PNoy deserves our respect. He earned it.

Some of the few things against President Noynoy Aquino during his ‪#‎SONA2015‬:

1. Always referencing Gloria and her mistakes
2. Grabbing credit from previous administration’s programs.
3. Never admitting his mistake

In fairness to this President, hindi ko naman narinig sa SONA nya na inaangkin nya lahat ng ideas. In fact, the “Pantawid Gutom” program started with Gloria. What he was emphasising is the efficient implementation of programs sans what we have grown accustomed to — corruption. The pantawid gutom program has grown since then, efficiently without corruption.

Kaya I understand kung palaging may reference kay Gloria. It’s a communication technique. Highlighting the good as against what was previously bad. He has to highlight the difference so we’ll get to love what we have now and never return to what was. Yan kasi ang gusto nyang maging legacy, his fight against corruption.
He also did say that he’s not perfect. And we should not assume that he is. I do see several obvious mistakes. But then, we can’t also expect him to enumerate his mistakes in his SONA. Let’s be honest — mukha naman yata hindi bagay yon. Let the people judge if his mistakes overshadowed the good things his administration has been doing.

But I get it why some people hate him. Ganon talaga eh. We’ll never be contented. And it’s a good thing in a lot of ways. I just hope that we’ll give this Administration the credit that is due them. For sometime now, we finally have a president that we can respect. Let’s give respect. He is, in the first place OUR president.

MMDA Against the World?

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) constables have been in the news lately. From MMDA constables selling “kakanin” (street food) — while in officer’s uniform — to last years altercation with an arrogant driver. And yesterday, a war freak Maserati sports car driving dude beat up another MMDA constable.

Maserati_driver_who_punched__dragged_traffic_enforcer_named___ABS-CBN_NewsLet me get this out of the way before I make my point: I hope the police find this guy. Nowhere in modern society should we allow this kind of arrogant power tripping to exist. Jail him, whoever he is, however influential and wealthy he might be. Eto yung isa sa pinaka-iinisan ko: mga mayayaman na nilalapastangan ang karapatan at pagkatao ng mga ordinaryong tao. I hope this will become a case study where every one is behind the MMDA constable and punish this rich, probably influencial offender.

Now, having said that, let me switch gear and say what every Metro Manila driver is probably thinking: Most MMDA constables are jerks. Yes, I’m not going to take it back. I’d say, 9 out of 10 of them — or at least those that are assigned to apprehend — are only after bribes. Not just the MMDA, this includes all the other LGU-based traffic enforcers. This is based on my 12 years of experience driving around the Metro almost every day of my life.

Accept it or not, we have this “lagay” culture. And these officers, making their meager salary as an excuse, are resorting to using their power to apprehend traffic violators to ask for bribes. And we, because we don’t want the hassle, whether the apprehension is correct or not, we give in to giving out bribes. It’s a cycle. Give and take. It’s ugly. But it’s the truth.

And 9 out of 10 of them MMDAs are like these. Take it to the bank.

“Sir, P1,500 po ang penalty nito.”
“May seminar pa po ito.”
“Tikitan ko na po?”
“Kayo po, ano po ang gusto nyo.”
“Kayo po ang bahala.”
“Sige, pa miryenda lang”
“Ipit mo nalang dito.”

Sounds all familiar?

I never have in my entire road driving life in Metro Manila did I see an officer apprehend me, tells me about my violation, and writes a ticket right away — no questions asked.

(Oh, I remember one time. In San Juan. I made a wrong left turn. The officer told me about my violation. Asked for my license. Wrote a ticket right away and told me “O eto sir. Mas mababang offense: seat belt. Para lang mag tanda ka.” That’s why I left 10% for these type of honest officers)

It’s not a hopeless case. I hope the MMDA and the LGUs will make some reforms to fix this sad culture of corruption. I don’t know how — maybe raise their salaries, or professionalize traffic management, or make creative ways to weed out the corrupt officers.

As to us driving citizens:

– DO NOT give bribes. Don’t be a contributor to the MMDA Bribe Fund.

