19 C
Sydney
Thursday , 28 March 2024

PBBM, the statesman

Previous posts

Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco, LL.M
Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco, LL.M
Michael Henry Yusingco is a constitutionalist, policy analyst and law lecturer. He is Senior Research Fellow of the Ateneo Policy Center of the Ateneo School of Government. He lives in Macleod, Victoria.

My family witnessed firsthand the brutality of the Marcos dictatorship. An uncle of mine was imprisoned. A cousin remains missing but is most likely killed. Another uncle was forced to escape overseas to live in exile. So, it is unavoidable for me to carry a strong anti-Marcos sentiment in my heart. My disdain for the dictator runs deep.

But truly, I never harbor any ill feelings towards kababayans who remember Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. with admiration. I totally understand that many Filipinos can have a different recollection of Martial Law. And I fully respect everyone’s freedom of thought and expression. Live and let live, as my mother used to say. I can just hope that they feel the same way about me.

For this reason, I did not hesitate at all to join our Editor-in-Chief for the Filipino Community’s (Fil-Com) reception of President Bongbong Marcos (PBBM) held last March 5 at the Melbourne Town Hall. I knew that being in the presence of the dictator’s son was going to be surreal, to say the least. But I was genuinely keen to see him in person and listen to whatever he had to say. He is our duly elected President, after all.

I was really surprised that the affair was so festive. It was like being in Wowowee or Eat Bulaga. I suppose even politics can be “more fun” for us. In any case, it is always great to see our community celebrate as one despite the differences that divide us often. As one attendee told me, there is always hope for Filipinos to unite under a common banner.

PBBM was received like a wrestling superstar. The energetic host egged on the jubilant crowd as he entered the venue. Cheers of B-B-M! B-B-M! B-B-M! B-B-M! reverberated inside the hall. The chant was loud and rowdy but patently expressed love and affection for the President. There can be no doubt that the Fil-Com who showed up that night cherished PBBM. 

PBBM and his entourage at the Melbourne Town Hall.  
 PHOTO: Angelito Valdez Jr.
PBBM and his entourage at the Melbourne Town Hall. PHOTO: Angelito Valdez Jr.

But the event had other surprises, too. The Pinoy talent showcased that night was awe-inspiring. I know that our artists are world-class, but those who performed that evening blew me away. There was just one hiccup, though. That was when Florante sang his folk classic, Ako’y Isang Pinoy. He may have forgotten that we are compelled to speak a foreign tongue here in Australia.

READ  Philippine Tourism Campaign Goes Awry
Original Pinoy Music icon Florante sings his folk classic, Ako’y Isang Pinoy. PHOTO:: Angelito Valdez Jr.
Original Pinoy Music icon Florante sings his folk classic, Ako’y Isang Pinoy. PHOTO:: Angelito Valdez Jr.
A dance performance during the visit of PBBM in Melbourne. PHOTO: Angelito Valdez Jr.
A dance performance during the visit of PBBM in Melbourne. PHOTO: Angelito Valdez Jr.

When PBBM took the stage and addressed the crowd directly, I had an epiphany. For many, his last name will always be associated with the plunder of our country. As the ABC 7:30 interview demonstrates, he will constantly be held accountable for his father’s deeds. Whether this is fair or not is actually beside the point. Being the namesake of a dictator is a burden he carries all the time.

But the reality is that PBBM is a duly elected public official today. He won the presidency fair and square and came out of the race with a majority mandate. That is an achievement that only he can claim. But more importantly, he can assert that as our president, he has managed to usher the Philippines towards a promising post-pandemic future.

Indeed, many are glad that PBBM has resurrected our country’s respectability in the international community. Being the first Filipino president to address the Australian Parliament proves this. Furthermore, the Lowy Institute sees him as one of the most influential leaders in Southeast Asia. In just two years in office, he has successfully revitalized old alliances and strategically forged new ones to buttress both our national defense and our fast-growing economy. 

Speaking of the Philippine economy, PBBM can certainly report with pride the encouraging economic numbers of our country, as he did in the reception. Some people were pleasantly surprised by this update, while many were ecstatic that they voted the right person for the job. But it was also reassuring that the president himself tempered the mood a little bit by saying there was a lot more work to be done.

PBBM warned that there are challenges ahead and that every one of us has a role to fulfil in overcoming them. But it is also pretty obvious that his hand at the helm is steady. He is a true statesman, indeed. This is a reason to be excited about our country’s prospects moving forward. Even for the naysayers out there, this should be a source of hope, at the very least.   

Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco, LL.M
Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco, LL.M
Michael Henry Yusingco is a constitutionalist, policy analyst and law lecturer. He is Senior Research Fellow of the Ateneo Policy Center of the Ateneo School of Government. He lives in Macleod, Victoria.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get more stories like this in your inbox! Be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

- Advertisement -

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get more stories like this in your inbox! Be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

- Currency Converter -

Latest articles