MANILA, Philippines – He's a former senator seeking to return to the chamber. The question came from the second youngest senatorial candidate, whose campaign draws strength from a politically popular surname.
This was the advice of former Sen Richard “Dick” Gordon to Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV: Bow to the “wisdom and experience” of senior politicians like himself, so the Philippines will avoid committing the same mistakes in governance.
Gordon and Aquino faced off at the Rappler senatorial debates on Saturday, April 13, at the Quezon Memorial Circle.
Asked by Aquino for advice to the youth, Gordon said committing the same mistakes is a sign of being "bobo" or stupid.
"'Pag dalawang beses kayong nagkamali, ang isang pagkakamali, 'bo.' Ang pangalawang pagkakamali, 'bo-bo.' Kaya kung tuluy-tuloy po ang pagkakamali natin, baka palitan na natin ang national anthem natin. Ang sasabihin natin, 'Bo-bo-bo-bo-bo, bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-bo'” Gordon said, who sang to the tune of the first lines of the Philippine National Anthem. (If we commit a mistake once, it's 'bo.' If we continue making the same mistakes, it's going to be 'bo-bo.' We might as well change our national anthem – 'bo-bo-bo-bo-bo.')
Gordon said the youth should thus need to participate in national affairs. "You have to speak up," Gordon said. (Watch this portion of the Rappler debate below.)
He added that different political camps should keep the common good in mind.
"Walang nangyayari sa atin, sapagkat maraming nangangako sa atin at binabato tayo ng mga t-shirt. Pero hindi ba, dapat ang gawin natin, turuan natin ang tao magkaroon ng ikabubuhay para siya na mismo ang bibili ng t-shirt?" Gordon said.
(Nothing happens to us, because lots of people make promises and give us free t-shirts. But isn't it that we should give people livelihood so they can have money to buy t-shirts with?)
Gordon is a former mayor of Olongapo before he became the founding chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Using both positions, he helped rebuild the economy of his province after the United States military bases left and Mount Pinatubo erupted. He finished 5th in the senatorial elections in 2004, with 12.71 million votes.
Aquino is a former youth commissioner, appointed to the post by President Gloria Arroyo to whom his father was an adviser. Aquino now backs the prosecution of Mrs Arroyo, as he said during the Rappler debate. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.