Today is holiday in my little nook in the world. I am now sipping tea, listening to a kitschy shampoo jingle played in a slow rock station, after a lively discussion with my favourite girl friends over a delicious Pinoy-style barbecue lunch. Everything is right in my world. And not just because of the vacation-tea-lunch-music-pals combo.
Today, just as I was sinking my teeth into a grilled chicken breast, the scandal-ridden reign of the little lady has come to an end and the rise of the son of heroes began. High noon of the 30 June 2010, after exactly 12 years, I witnessed another peaceful transfer of power from an outgoing to an incoming Philippine president.
Today, June 30, at 12 noon, Noynoy swore to become Benigno Simeon Aquino III, 15th President of the Philippines.
Today, on his inaugural speech, he swore to the Filipino nation to become the leader who will bring about the institutional and societal changes that will help us curb corruption, secure peace and order, uphold justice, and fast-track economic growth. Today, I witnessed the man we once knew as just the only son of hero Noynoy and icon of democracy Cory outlining the changes he believes should be implemented during his term to make sure we Filipinos find our place among the respected nations of the international community and find our dignity as a people.
Today, while watching and listening to the new president, I am elated to feel the lightness in my chest and the certainty in my gut—this president has already uplifted the country in one way. With P-Noy (that’s the name he prefers to be known by) now president, the government suddenly took on a friendlier face: simple, straight-talking, sensitive. So unlike the extravagant, evasive, brusque government of the last decade. This, many Filipinos feel, is a government that we can trust. P-Noy will be a president willing to work with and for the people.
Today, I did not hear P-Noy promising to bring us to the promised land overflowing with milk and honey (pardon the clichés). He just reminded us that before we can dream big, we have to find the elusive “daang matuwid”–the powerful imagery that he enjoined us to seek when he was still just an orphaned senator campaigning for the Filipinos’ votes.
Today, I am confident that we can soon find our way to this “daang matuwid”, with P-Noy leading the journey.
Today, I also realised that we are gearing up to respond to his call. Many of us will throw our weight behind the new president as he clears the way for “daang matuwid.” This, I feel, is a government that many of us will be willing to support. While waiting at a jeepney station yesterday, I overheard a yuppy: “Pare, wala akong dilaw. Gusto ko sana magdilaw bukas.” I did not immediately comprehend, then his companion replied: “Ako, pare magdidilaw. Gusto ko nga sana pumunta sa inauguration party.” Ah, I thought, it is Noynoy’s inauguration, and the common Filipino want to join him by wearing his signature color. That conversation may seem frivolous—those were, after all, two young men talking fashion. And yet, it also reflects the willingness that many of us Filipinos have to think not only about what P-Noy and the government can do for us, but also of what we can do to help him achieve his goals for the country.
Today, with P-Noy’s inauguration, many of us Filipinos has once again started to hope, to believe. With his inauguration, I also hope—and I believe—that we will also start to act as a nation looking for the “daang matuwid”, the straight path to a better future.