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A BBC special TV report reveals our poverty!

It was 5 p.m. last Sunday afternoon when I turned on the TV and watched a BBC special report entitled “Toughest Place to be a Bus Driver.” Apparently this was a sequel to a TV special report done three years ago when Josh West, a 6.3 ft. tall black British London bus driver was chosen by the BBC to do this special report and flown to Manila and asked to drive the jeepney of Rogelio Castro in order to compare the difference. Call it switching roles if you will, but this TV report struck at the very heart of Josh West, who saw the poverty of the Filipino people through the Castro family.

To think… in this country a jeepney driver isn’t part of the millions of people who are jobless and therefore dirt poor. So Josh learned to drive the congested streets of Manila from Paco to the South Pier. Consequently Josh even stayed in the home of Rogelio in order to feel what it is to live in dire poverty. Then as the show moved on, Josh realized that Rogelio came from La Union, and learned that he was once a fisherman. Josh saw that life in La Union was better for Rogelio, but he has become a city rat and is now trapped in that vicious cycle called the rat race.

I gathered that before the airing of the first episode, Rogelio and Josh were featured by Eat Bulaga in the Year 2011. Unfortunately, we never got to see that TV show or BBC’s first episode. What I saw last Sunday was the return of Josh back to the Philippines. Josh had become a manager of the Bus firm in London and went out of his way to give financial assistance to Rogelio Castro’s family… even a 10-kilometer fun run to raise funds.

Josh apparently realized that he and his new found Filipino brother Rogelio shared the same values and earned a living by driving public vehicles for commuters. Upon his return Josh gave Rogelio a new fishing boat so he could have a better life in his hometown 200 miles north of Manila. But with the financial aid given by Josh… Rogelio was now better off than most of his fellow jeepney drivers. Josh even played Godfather to Rogelio’s grandson and offered to pay the tuition fees of these kids to a private school where they stand a better chance of landing a decent job.

Thank you BBC for this truly heart rending TV Special where a London bus driver met a Manila jeepney driver. But Josh had a big heart and went out of his way to help Rogelio financially. We are not ashamed to show our poverty to the millions of televiewers watching that BBC TV report. But Rogelio and the millions of poor Filipinos only want a better life for them and their families. But why are we still poor? Where did we go wrong?

But while the millions of Britons and televiewers all over the world saw our poverty, we hope that the BBC would also do a TV special on the corruption that is still on-going under the leadership of Pres. Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III who came to power based on the slogan to remove corruption. As I already said, while P-Noy is part of the solution to our corruption, he is also its biggest problem.

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Corruption is one of the major reasons we all fought the conjugal Marcos dictatorship in February 1986 EDSA People Power Revolt because we believed that an honest housewife was better than a corrupt dictator. This is why the United States government that propped up then Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos (who said that phrase that was often repeated in the early ’80s “We know that Marcos is a sonofabitch, but he is our sonofabitch!”) suddenly dropped him because he was becoming an embarrassment to the US.

But 27 years later, many Filipinos are starting to realize that our People Power Revolt was hijacked by the political elite that continue to lord it over with their political dynasties pocketing the people’s tax money through their pork barrel and even cheated in the last two electronic elections. Worse, this corruption in the Legislative branch won’t be investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee because the political elite know that this issue is going to be too explosive for them to handle. So they are letting the NBI investigate. But then what good will that do when the NBI is under the DoJ that is under P-Noy?

At this point, I got a report that a new group that calls itself the Former Senior Government Officials (FSGO) who served in Cabinet positions in previous administrations, notably former Sen. Vicente Paterno, former DepEd Undersecretary Isagani Cruz, former DENR Sec. Fulgencio Factoran Jr., former Sec. Edilberto de Jesus and former Finance Sec. Jesus Estanislao has issued a call to citizens to support their appeal to the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct an impartial investigation on the P10-billion scam.

While I agree with this call, my idol Jess Estanislao understands well enough that the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is too beholden to her appointing power. Perhaps we can check out the new American Ambassador Philip Goldberg and find out from him if he considers P-Noy their own sonofabitch or will the US help our poor Filipinos? Abangan!

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Email: vsbobita@mo-pzcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com.


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