Thank you, Sir, and thank you to the good and oldies senators.
    I hope the constitution increase the age requirement for aspiring senators to 50, if not 55 years old.

  5. Politics should never have been brought to the Yolanda disaster by Roxas carrying Aquino’s message. If he wanted to stay away from Tacloban, he should not have gone to a political ally’s area and continue the politics. He should have just stayed away. We do not need politics to divide people and justify not helping.

    • It was not by choice that Roxas has to be in Tacloban after the Yolanda typhoon! Unfortunately he blurted a typical political comment to Romualdez who is also a balat sibuyas. You cant blame them both of them are politicians. The gross is on the Romualdeze’s, seeking to much exposure by making the survivors of Tac, as pawn for his political ambitions. Of course Roxas also had some papogi points on account but, the bottom line it is the survivors that is suffering due to their st.?/d Mayor.