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‘Inexperienced’ Grace may be another Cory

Vice President Jejomar Binay was quick to label as “inexperienced” Sen. Grace Poe, very likely the candidate who will beat him in next year’s presidential election. He hinted that voters should choose candidates with experience like him.

Admittedly, Binay has the experience. But people may ask: experience in what? Overpricing government infrastructure projects? Hiding unexplained wealth under the names of dummies? Heaven help us if the experience in Makati City is spread to the whole nation.

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What I did to Makati I will do to the whole nation, Binay has said often, expecting the people to believe that the entire country would be like Makati if he becomes, God forbid, president.

Let us make things clear: Makati is not Makati because of the Binays.

The Makati we now see became that way because of the Ayalas. Not because of the Binays but in spite of them.

The Ayalas developed Makati’s commercial center to attract big business to relocate there and construct the tall buildings and the shops and restaurants we now see, patronize and enjoy. One Jojo Binay was nowhere then. He was appointed officer-in-charge of Makati by President Corazon Aquino—probably the worst mistake she made during her entire term—only after the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled one plundering president and started his rise.

It was the taxes paid by these business and commercial establishments that made the Makati city government rich and made available to the Binays immense wealth that could be used to help the poor people of Makati. In spite of the tall gleaming buildings of Makati, there are still pockets of poverty in the city.

After Jojo Binay came his wife Elenita and then their son Junjun as mayors of Makati (all of whom, by the way, are now facing charges of overpricing and corruption). But after decades of the Binays controlling Makati, the poor of Makati are not better off. Sure, they are allowed free movies on weekends and senior citizens are given cakes on their birthday, but they still live in shanties and hovels around the modern and gleaming tall buildings.

So do not think that by voting for Binay for president in next year’s presidential election, the whole Philippines would be like the Makati commercial center. Instead, it may be like the Rembo villages of Makati from where the Binays get most of their votes during elections.

Binay is the housing czar of the government, in charge of providing housing for the homeless. But there are still millions of homeless in the Philippines; the squatter colonies make up blights in its cities and towns.

As housing czar, Binay built homes—without electricity and water connections, by the way—somewhere in Laguna. But during election time, he is said to send buses to take them back to Makati to vote for him and members of his family. That is the “trapo” experience we would all suffer from if Binay becomes, again God forbid, president.

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Going back to Grace Poe’s “lack of experience,” that was the same thing that was thrown at Cory Aquino then. “Walang alam (know nothing),” the dictator and his camp jeered.

But look at what Cory Aquino gave us: She gave us back our freedom and democracy. She gave us a new Constitution and a new pride as Filipinos.

Grace Poe, despite her “inexperience,” did very well when she chaired the Senate investigation of the Mamasapano massacre. That was her first try, and she did it very well.

I would rather have an inexperienced president who is honest and has integrity than somebody who is very experienced in manipulating the people’s money.

Besides, all a president has to do in order to govern wisely is choose Cabinet members who are competent, honest and has integrity. The president will provide the moral example.

* * *

Local animal welfare groups are doing what the government should be doing. Case in point: The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has entered into a memorandum of agreement with Ateneo de Manila University to spay and neuter the university’s more than 80 feral (undomesticated) cats. University authorities will humanely trap the cats and PAWS will spay/neuter them, after which they will be released back onto the university premises.

This method will prevent the resident cats from multiplying and, at the same time, prevent new cats from entering “their territory.” In this way, the cat population will be stabilized.

Most people would just round up the cats and dispose of them—that is, kill them or leave them to die. After a few weeks, new cats will come and the problem will start all over again. When feral cats are trapped/neutered and returned to their territory—the process is called TNR—the population remains stable and the cats prevent disease-bearing rodents from invading the place.

TNR is the answer to the problem posed by stray animals.

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TAGS: 2016 Elections, Cory Aquino, Elenita Binay, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, presidential candidates
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