– If they start sounding like they’re asking for a bribe, just smile and say “sorry sir”. This is how I get away with simple traffic violations. I know they’re asking for bribes, and when they know I’m not giving anything, they give my license back anyway. Simple but effective.

– In my opinion, if you know you were wrongly apprehended, you have the right to argue — in a most respectful way. You can also choose to fight it out for arbitration. One time, I got apprehended in Makati. I know the dude just wanted a bribe and I’m not giving anything. My fault is I said it to his face. Bad. Disrespectful. Sorry naman. So he charged me with the supposed violation AND for being disrespectful to officers. I said I’ll meet him in arbitration. And we did. I was found innocent. The violation was dropped, but paid the penalty for being disrespectful instead. So the lesson: always try to keep your cool and be respectful. Now a days, I would just say respectfully, “Sir, sa tingin ko mali talaga kayo. So, tikitan nyo nalang ako, mag arbitration nalang tayo.” Sometimes, that is also the key phrase for the officer to drop the wrong apprehension.

So, let’s run after the Maserati dude. But please, MMDA, police your ranks too.

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UPDATE: I still think that 1) it is never right to punch anyone unless it is for self-defense, and 2) by not stopping and/or alighting his vehicle, the Maserati driver is still disrespecting the officer. I would have stopped and argued my case if I have to.

Now, after watching this ANC interview with the driver himself, John Russel Ingco, I have some questions in mind:

1. How near are you to be punched by the driver of a vehicle if the driver is obviously inside his vehicle?

2. If Ingco is right handed, I’m imagining you should be very near, almost near the window to be at a striking distance. If that is the case, why would the MMDA constable be that near?

– Ingco said MMDA is grabbing his shirt.
– MMDA might say (presumably, based on his interviews) that he was trying to retrieve his cellphone.

Who is more believable?

3. Why would someone punch anyone in the face?

– Ingco said he was trying to get rid of MMDA constable who’s grabbing his shirt.
– MMDA said because he was taking video.

Interesting.

4. Was the MMDA taunting by taking a video? I don’t think taking a video is wrong in itself. But how was it done might have caused the difference.

Just throwing out some thoughts out there. This might need further updates as the story develops.

UPDATE 2: Apparently, this MMDA constable has bad history with other motorists. At least 2 motorists claim they had a bad experience with him — both say Adriatico was arrogant, hot tempered and violated their rights as motorists. Broadcaster Ted Failon read a February 2013 complaint against Adriatico addressed to MMDA Chairman Tolentino. According to the complaint, this MMDA constable punched and dented her car. It looks like the complaint either didn’t reach his office or didn’t receive any action at all.

But the MMDA Chairman stands by his guy. He claims that the other incidents are separate cases and should not confuse the Maserati case. I agree. This should be treated as separate cases. But my question to Chairman Tolentino is this: If these complainants file the complaints — in fact there was already a previous complaint — will he act on it? Or, will he still side with his constable — kasubuan na, eh.

Just a quick reminder to Chairman Tolentino: kami po ang boss nyo. Kami ang nagpapasweldo sa mga MMDA constables. Kung pwede po sana na kami muna ang kampihan nyo pag may nagrereklamo? Hindi yung parang mga banal lahat ng mga tao nyo at hindi nagkakamali.

Update 3: Just as I suspected, MMDA constable Adriatico is also a “Kotong” Konstabol — or at least according to those who claimed to have been victimised. He fits the profile.

“Miron”

Miron (n) – a Filipino colloquial term used to describe a spectator, much like in a basketball game, acts like a coach but in reality does not really know what he’s talking about.
usage: “Umalis na nga muna ang mga miron! Pang-gulo lang kayo sa laro.”

Yesterday, I saw a link that linked to a Facebook Note entitled, “Mr. President, Something In You Has To Die“. The guy’s piece is eloquently written. The dude can write! He has some wonderful thoughts, too. He talked about how he sees the president “chomp on the chicharon with gusto as you invent new excuses in your mind”. He described how his 2-month old administration’s defining trait has been its inefficiency. He tried to “help” the President learn from his administration by giving some advices. He said, “Pay attention.” Your dream team is just dreaming. Rebuild it. Don’t take the advices of the Abads, Soliman, Deles. Your BFF Executive Secretary is untrained – sack him. He continued talking about the communications group, Robredo and being Kris’ brother.

