I am an OFW living and working in Dubai, and yet, I cannot just shrug off with indifference all that I read from social media sites and from the sites of national news media in the Philippines. Add to that, there are some of the prominent sites of the international media, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, the New York Times, the Times Magazine. To name a few. And of course, the local television stations in the Philippines that have gone international, TFC, TV5, GMA7, Rappler. In other words, the world has gotten smaller and smaller. We, Filipinos living outside the Philippines, will know what happens in the Philippines in real time.
Words for the day – stultify and misogyny. I never ever expected myself to use both terms, but it came to my mind while listening to one of the latest pronouncements of the president of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte in line with his fight against illegal drugs. I am referring to his tirades against Senator Leila De Lima. And against the United Nations.
When I was young, just when I started working, fresh from the university, I was taught to keep a decorum in office as an employee. I was just an ordinary employee and yet I was told and expected to follow a standard of behavior befitting the office I was in. Anyway, I was young, and some lessons learned can never be forgotten.
From that lesson, I expect as much from my country’s leaders. Not just on the homefront, but also before the international stage. I expect my leaders to behave as leaders should – not to be perfect, but at least conduct themselves in authority without haughtiness. Leaders are automatic figures of hope and inspiration. Agents of change. I hope my leaders won’t let the Filipinos down, not this early into their administration.
Foul language in Philippine politics is nothing new. But coming from a newly elected president is strange (and unbecoming). Very strange at a time when he still is consolidating loyalty and support from every corner of the bureaucracy and the military. Of course he has the support of the 16 million Filipinos who voted for him, still.
Language is everything. It defines who you are, what kind of person you are. The language you use is also defined by the values you espouse. The values you live by shows how you conduct yourself. No office, not any kind of chair, nor any title can lend an effective cover of who you really are. In the meantime, the presidential damage control team has to work harder, too much harder.