Editorial: Same-same, but worse

SOMEHOW, we expected what President Benigno C. Aquino III said in his state of the nation address: no mention of Mindanao except an encouragement to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and a passing reference to the killing of New People's Army leader Leoncio "Ka Parago" Pitao, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter Basit Usman, and Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir and the capture of former BIFF vice chair Mohammad Ali Tambako and another BIFF leader Abdulgani Esmael Pagao. The BBL was not even tackled in its full context, but merely mentioned as a congratulatory spiel for the Congress' work.

"Pangunahin siyempre po dito: Ang Bangsamoro Basic Law. Sa mga tutol sa batas na ito: Palagay ko, obligasyon ninyong magmungkahi ng mas magandang solusyon. Kung wala kayong alternatibo, ginagarantiya lang ninyong hindi maaabot ang pagbabago. Ilang buhay pa ang kailangang ibuwis para magising ang lahat sa obligasyong baguhin ang sirang status quo sa Muslim Mindanao?" the President said. That's one phrase mentioning them all, plus one 55-word paragraph praising the BBL in the two hours and ten minutes speech. In 134 words, however, he thanked his yaya Yolly Yabes, not as a passing mention, but as a detailed discussion.

"At gusto ko pong ipakilala sa inyo, sa mga hindi nakaaalala sa inyo, si Yolly Yebes, na namamahala sa aking tahanan. Sinisiguro mong nakakakain ako sa tamang oras, inaayos ang aking gamit tuwing may biyahe sa Pilipinas man o sa ibang bansa, at kung minsan pa nga ay pinagkakatiwalaan pa kitang humawak ng dokumento at nabibilinan para sa aking trabaho. Tunay mong ipinaparamdam ang iyong kalinga hindi lang sa akin, kundi pati sa mga katrabaho ko sa gobyerno. Kapag sinabi ko sa iyong, "may meeting tayo, pakihanda mo naman ang makakain," hindi mo na ako tinatanong ng "kailan" o "ilan,” hindi mo na ako pinag-aalala, tinitiyak mo na lamang na lahat ng kailangan ay maasikaso. Yolly, minabuti kong personal mong mapanood ang Sonang ito, para masabi ko sa iyo: Maraming salamat sa pakikiambag mo," he said.

We're not putting down the work of a yaya, they are noble workers indeed who play key roles in taking care of our homes. But this is a Sona, the State of the Nation Address and Mindanao is one big chunk of the nation. From the Sona we heard it appears that Mindanao is less than half the worth of PNoy's yaya. Worst, the Freedom of Information, a constitutionally guaranteed freedom is not even worth a squeak.

It's a bitter lesson to take, but which we should be taking right away. In the countdown to the 2016 elections, let us hone our radars to spot all those who are there not to serve but be served; those who are clearly hankering for self-aggrandizement and not public service.

It's true, we get the leaders we deserve. Truth hurts. But let us not be hurt any further. Let us all work together so that in 2016, we as Mindanaoans finally speak as one and put in position leaders who are truly worthy of our votes and are concerned about the whole country and not just how their yaya prepares their clothes, starting now.

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