A Farewell and a Welcome

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    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official. —Theodore Roosevelt

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    We love this quote of US President Theodore Roosevelt as it is so apt for our country today. May we all be enlightened, especially our elected officials including barangay chairmen and even the tanods.

    There have been many goodbye interviews with President PNoy and though we see him wishing he could have done more and have fully finished all his pet projects, there was no hint of wanting to extend his term or having a hard time letting go of the power. He will be turning the over the country in a much better condition and he thanks his “bosses” who inspired him and helped him in the past six years. He has received many accolades during his term and the economy has grown in leaps and bounds. Credibility is there. Traveling is fun in the Philippines. Just ask the 50 million domestic tourists who have rediscovered their own country. He is also proud of the way government-owned and controlled corporations have contributed to national coffers. PAGCOR, for instance, has contributed billions to the national treasury and built classrooms. PCSO has regained the public trust.

    He has emerged a mature, even-tempered man, taking the slings and arrows and, sometimes, the cannon balls of his critics in stride (but losing most of his hair, in the process. He laughs at his vanishing hairline.) So, here’s a heartfelt “Salamat po Pangulong Noy” for the six years of service, your firm stand in the West Philippine Sea incursions by China, for adroitly bringing it up to the United Nations, for the growth of the social service sector, the improved tax collections, our  robust economy, the recently signed lifting of the balikbayan box tax (up to P150,000 value), for the kilometers of roads, bridges, and other finished infrastructure projects, and many, many more achievements.

    Just last week, our boss Emil Yap III had a visitor who explained she merely wanted to say “Thank you” and to reconnect after the hectic campaign and tense elections. A confident vice president (VP) Leonora Gerona Robredo stepped down from her van in a white long-sleeved shirt with dainty ruffles down the front and black pants. No make-up as usual but still a glowing presence nonetheless. The staff, so used to seeing celebrities in our office, hurriedly came out to have photo ops and “selfies.”

    At the grand boardroom (where the longest, most elegant wooden table in the country is), under the 10 beautiful capiz chandeliers made under the guidance of our dear departed chairman, Don Emilio, Leni recounted the tiring (but fulfilling and exciting) campaign, covering many provinces, speaking at all fora, meeting people from all walks of life, and eating whatever was served. It was her second visit to the boardroom but she confessed she was still amazed at the long table which can seat 50 people and the chandeliers.

    Her life is less hectic now after the proclamation in Congress. Even on the very day, it was tense because the incoming President sent mixed signals. They were made to wait but he didn’t come.

    No, she will not hold office at the Coconut Palace, which she finds too grandiose and expensive. Her staff is still scouting for a suitable but less costly office. Of course, she is disappointed that the incoming President would not give her any post, but she shrugged, she can still continue to help in her own capacity as VP. I told her that the same believers who elected her will always be behind her to support her advocacies, cabinet post or no cabinet post.

    Emil then showed the VP his office with his collections, the biggest printing press in the country, the grand reception hall on top of the building, and, finally, the roof deck with its panoramic view of the Walled City. At the lobby, Emil showed off the tableau of the Star Wars in Lego bricks.

    Being young at heart, VP Leni enthusiastically discussed The Force with Emil. She promised to go back for another visit during the Christmas season to see the holiday decorations Manila Bulletin has become known for.(mb)

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