Why Noynoy has the best solution to poverty
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-01-21

Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III doesn’t engage in oratory. After all, the presidency is not an oratorical contest and great orators do not always become great leaders.

Adolf Hitler proved that. Hitler had the ability to mesmerize big crowds but Hitler only destroyed Germany. Ferdinand Marcos was another fabled orator and instead of making the country great again as he vowed, Marcos ruined our country.

Noynoy prefers to speak his truth plainly — a sign of an honest person with the strength of character not to attempt to embellish his truth. We have long been taken for a ride to deep disappointment because of individuals whose flowery words are able to hide the real character and intention of a liar and plunderer.

Professor Randy David of the State University was right in his column last Saturday when he cited the uselessness of presidential debates. Randy observed that the presidential debates only allow the ventilation of memorized sound bytes but hardly provide a glimpse of the depth of the program of a presidential candidate — whether it is realistic or not, whether it will work or not.

Take the case of Senator Manny Villar whose TV ads have been projecting him as the person who will provide economic emancipation. Villar promises but provides no details as to how he will achieve economic emancipation for the poor.

In last week’s Carlos P. Romulo Forum at the AIM, Gilbert Teodoro talked about an economic program that will ensure that the wealth will finally trickle down to the poor. Teodoro’s trickle down effect is no different from El Dorado — a pipe dream. Nothing trickles down from a consistently greedy and apathetic upper class that corners over 80% of the national wealth.

It is only Noynoy Aquino who offers real hope for economic emancipation after having made EMPOWERMENT and COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT a centerpiece of his economic program. It is only Noynoy who offers a concrete model for development with successful test cases to back it up.

Last Saturday, Noynoy Aquino united with residents of the Bagong Silang Gawad Kalinga (GK) community to honor Tony Meloto on his birthday. Bagong Silang, which used to be a nest of criminals, was the very first GK community. Nothing could best exemplify transformation and improving people’s lives than the GK Bagong Silang success story.

Noynoy Aquino, just like his mother Cory, is a GK advocate. Noynoy believes that what others expect to trickle down will likely never trickle down. Like Chiara Lubich’s inspiration of the Economy of Communion (EoC) which states that only the poor can help themselves but not alone, Noynoy believes that we have to go down and bring them up or else they will eventually bring us all down.

Noynoy told the GK Bagong Silang residents: “Because of your hard work, cooperation, willingness to change your community and yourselves and allowing GK to help you, you were able to transform this place. The GK Bagong Silang community is now a picture of a successful Philippines.”

Noynoy also said: “This is what I want to replicate all over the country, not just build homes but to change and correct what is wrong in our country.” Noynoy vowed that once he is elected president, he will follow Tony Meloto’s example and provide for the needs of the poor — not by just providing houses or microfinance but by transforming the poor through empowerment — enlightenment and values reform.

In previous columns, your Chair Wrecker had emphasized that the GK and the EoC approaches are the best means by which we can end the generational cycle of poverty of our poor. The poverty problem has reached that stage where government alone will not be able to address it. Philippine society has to come together to go down to our bottom 25% and bring them up.

The poor man will always be poor unless somebody volunteers to be his brother’s keeper — guide him to reform his values and empower him with information and education. Providing free education, constructing enough classrooms, hiring enough good teachers will not make a difference if the poor person does not appreciate the value of a good education.

Providing more than just a living wage will not work either if the poor person is inclined to always spend on the wrong things and beyond his means - again a values problem. More than the lack of gold in the poor man’s pocket, it is those counterproductive values in his mind that conspire to keep him in the never ending generational cycle of poverty.

The one consistent thread in Noynoy’s platform is EMPOWERMENT. This is not surprising because Cory was all about empowerment. It is a home grown value in the Aquino family.

It was during Cory’s time when local government units were empowered by the Local Government Code. It was in Cory’s time when Participatory Democracy was institutionalized in local governments by the late Secretary Jaime N. Ferrer. Cory launched KABISIG in order to bring empowerment to as many who need it. As Citizen Cory, she promoted microfinance to help the poor gain access to capital. Cory has been a big GK advocate and supporter.

The empowerment that some of his rivals may be promising, Noynoy Aquino has long been providing.

  Previous Columns:

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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