Hezbollah in Lebanon? We have Herbollah in Gloria’s SONA!

BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET - Wilson Lee Flores () - August 1, 2006 - 12:00am
The President has kept all of the promises he intended to keep.
President Bill Clinton’s ex-communications director George Stephanopoulos

When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.

President George W. Bush

First of all, I wish to warn readers that this is not an anti-GMA column, because I hope Justice Secretary Gonzales won’t charge me with sedition for calling our leader Herbollah – instead of Her Excellency – after her most blatantly political stump speech ever in the latest State of the Nation (SONA) address.

Hold your horses! I must say I’m impressed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s multi-media SONA which – despite her contrived, choreographed PR antics of having mountaineers, tribal folks, generals, politicos, beauty queens and athletes – focused mainly on economic issues and her ambitious plans. I wish all our politicos – from GMA to her allies to her foes – would focus more on economics than on our propensity to wallow in and bicker about endless politics!

"Nagbukas ang Jollibee in Basilan," GMA said in the middle of her speech, referring to Mindanao. Wow! I almost expected the fast-food chain’s potbellied mascot to jump out from behind the prominent ears of Speaker Joe de Venecia on the podium and then wave like the politicos GMA was calling by name! It’s disconcerting that our President has to verbally genuflect and praise to high heaven all sorts of political "datus." When will she use the SONA to publicly scold politicos – her allies or not – for stealing, lying, cheating, scamming, and for their incomprehensible incompetence in public disservice?

When radio legend Tiya Dely Magpayo, DZRH news editor Chris Capulso and other broadcast journalists interviewed me on how I would grade my former Ateneo economics professor GMA’s SONA, I gave her a generous 80 percent for her economic plans, 93 percent for her elegant wardrobe and jewelry, and 94 percent for showmanship and sleek presentation.

I reject as hogwash the knee-jerk assessment of Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes and his leftist cabal, who likened GMA’s SONA to a telefantasya or TV fantasy show. He claimed her speech was all lies. It’s still too early to judge if GMA is lying, because we can only judge by 2010 when her term ends. No matter if her goals sounded like hyperbole (is that where we derived the Tagalog word "bola"?), those goals can be achieved if she exerts political will. Those goals can advance Philippine progress. If successful, economic success will totally wipe out all the Communist terrorists, NPAs and their various front organizations into irrelevance!

US Ambassador Kristie Kenney said, "This is my first (SONA) and I’m very impressed. I am also honored that she mentioned the collaborations that we’re doing together: the anti-corruption efforts of the Millennium Challenge Account, the Peace Corps. It is very exciting…"

Political attaché Scott Bellard, please inform your envoy that there’s a faster way to achieve your anti-corruption goal. Please ask President GMA to mass export many of our politicians as OFWs in Iraq and Lebanon, so they can teach the Hezbollah and other terrorists that it’s infinitely more profitable to be full-time politicos quarrelling in demo-crazy elections than to blow up people in suicide bombs!

Senate President Manuel Villar said GMA’s SONA projects can be accomplished if the revenue collections are increased. I agree 1,000 percent! However, I suggest that our politicos lower Philippine business taxes, which are now among the highest in Southeast Asia, so business people will invest more, and overall tax collections will increase.

Senator Richard Gordon said: "The projects are achievable as long as there is focus and political will… Now she’s saying there are funds that will allow their accomplishment. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Magagawa ba? Magagawa ba nang walang kalokohan?" Let us therefore be on guard with eternal vigilance!

Senator Ralph Recto said, "…How I wish that she expounded more on health, education and agriculture." I suggest that GMA pour more money and common-sense ideas into revolutionizing our disastrously mediocre educational system. Her new Education Secretary Jesli Lapuz’s pledge to continue GMA’s push for English in all schools is a step in the right direction, but the push should be faster and more vigorous.

Arroyo cites new airports for Palawan, Bicol and other places I didn’t even know existed in our archipelago (thanks for the geography lesson!), but what about the biggest of all airports, which cost half a billion dollars? Who shall run it and what are the government’s terms, for goodness’ sake? When will we finally open NAIA 3?

GMA thanks China, Iglesia ni Cristo and Gawad Kalinga for mass housing for the poor. When will the government mobilize the political will and resources to clear out Metro Manila’s humongous squatter problem? When will the millions of urban poor be given homes in the provinces and the vast slum areas be redeveloped for a better metropolis?

GMA says that a P300 million pumping station will supply water to Muntinlupa and Parañaque. Elena Luzuriaga and Riezle Estanislao of 344 El Grande Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City, e-mailed me to ask that this promise should not "be listed down only on water" and they thanked Parañaque Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr. for new streetlights. On the other hand, Angel Ibasco of 1748 A. Maceda Street, Sampaloc, Manila, wrote about a different water crisis – that of non-stop floods in their busy area near Dimasalang Street and Retiro, where so many vehicles pass daily. She hopes GMA will not forget the flooded streets of Manila as she goes road-building in the boondocks.

GMA cited new windmills and bigger dams, but I suggest a nationwide energy conservation campaign be pushed since experts predict world oil prices rising beyond US$80 per barrel to even possibly $100! Appoint an energy-saving czar to crack down on wasteful energy consumption, including politicos riding gas-guzzlers like SUVs or bureaucrats misusing red-plate government vehicles for personal trips.

Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona criticized GMA and described her SONA as "SONAvagun." I respect Tito Guingona as one rare politician with a real social conscience and a sense of honor. I advise GMA not to ignore the howls of protest and jeers. I urge her to disprove all her legions of critics and political foes by gunning for a good name in history by making good on even just half of her super-duper promises! I hope ferocious Typhoon Gloria of Philippine politics will be as over-eager, single-minded, tenacious, unstoppable and decisive in kick-starting Philippine economic growth, pushing sweeping reforms and gunning for her big goals!
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Thanks for writing; all e-mails will be answered. Comments, suggestions, jokes and criticisms are welcome at willsoonflourish@gmail.com or wilson_lee_flores@yahoo.com or wilson_lee_flores@hotmail.com.

AMBASSADOR KRISTIE KENNEY ANGEL IBASCO CHRIS CAPULSO CRISTO AND GAWAD KALINGA DELY MAGPAYO DIMASALANG STREET AND RETIRO EDUCATION SECRETARY JESLI LAPUZ GMA PRESIDENT SONA
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