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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NYU Alumnus to fellow Filipinos: Remember what Leni Robredo stands for

Imagine a world where Robredo is the president.

Imagine a supertyphoon in the magnitude of Haiyan hitting one part of the Philippines, and she is nowhere to be found. The cabinet sectaries she entrusted us to are people like Dinky Soliman. Imagine the agony and the tragedy of Leyte, multiplied all over the Philippines, with increasing regularity as supertyphoons become the new normal. Imagine LP people in power bickering over who should be taking care of this, that. Imagine all of us scrambling to help our fellowmen. 

Imagine prostituting ourselves to other countries as we continue to collect "utang na loob" because our government couldnt take care of us. Imagine her lack of political will and how baranggay kapitans will again lord it over the distribution, choosing only allies to give aid and relief goods to.

Imagine international terrorists reaching Philippine shores. Imagine the havoc they will wreak in the city. And how many foreigners and locals did Abu Sayyaf kidnap or behead in the time of Pnoy? What about Duterte? How come we dont hear from them anymore? Will we see them come back with a vengeance? How will a President Robredo deal with them? By issuing one platitude and press release one after another?

Imagine a government with no sense of accountability. You report that small school children have to swim rivers to get to school, and the appointed secretary, chosen by LP, ignoring this, choosing instead to continue "roadworks" on streets that do not need to be fixed, but because of kickbacks in construction projects, one road will be repaired again and again, causing inconvenience to motorists. You will also notice these projects increasing in frequency as elections in the local level near. Kailangan ng budget pangampanya.

Imagine when, the minute you post your complaint on the President's FACEBOOK wall, Leni Robredo's cabal of advisers will automatically delete your message and block you. You, a taxpaying, productive member of this society, does not exist as far as your President is concerned.

Imagine the loss of free healthcare for the indigent. Imagine the billion peso budget used instead for some congressman's new house and yacht and kids' tuition for schools abroad.

Imagine the rape of the Philippines' natural resources, as our congressmen and senators with mining interests continue their irresponsible practices unabated, unchecked, as they have always done. Imagine the rising number of deaths of tribes people and ethnic groups who died fighting for what is theirs, as mining companies act with impunity, free from the prying eyes of the public, encouraged by permissive and corrupt government officials.

Imagine a country where Mindanao, and our brothers and sisters who live there, is ignored yet again. And while malls continue to be built in Manila, our provinces suffer because of our unitary, centralized system. Imagine the resentment as it continues to boil, and then explode. Imagine the unrest and the civil war in forsaken lands we should have given attention to. We could have prevented this, but we did not. We allowed Mindanao to suffer, and then seethe, and then paint them as the bad guys in the story. Imagine a president with no intimate knowledge of this rich land. Imagine a puppet whose strings are pulled by people whose wet dreams are made up of owning Mindanao's riches.

Imagine the crime rate going up, when a leader has no courage to fight drug lords, ignoring them as if she could wish them away with her beautiful, softly-spoken words. Imagine how we will all, yet again, be at the mercy of drug lords, snatchers, kidnappers, car-nappers. Imagine life a year ago, when criminals feared no one, and so everybody--even the law abiding citizens, lived life in constant fear.

Imagine big businesses fearless in their continued exploitation of their workers, just cogs in the wheel, replaceable every six months, no health benefits, no nothing. All those people given regular jobs--nearly 30,000--to be told again that they must return to their unstable careers.

Imagine LP's landed overlords with an unquenchable thirst for more, more, more, shutting the gates of the Department of Agrarian Reform once again. Imagine our farmers being told that they have to pay for irrigation. That they do not have a right to the land they tilled their whole lives. That they are nothing but modern-day slaves.

Imagine our OFWs voiceless again, those heroes who have left their homes in pursuit of a good life for their families. Made to suffer the indignities of corrupt airport officials, corrupt immigration officials. Their balikbayan boxes taxed to high heavens. Not given the privilege of a streamlined system, asked to run like headless chickens from one building to the next, asked to fall in line to pay their travel tax--as if they owed their government something other than the other way around.

Imagine the Church calling the shots again. Because Leni the president bows and kisses their rings in supplication, the bishops will once again be able to tell our women that they cannot have control of their bodies, that condoms are evil. Because of their continued refusal to deal with our problem pragmatically, the country has ballooned to 105 million people. And HIV is on the rise. All over the world, HIV rates are going down--except the Philippines. Who do you think is partly to blame?

Imagine the poor and the hungry, hidden from view when the world is watching. 

Imagine the implicit message that they are an embarrassment to a government that ironically put them in that situation. Imagine having a President who has forgotten these people she once promised she would protect.

Imagine Leni Robredo as president. Welcome to a crime-ridden, terrorist-infested, oligarch-ruling, selfish, myopic, full-of-excuses, devoid-of-accountability, deaf-to-its-people Philippines.

Actually, you don't really need to imagine, just remember.

Remember the mess. Remember the dead bodies shoved into one plastic bag, the government refusing to count past 6,000. Remember the crying and the pleading of typhoon victims. Remember the indignities the least of our brothers were subjected to. Remember the unfairness of it all. Remember how we watched them roll in money while we suffered. Remember that criminals partied in jail cells while we lived in fear out in the open.

Remember what Leni Robredo stands for. She stands for the rights of the partymates who put her there, not ours. She serves their interests, not ours. She serves LP, not us. She stands for everything that was wrong with this country.

My fellow Filipinos who love the Philippines, remember this when you fight for this country. Remember why you fight, and let it give you courage.

By Krizette Laureta Chu


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