“Of the Same Ilk”


For Friday/November 25, 2011
Good Morning Philippines
ON SECOND THOUGHT

Here we go again with our penchant for changing names of streets to satisfy our egos or someone else’s ego specially if that someone happens to be the current President of the Philippines. There is a bill in the Lower House that seeks to change the name of EDSA, the longest and primary thoroughfare in Metro Manila and the Philippines for that matter, to Cory Aquino Avenue. We don’t know what got into the head of Bohol Rep. Rene Relampagos to all of a sudden want to mess around with a name of a main road that crosses several cities in Metro Manila and that’s been known as EDSA since it was changed in 1959 from the bland and plain “Highway 54” to the initials of Epifianio de los Santos. For those that know the name EDSA as a street and not a person, de los Santos was a historian, patriot, scholar, associate editor of the revolutionary paper “La Independencia”(1898), writing in prose under the pen name G. Solon and also a member of the Malolos Congress. He was an internationally known scholar who contributed to early Philippine studies on anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, linguistics, and demographics. If there ever was a renaissance man among Filipinos, de los Santos was certainly one and recognized by scholars of his time worldwide. The practical repercussions in changing EDSA’s name will affect more people and businesses than changing any other street name in the country and the cost will be huge. It will be more burdensome than perhaps changing the name of even Bohol province. Why does not the good legislator just name a grandchild Cory or the main street of his district where he will not create as much problems as messing with the EDSA name. There are other ways to honor Cory if he finds there are insufficient honors bestowed on her. We’re not even sure if Mr. Relampagos will be singing the same praises for Cory when political expediency finds him in opposition to the Aquino camp as so often happens with our politicians. Maybe, it would be better for the Congressman to pass a bill prohibiting the re-naming of a street with a name of anyone that has ran for public office at anytime during his or her life. In doing so, we keep politics out of “way” – dual carriageway, main thoroughfare, or any way.

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The 7th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita massacre was observed, or hardly observed, a week before the much publicized Ampatuan massacre’s 2nd anniversary. In the former, 7 farmers died and hundreds were injured when military men and private security forces of the hacienda open-fired at the thousands of farmers that were on strike. This was the last time the Aquino-Cojuangco clan worked in tandem with GMA before they turned their guns at each other continuing to this day. The families of the dead farmers see little hope in ever getting justice, much less now with an Aquino at the helm of government. In fact, there was not a yelp or squeak from the Palace to even acknowledge the incident during its seventh year anniversary and no one is surprised. A joint statement by the two leading peasant organizations stated: “Mr. Aquino, his family and his predecessor (GMA)connived to launch an armed attack against the peaceful strike of the farm workers, who were demanding for just wages, decent working conditions and re-instatement of union officials and members who had been retrenched for addressing the workers’ plight.” Both GMA and PNoy were too busy — one trying to desperately leave the country and the other using all government means to prevent her from leaving — to hear what was said by these “mere peasants.” Beyond personal animosity between them, GMA and PNoy are actually of the same ilk.

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