New Beginnings

Disclaimer: I not a Political Science graduate, so if some terms are legally incorrect, I offer my sincerest apologies.

Coinciding with my first day of employment is the official start of a new administration in the Philippine government. While yesterday I had this feeling that today would be just ordinary, all those hopeful thoughts of my fellow Filipinos were transferred to me with the sudden inauguration hype. I seized the moment and toured Metro Manila via LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3. Free rides are awesome.

I was two years late to witness the first EDSA Revolution, the big event in world history which restored democracy to the Philippines. President Cory vda. de Aquino, following her late husband’s ideologies redefined the meaning of hope. From there, everything seemed to go smoothly. And then things started to spiral down again towards the end of the twentieth century. The people showed their power as a strong nation and were successful in ousting a corrupt old man in what was known as the second EDSA Revolution. The Philippines had its second woman leader, President Gloria Arroyo. I was just Grade 6 then, but from the daughter of President Diosdado Macapagal, I can’t feel but be hopeful to her as well that she will restore the Philippines to its former glory. After all, I want to experience those times when the Philippines was second richest in Asia.

Controversies surrounded her until it was 2004 and she decided not to run for office anymore (well, to begin with, she was eligible to do so, as she was not technically voted last 2001). I admired her then and I actually thought that she will go down in history as one of the great presidents, with the sacrifice she gave. However, after just a few weeks, she took back her statement. She ran and she won.

I was convincing myself way back then that the reason why she did this was because she loved the Philippines so much that she doesn’t Fernando Poe, Jr., an actor who has totally no experience in politics, to lead the country. Then those anomalies of nation-wide electoral cheating surfaced. I was convincing myself that she did those for the same reason. But then again as she stayed more in her presidential seat, the controversies increased exponentially. Walang apoy kung walang baga — I was starting to run out of reasons.

I have a confession to make: last 2004 presidential elections, I was actually able to vote despite being at age 15 way back then. I voted for my maternal grandfather who was too sick then to lift a pen. I think he wants to vote for Senator Ping Lacson then, but I chose to vote for PGMA. I was thinking then that her intelligence will make her an effective leader. Turns out I was negatively wrong.

It was just a month ago when I read this column from The Philippine Daily Inquirer. The writer (sorry, I forgot!) said that PGMA may have actually done some notable things during 2001-2004, but the power-hungry people surrounding her made her yearn to stay in office for another six years. The next thing we know, she announced she was running for office. And in those six years in her second term, she got the greed of those surrounding her. She even became more power-hungry than them. Yes, reading this article erased the former thoughts that have been floating in my mind. Running for congresswoman was a follow-up proof to me.

This 2010 elections, I really felt that voting for my choice of leaders would dictate how I will live in the next six years. It was a big responsibility. True enough, I did not vote for Senator Noynoy Aquino, but he was my second/third choice actually. In fairness, this year’s elections had a good set of candidates (well, every rule has an exception and for this one probably it’s that old corrupt man who wants to be on top again). In the end, my presidential (and vice-presidential) bet lost (but I admired him for conceding and pledging his support to the new leader). Then again, I was not totally disappointed.

In the end, I can’t help but be hopeful.

President Noynoy Aquino’s speech contains all my dreams for this country — to erase all its negativity and bring a government which is to, by, and for the people. His promises may be a very long list, but it seems to me that he can actually do all of them. Like what he said, if we have an efficient example on top, the subordinates will be shy to do wrong. In the end, we have a clean government. A clean government will serve as the catalyst to speed up the reaction towards the production of better projects and programs.

Our new president is sure to do good. If there’s one thing that PGMA lost the biggest, it would be her trust and charisma to people from all walks of life. Her second term was not really supported by the majority. This time, it looks like even those who did not vote for Noynoy (like me) are accepting the president-elect with burning enthusiasm. That is one aspect a leader has to have after all. Leadership is influence, as John Maxwell puts it.

It seems that after all, I can see the Philippines on par with Japan again soon. The hope I got from EDSA 2 burns in me with a new more powerful spark.

P-Noy, you better do your act well. I will be practicing constant vigilance.

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