The SEAG’s opening night made us proud Filipinos
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - December 3, 2019 - 12:00am

I heard the news report that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, did not like the song that was played during the opening of the 30th SEA Games, which was held at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. The song “Manila,” which was an Original Pilipino Music (OPM) in the 1970s and popularized by Filipino band “Hotdog,” was the issue  Sara Duterte-Carpio brought about, following some Netizens who thought that the song was too Manila-centric and does not represent the country. When that song was played, it was when the Philippine athletic delegation was called to the floor and everyone sang and danced to that tune, including Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

If truly Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio had an axe to grind, it should have been focused on the translation of each English announcement into Tagalog or Pilipino. Why not Cebuano or Ilokano, Ilonggo or Waray? As a columnist who has been writing on this very issue for 30 years, this issue was one of my favorite pet peeves. However, in fairness to the SEAG organizers, when I saw the formal opening of the SEAG, like most Filipinos, it made me proud of the Philippines hosting the 30th SEAG. Mind you, the song “Manila” was not only in Tagalog, but also in English… so what are we complaining about?

To show our full support for the SEAG, while watching the Filipino athletes singing to the tune of “Manila,” it was truly a great time to be a Filipino. As Mayor Duterte-Carpio pointed out, the narrative of “imperial Manila,” where decisions and development are focused in the capital to the detriment of the regions, is among the arguments for a shift to a federal form of government.  While I fully believe in this argument, however bringing out our political development into our sporting activities is totally wrong.  

A month ago, when I was in Davao City upon the invitation of Davao Light and Aboitiz Power, I asked Willy Rodolfo if we could do a courtesy call to Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, but she was too busy at that time. I wanted to talk to Mayor Duterte-Carpio for her to lead the restart of the federal movement so we could finally see a true political change in this country. Alas it was not to be.  I hope that the Movement for a Federal Philippines would call for a nationwide conference for this hopefully by next year so we can truly usher in a federal nation.

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Last Saturday, I didn’t realize that Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso was in Cebu City. The mayor of Manila was invited to speak before members of the Cebu Lady Lawyers Association during their 32nd anniversary and Christmas party held at the Casino Español. Had I known that he would be in Cebu I would have gone out of my way to meet him, after all, we did have a dinner meeting in Manila last January.

I heard that Mayor Isko Moreno was impressed by what he saw in Cebu. He made this remark about Cebu saying, “Luminis na ‘yung Cebu. Nabawasan ‘yung nasa bangketa (Cebu is much cleaner now. There are fewer structures along the sidewalk). Eh, di good for you. Can you imagine if I am an investor? I saw it. I (would) want to invest here kasi ‘yon ang impression.” But whether this would last long or not is the million-peso question.

While Mayor Isko Moreno was impressed by what he saw in Cebu City, however he did not realize that while downtown Cebu City had all but removed the sidewalk vendors, I read the distressing news that “Sidewalk vendors who were displaced by the road clearing operations in Cebu City will be allowed to return to their original vending areas during weekends starting on Dec. 1 until Jan. 20 next year.” This announcement came from Mayor Edgardo Labella. Dec. 1st was last Saturday when Mayor Isko Moreno visited Cebu City.

If I meet Mayor Moreno, I would have asked him the question whether the same thing were happening in the City of Manila. Were sidewalk vendors who were prohibited to sell along the sidewalk been given a chance to return to their old sidewalk ally? As Mayor Moreno once quipped, “As a general rule, law and order must be implemented whether one is poor, belongs to the middle class or rich.” At this point, I would like to believe that the City of Manila has not allowed the vendors to return to their old places. But not in Cebu City!

Of course the media people who met with the Manila Mayor last Saturday asked him the question whether he would seek a higher position in the 2022 elections. Of course, Mayor Moreno denied he would seek a higher position in the 2022 elections, politely saying, “I’ll just cross the bridge when I get there. But for now, I have no plans. Indeed, this has been his standard answer to people asking him whether he would run for President in the 2022 elections. Yes it’s too early to ask him that question!

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

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