FILAMSPEAK: Are you excited about Pres. Benigno Aquino’s U.S. visit? Well, um…not really

Leani Auxilio

Leani Auxilio

The excitement needle is not moving at all on the eve of the U.S. visit of President Benigno Aquino III. The community appears to be more enthusiastic about other gatherings, including a Gary Valenciano concert, a balut-eating contest, and the People’s Climate March. The Aquino address before the United Nations climate summit is an event not many are aware of.

Aquino III will be in the U.S. September 20 to 24 primarily to speak before the UN on efforts by his government to address the alarming effects of climate change. The widespread devastation in the Philippines caused by a series of intense typhoons is said to be a manifestation of climate change, and Aquino is expected to articulate how he plans to address that challenge.

Also in Aquino’s calendar is a series of meetings with business executives, a visit to old friends in Boston, and a speech before the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University.

A shrug of the shoulder. Some Filipinos, except those planning to stage protest rallies, are indifferent. Many are seriously conflicted: How can Aquino speak about climate change when his government has not adequately provided assistance to those families who lost their homes and livelihood to the typhoons? What sort of message will he articulate, and how does he explain the economic growth and the apparent contradiction that Filipinos continue to leave the country in order for their families to survive? Let’s read more of what FilAms have to say.

Leani Auxilio
Web designer

“I have no reaction to his visit. He’s totally ineffective as president. It’s a waste of time. Other college students probably don’t like him, we have no opinion of him, because we don’t know him. I try to keep up with the news back home but it gets so depressing I just stop.”

chrisChristopher Fallarme
Writer, visual artist, expressive therapy facilitator

“I think it’s great that P-Noy will have his moment before the U.N. General Assembly. Like President Obama, detractors try to pull him down every step of the way but as we’ve seen both men don’t really shy away from a good fight. There’s a great deal in their individual ‘plates,’ and for P-Noy in particular, one of these would be the serious diplomatic altercations with China’s powers-that-be. I’d like P-Noy to push the Philippines’ agenda on this crucial matter in the U.N.”

maricorMaricor Fernandez
Public access producer
Queens Public Television

“Am I excited? Yes and no. First of all, President Aquino has to prove how and why the Philippines projects itself as an ‘emerging economy and investment destination.’ It is pretty much impressive that according to the World Bank, despite Typhoon Yolanda and other natural disasters Philippine economic growth accelerated to 7.2 percent in 2013. Yet, there are victims of the typhoon who suffer much of the impact and still live in miserable situation. Is this what economy is all about? Will this type of situation entice investors?
As an environmental activist, I am excited to hear the President will speak about the environmental condition in our country. And yes, I am excited to hear the President speak about how we are exercising our part as stewards of our own environment. What about the issue of Illegal logging, forest denudation, illegal fishing, pollution issue, and so on?

No, I’m not excited because it raises a question: Why Filipinos with so much skills and talent, would risk leaving families behind and labor hard to work in another country?”

melody 3Melody Garcia-Muniz
Associate Director
Filipino Communities of Central Florida Inc.

“I feel a certain mix of emotions. I certainly appreciate the platform he is taking with the initiative in promoting the Philippines and attracting investors while also addressing climate change issues. I am all for economic strength, growth and advocating why companies or countries should invest in our motherland however, one cannot ignore the controversies still going unresolved involving the millions of dollars donated towards Typhoon Haiyan relief and rebuilding efforts, the lack of quick progress and the thousands upon thousands of kababayans horrifically still waiting on promised assistance.

This paints a very sad contrast of yet another conflicting message that this government is built on ‘good governing principles.’ If I read a prior article correctly, the cost for his “tour of countries” alone is over 31 million pesos.”

rjRJ Mendoza-Nadal
Community Relations Specialist
Kings County District Attorney
“President Aquino is scheduled to speak at the U.N.’s climate change conference. I’m not excited. There’s issues that may be of higher priority in the Philippines, although climate change is important.”

marisseMarisse Panlilio
Business Owner

“Not at all excited. I thought he was going to be The One. He seems to me a weakling. I remember in one of his speeches he said, ‘Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.’ His promise to introduce good government and to eliminate corruption? Hmm.”

Leave a Reply