While I’m enjoying the piece, I noticed that I’m forming an evil-ish, irritated smile. At the back of my mind, I’m actually telling him “Ang galing mo bata. Ganda ng mga advice mo. Eh, kung ikaw nalang kaya ang maging presidente?

I had a privilege of leading a small company and a growing organization. If you’re from the outside looking in, all you can see are the successes, the failures, the faces that made the success or failures happen. What you didn’t know are the pains that are involved in the leadership. The hard calls. The disagreement within the team. The closed door brainstorming sessions. The challenge of hiring the right person and the pain of firing incompetent members of the team. The hard work of vision casting and making sure that the entire organization is traveling with you on the same path. The joy of friendships when you succeed and the loneliness of being by yourself when you failed.

I can go on an on. But the point is, leadership is not a piece of cake. Or some guy thinks it is. I’m describing my experience in leading a small organization. Imagine how it is to lead 90 million people.

PNOY actually answered him. A good gesture from the President, and a feel-good moment for this guy. Imagine the attention your blog received after that! But PNOY’s answer revealed something: Kid, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

I’ve seen people like this guy on the internet. There’s even a group that started a website called “Anti Pinoy”. They are Filipinos, but their thrust is to find all the negative things about our country, our government and the people itself. I usually don’t mind them. But at some point I have to make my own little voice be heard, too.

My piece? We’re in democratic nation. Say what you want to say. It’s alright. But wouldn’t it be nice if we pray for our leaders instead of just making uneducated commentaries? Support his vision. Give his leadership a chance — come on, it’s just been 2 months since he started. It’s good for the country, it’s good for you. Flash out all those negativity and live a happy life!

And since we’re in a democratic country, I, too, can always say — “Tumahimik na muna ang mga miron. Di naman kayo nakakatulong!”

The Filipino Today

Originally posted by Atty. Alex Lacson (didn’t I say, I voted for this guy?) at his Facebook account, this is a great read in times where negativity and self disrespect as a nation is at it’s all time high.

* * *

The Filipino Today
By Alex Lacson

Atty. Alex LacsonAfter the August 23 hostage drama, there is just too much negativity about and against the Filipino.

“It is difficult to be a Filipino these days”, says a friend who works in Hongkong. “Nakakahiya tayo”, “Only in the Philippines” were some of the comments lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles received in her Facebook. There is this email supposedly written by a Dutch married to a Filipina, with 2 kids, making a litany of the supposed stupidity or idiocy of Filipinos in general. There was also this statement by Fermi Wong, founder of Unison HongKong, where she said – “Filipino maids have a very low status in our city”. Then there is this article from a certain Daniel Wagner of Huffington Post, wherein he said he sees nothing good in our country’s future.

Clearly, the hostage crisis has spawned another crisis – a crisis of faith in the Filipino, one that exists in the minds of a significant number of Filipinos and some quarters in the world.

It is important for us Filipinos to take stock of ourselves as a people – of who we truly are as a people. It is important that we remind ourselves who the Filipino really is, before our young children believe all this negativity that they hear and read about the Filipino.

We have to protect and defend the Filipino in each one of us.

The August 23 hostage fiasco is now part of us as Filipinos, it being part now of our country’s and world’s history. But that is not all that there is to the Filipino. Yes, we accept it as a failure on our part, a disappointment to Hong Kong, China and to the whole world.

But there is so much more about the Filipino.

In 1945, at the end of World War II, Hitler and his Nazi had killed more than 6 million Jews in Europe. But in 1939, when the Jews and their families were fleeing Europe at a time when several countries refused to open their doors to them, our Philippines did the highly risky and the unlikely –thru President Manuel L Quezon, we opened our country’s doors and our nation’s heart to the fleeing and persecuted Jews. Eventually, some 1,200 Jews and their families made it to Manila. Last 21 June 2010, or 70 years later, the first ever monument honoring Quezon and the Filipino nation for this “open door policy” was inaugurated on Israeli soil, at the 65-hectare Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon LeZion, Israel.

