Sandro Marcos and red onions

For the longest time, the holier-than-thou ‘Dilawans’ and ‘Pinklawans’ have accused the Marcos loyalists and Duterte Diehard Supporters as purveyors of ‘fake news’.

“Men in public life may suffer under a hostile and an unjust accusation; the wound can be assuaged with a balm of a clear conscience.” (1918 Supreme Court ruling on the United States vs. Bustos case)
If my grand uncle and great nationalist Jovito Salonga were alive today, he would have never allowed any ranking Liberal Party official to become an agent of misinformation and disinformation. That a former elected official cum broadcast journalist could commit the egregious blunder of purveying fake news on social media mirrors the sad state of the once glorious political party. While anti-government rhetoric is an accepted political reality, I believe the late Senate President would have stood against normalizing the politics of hate, anger, and resentment within the LP ranks.

Knowing One’s Onions

To be fair, former congressman Teddy Baguilat, Jr. has issued a Twitter mea culpa over a knee-jerk reaction to a bogus quote card attributed to Ilocos Norte Representative Sandro Marcos. It has to do with the retail price spike on red onions, a product of seven towns in Marcos’ home province. According to the agriculture department, the Ilocos region is the country’s second biggest onion producer.

The fake quote alleged that Sandro had advised consumers to buy white onions instead of the pricier red variety.

It is a good thing that the young Marcos is not onion-skinned. Rationally, he debunked the fake information with dispatch. His conscience is clear after all. And it will always serve as Sandro’s best defense against any disinformation that seeks to injure his reputation.

The incident shows the politics of hatred that the opposition and anti-government forces have condoned through the years. Providentially, the reductive modus operandi of discrediting popular pro-government personalities has led to resounding defeats for the LP in three election cycles. Since 2016, the writing has been on the wall but the party leadership and membership refused to see it. It seems they suffer from an impairment or learning disorder.

Thankfully, most voters have refused to buy the “hate stories” being peddled by these politicians. I am glad that the electorate has consistently rejected those who demonize our democratically -elected government. I reiterate that people look for competent leaders with problem-solving skills. They need officials who can provide immediate and long-term assistance to Filipinos affected by inflation, pandemic, and natural disasters.

Yes, Filipinos prefer public servants who know their onions.

So, it is fair and just for the public to call out Baguilat for failing to verify the quote card before criticizing Rep. Sandro. How ironic that he was the one caught spreading a lie. For the longest time, the holier-than-thou “Dilawans” and “Pinklawans” have accused the Marcos loyalists and Duterte Diehard Supporters as purveyors of “fake news.” That disinformation mainly propelled Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s landslide presidential victory last May. I can only shake my head over this ludicrous narrative.

Both Baguilat and I served in the 17th Congress as representatives. Not once did the gentleman from Ifugao attempt to debate with me on any Congressional committee hearing or plenary discussion. I am all for healthy debates and constructive dialogues that generate practical solutions to our country’s internal and external threats. No political party has a monopoly on this matter. Therefore, I challenge Baguilat to a debate on any pressing national issue in whatever media platform.

For now, let us continue to fight fake news and the politics of hatred. Support government initiatives that lead to our economy’s upward trajectory.

Promoting entrepreneurial spirit

Speaking of public servants who know their stuff, I recently interacted with local government units officials at a Go Negosyo — Department of Trade and Industry event in Cebu City. Former Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Joey Pelaez was the one who invited me.

I discussed with city and town mayors, vice mayors, and councilors the provision of non-capital -intensive livelihood programs and employment opportunities to local people. I shared my experiences as an entrepreneur and supporter of two organizations: the Onesimo Foundation and the Center for Community Transformation. The former has found local and overseas jobs for rehabilitated youth from the urban poor. The latter has provided livelihood and employment to former detainees and street dwellers.

As frontliners of the executive branch, LGU officials can equip their constituents with skills to become successful entrepreneurs. Aside from resources, these new entrepreneurs also need the close supervision of LGU officials. With improved quality of life, their constituents would achieve the human dignity they deserve.


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