Wednesday July 18, 2018

Ledesma: Rallies fizzle for who can quarrel with success? (2nd of 2 parts)

BACK in Manila, the usual coterie of the now moribund Liberal Party huddled in a chapel in University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman in what they bannered as “Mass for Justice.” They had shed off the usual yellow attire and they came all dressed in immaculate white the sheen was like that of a sheep’s clothing. Former President Noynoy Aquino had lost so much weight. Senators Frank Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, loser Mar Roxas and VP Leni Robredo were all there wearing glum faces. Noynoy managed to say a brief statement saying “dapat magkaisa para pigilan ang pagpapatay.” He forgot that he, too, is actually facing a case in the Sandiganbayan for the slaughter of SAF 44. I need not elaborate on that one. Roxas is still in disbelief. Did I hear him say “I told you so?”

Conspicuously absent in the rallies were Senator Sonny Trillanes and Riza Hontiveros or maybe the camera just missed them. For how could they miss an occasion like this? Duterte himself encouraged them to join the protest rallies.

Forty-five years had passed. The corpse on Marcos is buried seven feet below the ground. We have a new President which was duly elected by 16 million people. Some smart asses would say that is not a majority.

They conveniently brushed aside the fact that as of the latest survey, almost 85 percent of Filipinos already approved of what Duterte and his administration are doing. If they cannot accept that then maybe they should ponder why the rallies last Thursday were so pipsqueak. So insignificant the so-called “Yellowtards” have to hide in a chapel in the safe confines of UP Diliman for yet another show of piety.

You want a piece of advice? Better help in nation building. Next year is a Build, Build, Build year to borrow the slogan of Vince Dizon of BCDA. Next year, we will run out of labor force as the government will embark on an unprecedented implementation of railway projects, six systems in all, these according to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Cesar Chavez.

Secretary Arthur Tugade himself said that DOTr will have to set up a railway academy to have thousands of laborers, engineers and maintenance crew educated and trained.

President Duterte himself had set simple terms of peace settlement. The combatants of the New People's Army, he instructed, just show up in any military or police headquarters, indicate that he or she wants to go back to the folds of the law. If he wants to go farming, he will be given a piece of land to till. Others can be employed as forest guards, or, as Chavez and Tugade said, be employed in railways, MRTs and LRTs. I cannot say the same for Joma Sison. The last time Duterte talked to him he was offered an eternal safe conduct pass to come home to the Philippines and avail of free hospitalization courtesy of the government as he looks ill. The master of double talk however answered with an ambush of Duterte’s presidential security guards. In the meantime, Moody’s rating of the Philippines remains at Baa2 a stable outlook and an investment grade.

The last time I met Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez, he was all sparkling and contentedly happy. This workaholic pilots the Philippines economic flagship. Dominguez is doubly happy Moody’s sees 6.5 GDP growth by the end of 2017. Even the critical Rappler banners that for frankly who can refute or quarrel with success?