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By Dan Jimenez
1. The Philippines is composed of more or less 7,100 islands and islets,
depending on the tide. From afar the archipelago is like a rosary
broken in many places. To the superstitious, it can be a bad omen. To
the religious, it can be the sad writing on the wall. To the realist, it
is the reason for our fragmentation. Like it or not, our disunity has
been our insurmountable odd. Add all the various dialects, beliefs and
cultures to the mix and the result is a plethora of confusion and
contradiction. With the fighting among ourselves, we really do not need
anymore enemies.

2. This fragmentation may be the reason why one regional grouping
tends to take advantage of another. Of why the Spaniards were able to
conquer without even dividing the populace. Of why we identify
ourselves first from the region we came from before we address ourselves
as Filipinos.

3. Our politicians, those bogus public servants, have taken advantage
of these divisions to institute political dynasties and the systemic
looting of the national coffers with the present crop always outdoing
the previous dispensation. Over the years, the changing of those in
power seemed like a relay race with the baton being passed from one
runner to the next of the same team. The only difference lies in the
velocity of graft.

4. Quezon said in his fight for the nation’s independence, that the
Philippines was better off being run like hell by Filipinos than run
like heaven by Americans. From that time on, president after president,
Quezon’s desire moved on to its fulfillment. In 2007, just over 50 years
after Quezon’s death, the Philippines was crowned Asia’s most corrupt.
For such dishonor, GMA and her government must reap the blame.

5. Being an archipelago beset by typhoons like clockwork, the ‘Princess
of the Stars’ tragedy is almost a certainty. It is not the first, it
will not be the last. Situated as the Philippines is, response to such
calamities should have been more of a drill repeated to perfection.
Sadly, only the deaths, the devastation, the utter confusion and
blame-passing remain the same. As one grieving daughter said: ‘ why
can’t we just help each other?’

6. As GMA’s junket to USA was leaving, typhoon Frank was hitting the
Philippines. By the time the junket got to San Francisco, the ferry had
sunk. In the face of such a tragedy, the junket moved on to Washington,
DC, New York and Las Vegas. Was the agenda so important that warranted what critics say, a very callous move? Thanking Bush? Meeting McCain and Obama(which she was not able to)? And what about all those monies spent for Administration functionaries and Congressmen whose involvement in the ‘working visit’ perhaps just include the Pacquiao fight? Those in the know may have the strongest justification. The public and the rest would just have to speculate in disgust.

7. Local community leaders in the Washington, DC area were invited to a
reception in GMA’s honor. The ballroom at The Willard was filled by at least 500(according to guesstimates) believers and non-believers alike. Some went with
questions, others with answers. Some went because it is The Willard,
marvel at the place and preview what food for dignitaries and gods taste
like. Some went to detest and convince themselves that their loathing
was justified. The true test will be what they came home with.

8. This is neither a birth nor a beginning. The intoxicating spell of
words and by-line has held my pen since a teacher in high school posted
a short composition of mine on the board. I promise to be a good
read. That it will be worth your time. And that I will be fair and honest.
Dan Jimenez, from Galas, Quezon City, graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1977 and immigrated to the US in 1986. He is married with three children and resides in the greater Washington DC area. His motto at PMA was: “The greatest failure is that never attempted.”

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