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P-Noy fell short of expectations

12:04 AM February 05, 2015

I am an ordinary citizen. I do not know the intricacies of running the government, nor do I understand military operations. But I would like to express my sentiments regarding the death of our 44 brave Special Action Force (SAF) troopers, from the standpoint of an ordinary citizen looking in from the outside.

The tragic death of brave, young troopers greatly distressed me. Though I do not know any of them and don’t have a relative in the military service, still I felt great pain at the sight of the fallen warriors’ coffins, carried by their grim-looking comrades. I held back my tears.

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I would like to tell President Benigno Aquino III about my sentiments, hoping that, maybe, this would somehow make a little difference. I am angry—with him and at the vicious murderers. With him because I expected a lot from him and he has failed me a number of times. With the murderers because of their barbarism.

As president of our country, he may fail my expectations of him in big things, but I expected him not to fail me in small, basic things. As the father of the nation, he does not need to be a biological parent to feel the pain of his people. But what I saw was a consistently detached president (e.g., during “Yolanda,” when Filipinos were being killed in Malaysia, and now in this SAF massacre). He showed no spontaneous and instinctual empathy in those instances. Only a delayed reaction, prompted probably by advisers telling him what was needed to be done to appease the offended people.

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In the case of the fallen young SAF troopers, he didn’t need to be their biological father to feel they were his sons! I expected him to get angry and declare in strongest possible terms his outright condemnation of the carnage. But he didn’t. Instead, he prioritized keeping the peace treaty intact even as it had already been shattered, and he preferred to attend a business appointment than show that his countrymen are his first priority.

He works hard for the country’s economic prosperity and we, the people, should be thankful for it. But he should know that whatever economic gains he has achieved for the country, the ordinary citizens can’t feel these, and that majority of Filipinos are still struggling to survive day after day.

The least that I expect from the President is to have some sense of empathy—to have a feel for the people, for their pains and sufferings, and to show a bit of pakikiramay.

When his father was assassinated, multitudes took to the streets, and grieved and mourned with his family. They did the same when his beloved mother, former president Cory, passed away.

—CRISANTA A. IBARDALOZA, Pandan, Catanduanes, [email protected]

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TAGS: Cory Aquino, President Benigno Aquino III, SAF 44, Special Action Force
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