The Filipino heart is one of history’s biggest, one of the world’s rare jewels, and one of humanity’s greatest treasures.

In 2007, Baldomero M. Olivera, a Filipino, was chosen and awarded as the Scientist for the Year 2007 by Harvard University Foundation, for his work in neurotoxins which is produced by venomous cone snails commonly found in the tropical waters of Philippines. Olivera is a distinguished professor of biology at University of Utah, USA. The Scientist for the Year 2007 award was given to him in recognition to his outstanding contribution to science, particularly to molecular biology and groundbreaking work with conotoxins. The research conducted by Olivera’s group became the basis for the production of commercial drug called Prialt (generic name – Ziconotide), which is considered more effective than morphine and does not result in addiction.
The Filipino mind is one of the world’s best, one of humanity’s great assets.

The Filipino is capable of greatness, of making great sacrifices for the greater good of the least of our people. Josette Biyo is an example of this. Biyo has masteral and doctoral degress from one of the top universities in the Philippines – the De La Salle University (Taft, Manila) – where she used to teach rich college students and was paid well for it. But Dr Biyo left all that and all the glamour of Manila, and chose to teach in a far-away public school in a rural area in the province, receiving the salary of less than US$ 300 a month. When asked why she did that, she replied “but who will teach our children?” In recognition of the rarity of her kind, the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States honoured Dr Biyo a very rare honor – by naming a small and new-discovered planet in our galaxy as “Biyo”.

The Filipino is one of humanity’s best examples on the greatness of human spirit!

Efren Penaflorida was born to a father who worked as a tricycle driver and a mother who worked as laundrywoman. Through sheer determination and the help of other people, Penaflorida finished college. In 1997, Penaflorida and his friends formed a group that made pushcarts (kariton) and loaded them with books, pens, crayons, blackboard, clothes, jugs of water, and a Philippine flag. Then he and his group would go to the public cemetery, market and garbage dump sites in Cavite City – to teach street children with reading, math, basic literacy skills and values, to save them from illegal drugs and prevent them from joining gangs. Penaflorida and his group have been doing this for more than a decade. Last year, Penaflorida was chosen and awarded as CNN Hero for 2009.

Efren Penaflorida is one of the great human beings alive today. And he is a Filipino!

Nestor Suplico is yet another example of the Filipino’s nobility of spirit. Suplico was a taxi driver In New York. On 17 July 2004, Suplico drove 43 miles from New York City to Connecticut, USA to return the US$80,000 worth of jewelry (rare black pearls) to his passenger who forgot it at the back seat of his taxi. When his passenger offered to give him a reward, Suplico even refused the reward. He just asked to be reimbursed for his taxi fuel for his travel to Connecticut. At the time, Suplico was just earning $80 a day as a taxi driver. What do you call that? That’s honesty in its purest sense. That is decency most sublime. And it occurred in New York, the Big Apple City, where all kinds of snakes and sinners abound, and a place where – according to American novelist Sydney Sheldon – angels no longer descend. No wonder all New York newspapers called him “New York’s Most Honest Taxi Driver”. The New York City Government also held a ceremony to officially acknowledge his noble deed. The Philippine Senate passed a Resolution for giving honors to the Filipino people and our country.

In Singapore, Filipina Marites Perez-Galam, 33, a mother of four, found a wallet in a public toilet near the restaurant where she works as the head waitress containing 16,000 Singaporean dollars (US $11,000). Maritess immediately handed the wallet to the restaurant manager of Imperial Herbal restaurant where she worked located in Vivo City Mall. The manager in turn reported the lost money to the mall’s management. It took the Indonesian woman less than two hours to claim her lost wallet intended for her son’s ear surgery that she and her husband saved for the medical treatment. Maritess refused the reward offered by the grateful owner and said it was the right thing to do.

The Filipina, in features and physical beauty, is one of the world’s most beautiful creatures! Look at this list – Gemma Cruz became the first Filipina to win Miss International in 1964; Gloria Diaz won as Miss Universe in 1969; Aurora Pijuan won Miss International in 1970; Margie Moran won Miss Universe in 1973; Evangeline Pascual was 1st runner up in Miss World 1974; Melanie Marquez was Miss International in 1979; Ruffa Gutierrez was 2nd runner up in Miss World 1993; Charlene Gonzalez was Miss Universe finalist in 1994; Mirriam Quiambao was Miss Universe 1st runner up in 1999; and last week, Venus Raj was 4th runner up in Miss Universe pageant.

