Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Call it “Libingan ng Bayan” if Marcos is to be accomodated

It seems that never before has the nation been as divided as today. Just think:  people as well as various religious organizations, are currently divided over the RH bill; they are now also debating the question of whether the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos ought to be buried in the nation’s most hallowed grounds, the Libingan ng mga Bayani or not. There’s argument about whether there should be a total mining ban in the country or not, in the aftermath of the collapse of mine tunnels in Compostela Valley that buried 17 small-scale miners. There are pro and contrary opinions about the impending impeachment trial of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez,  the showman Willie Revillame, the merits of fuel subsidy and the postponement to 2013 of the ARMM elections, ad nauseum.
The debate over these issues and many more furiously rages over the tri-media daily. About the only issues where the people seem to be truly united are the realities of spiralling prices of basic commodities, the lack of employment and President Aquino’s plunging acceptance ratings.

Population issue as scapegoat for bad governance

It’s sad that the various religious groups are now torn apart over the RH bill. For when one analyzes it, there really is no need to wrench up the nation had the RH proponents not made population a scapegoat or whipping boy for the ills confronting the nation, such as the lack of employment opportunities and food security.
Columnist Dick Pascual so aptly put it when he asked recently why the need to pass a bill on the use of contraceptives when ours is a “cafeteria-style society” where a whole slew of options for ensuring “safe sex” and terminating unwanted pregnancies are available. The question is, why make it difficult for Catholics who do not agree to teaching safe sex to their children in school?  Why the emphasis on safe sex when they should be taught the right values, to begin with?
Anti RH-bill people such as a good number of members of the Partidong Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP) feel quite strongly that the RH bill as presently constituted could lead to the erosion of the freedom of conscience that’s guaranteed by the Constitution.

Development would make population issue lose currency

The myth of over-population is being whipped out of proportion. Indeed there’s over-population in the mega-cities that are bursting at the seams, but in the countryside there’s scant population and one can drive for hours hardly running into people, especially in Mindanao and many parts of the Visayas. The mega-cities explosion is caused in turn by bad economics and worse governance. I submit that if our economic planners stimulate the economy in the countryside with the right infrastructure and business opportunities, the population issue will lose a lot of its currency.  This was the experience of South Korea---when the economy prospered, couples engaged in cottage industries other than the making of babies, that the population rate simply went down without divisive control.
                                   Church as 'soft target'

President Noynoy was quoted as opining that he’s for responsible parenthood,  and therefore is pushing the RH bill even at the risk of being excommunicated. But as a pundit noted, P-Noy didn’t mind making that statement on excommunication because the Church is a “soft target” and he’s aware that it won’t move in that direction. Whereas, on the issue of the Marcos burial in Libingan, he continues to remain quiet. The reason, opines this pundit, is the Marcoses have recovered their clout and he’s afraid to go against them, especially now that he needs Bongbong’s vote in the Senate impeachment of Merci. It’s obvious.
The debate continues over the proposal to bury Marcos in Libingan. I’ve heard a  prominent and insightful ex-politician from the North argue that he doesn’t mind the dictator’s burial in Libingan, “but just strike out the word 'Bayani' as FM was farthest from being a Bayani.” I agree---if Marcos does end up in Libingan, let’s drop the Bayani and just call it “Libingan ng Bayan.” Except that in that case, what’s to distinguish it from the North Cemetery or the various memorial parks?
The solution to to avoiding another seismic split of the people is if the Marcoses were to be satisfied with burial of FM in Batac or Paoay amid all the pomp and splendor. Why not indeed?

                      Reactions to Gilbert Teodoro's rumored Senate run

The reaction to my recent query here, which was in turn premised on Buddy Cunanan’s Manila Times recent column, on whether Lakas presidential candidate  Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, should run for the Senate in the 2013 mid-term elections was not surprising---there was total agreement among his followers among the “Gibonians” or the “Green Team,” as they call themselves.  Let me reprint three separate reactions:

One reaction:

“The response to your query has been all positive----now, if only we can convince Gibo Teodoro to run for national office again. We need men and women of vision, action, competence and character in governance. But we should caution him not to rely too much on inexperienced volunteers who do not know the first thing about running a campaign and are de campanilla campaigners.
“Secondly, he should also not rely on traditional politicians who betrayed him at the last minute---he knows who they are…
“Thirdly, he should run a tight ship and trust only very few proven men and women of integrity with the money, as there were many in the last campaign who were just out to earn a fast buck. I had the unpleasant experience in dealing with a few, it was so disgusting.
Actually, Lakas did not deliver---that was the bottom line---despite their much-vaunted resources and so-called organization, its leaders were a flop and he trusted them!!!”

Another reaction:
”Actually I’ve always believed that Gibo should have gunned for a Senate seat first, shine in it (as he surely will, given the low caliber of the present nincompoops there), then take a crack at the presidency. He’s the best president we will ever have, but timing is the key! I’m all for it. Count me in.”

Yet another reaction:
“A look at the Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro fan page on Face Book, which has 550,000 members and growing, convincingly shows there is indeed a clamor for him to serve. Despite the fact that he has not said a word about this, his supporters remain loyal. Evidently there will be greater and wider support if and when he does make
a statement. Everyone is just waiting for his word.
“A caveat: He should learn from mistakes of the last election and strengthen and widen his organization by getting experienced and committed people, instead of just trusting the Lakas machinery which obviously did not deliver as he and everyone expected."

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