Learning from Lyka

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By Jun Ledesma

Sunbursts

Monday, August 4, 2014


PRESIDENT Aquino’s penultimate SONA was a tear jerker. He was pretty emotional as he started to invoke the virtues of his famous parents. Reminiscences can indeed evoke sentimentalism and Filipinos are incorrigibly sensitive in that score. Television script writers are adept in exploiting the emotionalism of Pinoys. Soap operas that take up for most of our precious TV time are dedicated to this genre because it’s what rates and it’s what makes oodles of money in commercials.

Just a night before the President’s state of the nation address, Filipinos overwhelmingly voted for Lyka Garainod as Grand Champion in The Voice Kid Philippines. The cute girl who grew up in the ghettos has the voice and the talent considering her age although not a few rated Darren as the better singer. But in a competition where the television audience nationwide are made to judge, expect the emotional Pinoys to sympathize with Lyka (and that includes three votes from me not to mention the fact that I campaigned for her with my immediate family members). But Lyka is not a pushover. I see in her a new child star in the making. She has a pair of eyes that are innocently expressive and a background that tells a story. Anything she does now is worth watching. Both her voice and later…her acting… can be honed to shape her into a diamond of a star.
I am not saying that President Aquino repaired to Lyka’s overwhelming public support when he crafted his speech. But evoking the virtues of his famous parents like portraying Lyka as a poor little girl, earned him sympathies. But I doubt whether the sentiments and emotionalism will last in the case of the President. He recited a litany of performance telling us about how his DPWH Sec. Singson performed in infrastructure development, how Sec. Mar Roxas and Rehab czar Ping Lacson are out-performing even the Americans in providing shelter for typhoon and war victims and Energy Sec. Icot Petilla’s super-action in restoring power and ensuring sufficient power for the energy hungry industries. There was euphoria while the figures are being recited and a beneficiary speaks well of the Aquino administration. The senators and the legislators deliriously cheered the President. But what do we expect from the captured audience?

When the rapture settled down we all go back to reality. DPWH Singson thought that billions earmarked for infrastructures are meant only for the National Capital Region. The President was made to believe that all is well after the recent typhoon. Out in Sta. Rosa and Nuvali, felled trees still litter the unlit streets. The President mentioned P5-billion for ARMM but that has always been that way. The amount is immorally paltry considering the sad fact that the region had been deprived of national government attention for decades. In Zamboanga City, victims of government-inflicted bombing who lost their homes still live in squalor. Many had died not because of bullet or slivers from bombs but from sickness and hunger while living in tents. In Tacloban, thousands are still in limbo. What adds salt to injury is the government own claims that billions in aids as well as in government funds will be spent for rehabilitation and restoration of infrastructures. What of Petilla? Empty.

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It was a 90-minute speech aimed at exonerating the administration for what the Supreme Court ruled was illegal. Too long a speech to defend a mistake when all it takes was for the President to kick out DBM Sec. Florencio Abad for trifling with “savings” and Sec. Proceso Alcala for telling him lies about the country’s rice sufficiency and failing to curb cocolisap before it became a menace. The nation still grants that the President is still clean so why keep the sinkers in his administration.

So much had been said to justify the scandalous and illegal expenditures under the Disbursement Acceleration Program. Members of the Cabinet and legislators thunderously clapped in deafening jubilation. Outside of the Batasan Buildings where millions had been spent in preparation for the SONA many Lykas are oblivious to what was happening. Many scavenge for food to live and dream that one day they too will be another Lyka.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 05, 2014.

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