I can cite more great Filipinos like Ramon Magsaysay, Ninoy Aquino, Leah Salonga, Manny Pacquaio, Paeng Nepomuceno, Tony Meloto, Joey Velasco, Juan Luna and Jose Rizal. For truly, there are many more great Filipinos who define who we are as a people and as a nation – each one of them is part of each one of us, for they are Filipinos like us, for they are part of our history as a people.

What we see and hear of the Filipino today is not all that there is about the Filipino. I believe that the Filipino is higher and greater than all these that we see and hear about the Filipino. God has a beautiful story for us as a people. And the story that we see today is but a fleeting portion of that beautiful story that is yet to fully unfold before the eyes of our world.

So let’s rise as one people. Let’s pick up the pieces. Let’s ask for understanding and forgiveness for our failure. Let us also ask for space and time to correct our mistakes, so we can improve our system.

To all of you my fellow Filipinos, let’s keep on building the Filipino great and respectable in the eyes of our world – one story, two stories, three stories at a time – by your story, by my story, by your child’s story, by your story of excellence at work, by another Filipino’s honesty in dealing with others, by another Pinoy’s example of extreme sacrifice, by the faith in God we Filipinos are known for.

Every Filipino, wherever he or she maybe in the world today, is part of the solution. Each one of us is part of the answer. Every one of us is part of the hope we seek for our country. The Filipino will not become a world-class citizen unless we are able to build a world-class homeland in our Philippines.

We are a beautiful people. Let no one in the world take that beauty away from you. Let no one in the world take away that beauty away from any of your children! We just have to learn – very soon – to build a beautiful country for ourselves, with an honest and competent government in our midst.

Mga kababayan, after reading this, I ask you to do two things.

First, defend and protect the Filipino whenever you can, especially among your children. Fight all this negativity about the Filipino that is circulating in many parts of the world. Let us not allow this single incident define who the Filipino is, and who we are as a people. And second, demand for good leadership and good government from our leaders. Question both their actions and inaction; expose the follies of their policies and decisions. The only way we can perfect our system is by engaging it. The only way we can solve our problem, is by facing it, head on.

We are all builders of the beauty and greatness of the Filipino. We are the architects of our nation’s success.

To all the people of HK and China, especially the relatives of the victims, my family and I deeply mourn with the loss of your loved ones. Every life is precious. My family and I humbly ask for your understanding and forgiveness.

Excitement, the internet and the government

I have explained in the last election campaign that Noynoy Aquino may not be your most experienced and knowledgable candidate, but with his integrity and passion to do what is good, he can inspire the people and the government. His first 29 days in office reflects just that.

Notice how pumped up every government departments are. Lahat nagpapakitang gilas. Everyone wants to do the right thing and innovate for the good. Either this is your typical ningas kugon or something really good is happening in our government and its leadership.

One great thing that I see, and because this is close to my heart as a technopreneur, is the planned use of social networks and the internet as a whole in delivering accurate and fast service to the people. This week, the communications group laid out the plan for a very ambitious feedback mechanism where every Filipinos can send feedback to the government through Facebook, Twitter and cellphones.

That may be huge, but there are relatively small things but definitely very useful. For instance, MMDA, one of the most hated department of the government, not just by the street vendors but by motorists too, is going to hit a 3-pointer with the plan to make them accessible via Twitter.

mmda.jpg

One of my most accessed blog is about MMDA kotong cops‘ petty abuses. Imagine if you have a camera phone and you encounter abuses on the road. You just need to point, click and send to MMDA’s twitter account. That alone is a gun in itself. If all MMDA personnel know that you have a way to report their abuses to the government, they will think twice.

Imagine if this process is perfected and employed throughout the government agencies. There will be no corruption. And the services will be more effective and efficient.

Sana hindi ‘to nignas kugon. We’ve been longing for an efficient government. PNoy’s leadership is off to a good start.