Pilipinas kong mahal

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

The astronomical price of onions in the market is caused by a confluence of smuggling and overpricing by middlemen.

Middlemen buy low from local farmers and then sell high to shops, markets and groceries.

Onion smugglers, on the other hand, are protected by the brother of an influential person and a former congressman from a province in Central Luzon.

Hay, Pilipinas kong mahal! Kelan kaya tayo magbabago (Sigh, my beloved Philippines! When will we change)?
Our leaders are either corrupt to the core or incompetent whose subordinates and relatives run circles around them.

*      *      *

The following is a jocular story (author anonymous) about the Philippines that I picked up from the internet:
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Heaven, God was nowhere to be found for six days.
Eventually, the Archangel Michael found Him on the seventh day, resting.
The king of all angels asked God, “Where have you been?”

With a deep sigh of satisfaction, God proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, “Look, Michael. Look what I’ve made!”

Puzzled, Michael said, “What is it, my Lord?”

“It’s a planet,” replied God, “and I’ve put life on it. I will call it Earth. It will be a great place of balance.”
“Balance?” inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to various parts of the planet. “For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth but cold and harsh. Southern

Europe is going to be poor but sunny and pleasant.”

“I have made some lands abundant in water and other lands parched deserts.”

“This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice.”

Michael, impressed by God’s work, then pointed to a group of islands and said, “What are those?”

“Ah,” said God, “That’s the Philippines, the most glorious place on Earth. There are beautiful beaches, rivers, mountains and forests. The people from the Philippines will be handsome, modest, intelligent and with a terrific sense of humor. They will travel the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking, high-achieving and known as messengers of peace and love.”

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration. However, he then asked, “What about balance, God? You said there would be balance.”
God replied wisely, “Wait until you see the idiots they will put in government.”

*      *      *

Are we Filipinos suffering from such a massive load of karma that we elect leaders who rob us blind or run our country to the ground?
One can say it’s the fault of the electorate. But the electorate is either ignorant or easily tempted by bribes.

It’s a chicken-and-egg syndrome: we elect leaders who buy votes for a measly sum, then these officials steal from us because they need to recoup the mon-ey used to bribe us.

But can we blame the masses, who comprise the majority of the electorate, for accepting money? They’re hungry, and hungry stomachs will ignore princi-ples.

The masses elect leaders based on popularity and not on principles. This is why the masses vote for popular but moronic personalities.
The intelligent voters are enormously outnumbered by the ignorant masses.

*      *      *

Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. was elected 36 years after Ferdinand Sr. was deposed. He certainly won’t steal, as he is trying to salvage his family’s name.
However, this columnist has heard whispers that BBM is clueless about what his subordinates and those close to him are doing.

He has gotten rid of an official who allegedly sold key positions for millions of pesos each. But some of those close to him are doing the same thing, accord-ing to reports from objective sources, and those with an axe to grind.

As to the latter sources, there’s a saying: where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

I was told, for example, that a lucrative position at the Bureau of Customs – such as being a collector – could be had for P50 million.
Whew! Do we expect people that coughed up that amount to be honest and clean?
Now that BBM has been told, it would be wise for him to investigate.

*      *      *

I have some unsolicited advice for the President: Why does he not make his elder sister Imee take part in his system of governance?

The President should consult Maria Imelda Josefa Remedios R. Marcos on critical issues from time to time. She doesn’t have to give up her position in the Senate.
Senator Imee has her ear on the ground. She knows what’s happening in and out of government.
Imee means well. We can’t take away from her the desire to replace her father’s infamy with honor and respect through her brother’s good governance.

And then, this is my unsolicited suggestion to First Lady Liza: Spend time in charity work.
People will love her and the President if, for example, she gets involved in feeding the hungry and caring for sick children in cancer wards.
Other charitable ventures Ma’am Liza could do for her husband are innumerable. The list is endless.

Many first ladies of the United States espoused their own causes.
Jill Biden supports military families. Michelle Obama supported the reduction of childhood obesity and education for girls. Laura Bush supported childhood literacy.

Hillary Clinton espoused health care in the US. Barbara Bush supported childhood literacy; the cause was also taken up by her daughter-in-law Laura.

Before her husband became President, Ma’am Liza’s law firm defended persons wrongly accused in court. My defunct Isumbong mo kay Tulfo program re-ferred them to her. I hope she continues to do it.

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