By Greg Macabenta
A large delegation of overseas Filipinos, mostly from America, attended the inauguration of President Noynoy Aquino (I still have to get used to referring to him as P-Noy, but then, I never referred to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as GMA). These were the same people who organized a volunteer group called US Pinoys for Noynoy-Mar or USP4NM, and actively campaigned for the LP team, raising funds, holding town hall meetings, calling up relatives in the Philippines, getting out the overseas votes and watching the canvassing at their respective Philippine consulates to ensure an honest count.
Having helped Noynoy win, these Pinoys, spurred mainly by love for the Motherland, want to help him succeed. For this reason, they decided to transform their informal group into an instrument for good governance. In Manila, they converted USP4NM into an organization called Overseas Filipinos for Good Governance.
The sparkplugs of this idealistic undertaking are former chair of TLC Beatrice International, Loida Nicolas-Lewis; San Francisco community leaders Rodel Rodis, Ted Laguatan and Charito Benipayo; Northern California businessmen Rolland Baldo and Mike Macapagal; and Southern California USP4NM convenors, Wally Reyes and Rocio Nuyda. There are many other formidable personalities in the delegation: Dr. Philip Chua of Chicago, Gus and Ethel Mercado of Texas, Ninoy Aquino Movement originals Gloria Navarrete and Fred Aquitania; Professor Gil Ramos of New Jersey; and delegates from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Saipan.
For two days, on July 1 and 2, they will hold a conference at the Sofitel Hotel to get formally organized, meet with government officials, businessmnen, leaders of civil society and Manila media, and discuss the ways by which they hope to contribute meaningfully to the success of the incoming administration. Being a loyal camp follower, I have fflew in with the group and spoke at the conference, as well as acted as moderator in a panel of key media practitioners.
Expectedly, everyone is gung ho, afire with fervor, ready to charge into the fray, and willing to devote time, talent and treasure to the cause of good governance. Of course, there are the usual cynics and kibitzers who are betting that all of that rah-rah-rah and sish-boom-bah will soon fade into a whimper after the novelty of the electoral triumph has worn off and the harsh realities begin to set in. That, according to the cynics, will be just about the time that the new president will wake up to the fact that delivering on his campaign promises is a verrrrrrry tall order. Indeed, after decades of mismanagement, official abuse and incompetence, turning our hapless country around is easier said than done.
But, just as the Filipino people have placed a lot of hope on P-Noy, I have a lot of faith in the people behind this good governance group. They certainly are not lacking in sincerity and determination. Most of them also belong to the same Quixotic bunch that decided, some 13 years ago, to set up a national organization that would work to achieve socio-economic and political empowerment for Filipinos in America, something considered an