Ask not what Duterte can do for you

asknot1

Chances are, there will be no answer. Because it is not about you. Or me. Or the pet dog barking up the wrong tree.

It is not about you demanding that he should fix this or he should remove that, because either you voted for him and you want to be proven right or you didn’t vote for him and you don’t want to be proven wrong.

It is not about you ranting at the choice of people he wants to put in place, because they are “recycled”, they are not the “best and brightest”, or they are just not good enough for your (lofty) standards. Guess what, he is the President-in-waiting and you are not. He has the prerogative to appoint people whom he wants to work with, and he does not have to get your nice little approval.

asknot4

It is not about you and me just sitting there watching him do all the dirty work and yakking till Kingdom come that he is this or he is that and he shouldn’t do this or he mustn’t do that. Armchair experts are only as good as the upholstered metal where their elbows rest; in fact, they are the worst kind of ‘critics’ as they base their statements solely on their own all-knowing self-righteousness.

It is not about you scrutinizing every move he makes and every word he says and pouncing on him like he cannot do anything right even if he has yet to formally take his oath. His pronouncements today do not yet carry the weight of the office he will assume on June 30, and there you are storming the gates of Hell for him to fail before he could start the ball rolling.

For whatever it is worth, Duterte said he doesn’t care about his haters. He is here to serve the people the best way he could. And “people” includes those who did not vote for him and those who persecuted him without let up before the election – especially the media focusing only on his “despicable” mouth, not to mention the pastoral letters and homilies from moral crusaders, so called.

asknot5

Now, if you don’t want to be “included”, you are free to make good your threat to leave the country if Duterte is elected. You have the wherewithal, right? Go ahead and pack your bags and leave the Philippines to Filipinos who want to remain Filipinos regardless of who their leader is.

But if you choose not to move your butt and continue to nitpick, that is your right as well. While doing so, examine yourself and think about these:

1) Do you report your correct taxable income?

2) Do you pay your employees the right wages?

3) Do you text while you drive and do you drive when you’ve had too much to drink?

4) Do you occupy the street as parking area for your car because you don’t have a garage?

5) Do you stand at attention when the National Anthem is playing?

6) Do you keep an unlicensed firearm?

7) Do you buy an expensive designer bag even if you can barely afford it?

8) Do you take home bond paper and other supplies from the office?

9) Do you work your full eight hours a day at the office without taking ‘unauthorized’ breaks to do Facebook, Candy Crush or Solitaire on your computer?

10) Do you not open your desk drawer to make room for envelops that will ‘fast-track’ the flow of documents such as permits, licenses, etc. needing your signature?

11) Do you not bribe a traffic enforcer to get out of a routine traffic violation?

12) Do you not bribe Customs for anything that you bring into the country that has commercial value?

13) Do you not segregate your trash?

14) Do you not throw candy wrappers and cigarette butts on the street and ignore ‘no littering’ signs?

15) Do you not spit anywhere and everywhere and spread your germs and viruses on the air?

16) Do you not use a ‘fixer’ to have your car registration renewed or checked for smoke emission, and to get your passport or driver’s license processed because you don’t want to fall in line?

17) Do you not insert yourself in the middle of a long queue?

18) Do you not use the overhead walkways because you are too lazy to climb up and down and just go ahead cross the street even if there are ‘no jaywalking’ signs?

19) Do you not look down on your fellow Filipinos and condescendingly call them “dukha”?

20) Do you ever donate to charity and not let the whole world know about it?

21) Do you ever volunteer your services to help a fellow countryman in times of calamities?

22) Do you ever patronize the works of Filipino poets, authors, musicians, painters, sculptors, artists, designers, inventors?

23) Do you ever report a crime you have witnessed to the authorities?

24) Do you ever open a door for someone? Help someone cross the street? Let someone pass your car on bumper-to-bumper traffic? Stop your car behind a pedestrian lane to let pedestrians pass?

25) Do you ever listen to your parents when they tell you not to stay out late at night?

26) Do you ever give up your seat at the MRT, LRT or bus in favor of a senior citizen, a pregnant woman, and a person with disability or do you remain seated smug while listening to your earphones and ignoring the sea of humanity around you?

27) Do you ever show respect towards your parents and elders by not talking back at them even if you think you are right?

28) Do you ever show respect towards fellow motorists by not unnecessarily honking your horn, cutting lanes, tail gating, and shouting invectives at them when they do the same to you?

29) How far have you ever ventured up north and down south of your country the Philippines?

30) How far will you go to effect change on yourself before asking your leaders to change themselves?

Time to look askance – to borrow Duterte’s word – at ourselves and contemplate if we are capable of initiating change through the small things we do every single day.

asknot2

You and I are just among the hundred million tiny snapshots that make up the grand mosaic of our existence as a nation. President Duterte is there to take care of the Big Picture, hopefully, the best way he knows how.

So, if you will keep on whining and carping on how ugly his mouth is and how “evil” his deeds are without giving him the chance to do what he needs to do – better just go away and live in some land of sugar and spice and everything nice where you will be considered as second class citizens.

The Philippines under Duterte will be better off without the sound and fury of sanctimonious people whose only claim to patriotism is their insistence that Daang Matuwid is the one and only true path. Six years of that, and are we as a people any more patriotic than Rizal ever was?

asknot3

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