by Louie Lapat,
Davao del Norte
Wherever I go and when perfect strangers talk to me about politics, the topic would always fall on truth, transparency in government, corruption and their excitement to vote and aspirations of a clean and credible election this coming May 2010.
Again, this is triggered by that piece of yellow ribbon which I wear everyday when I go out along with that Lipad Pinoy pin on the strap of my backpack. As what I had shared in my previous post, this yellow ribbon is indeed a silent campaign material that ignites excitement among the people who will see it and reminds them of the noble task that lies ahead of us: to elect leaders who will take this country forward, unite and inspire us and clean the system of governance that has long been tainted with corruption and immorality in the past years. That’s what we are fighting for and we must win this together.
There are lots of stories from ordinary people who are hungry for change, who are awakened by the social realities in the country and who are willing to be part of the change that they wanted to see in our government.
THE SALES LADIES
It was one hot afternoon in Davao City when I joined my elementary school paper adviser Mrs. Antonietta Igcalinos for the Davao Regional Elementary Schools Press Conference. Along with us is her student who competed in the aforementioned tilt and Jake, a friend of mine and is also Mam Tonet’s student in college. All of us attached the yellow ribbon on our shirts except Mam Tonet.
Change, according to her, could only be delivered by that man who likes the color orange a lot. You know who. =) Since I did the layout for their school publication in late October, she kept on asking me why I am really all-out for the man-in-yellow and with “almost-bald head.” She said the man-in-yellow is too inexperienced and can’t deliver the change that we want to see. We spent an hour everyday for one week just debating on what’s really the color of change: orange or yellow?
One time, I had given her fresh-from-the-internet articles about the man-in-yellow in which she had painstakingly read. After the competition and before going back to our billeting quarters, we dropped by at a nearby shopping center where we planned to buy some stuffs. While waiting for a fresh-from-the-warehouse stock, one sales lady told Jake, in vernacular, translated here in English:
“I love that yellow ribbon on your shirt.”
Jake and I replied with a smile until another sales lady stressed: “I really have to vote for someone who is the exact opposite of her,” referring to that girl with a big mole on her face. “I can’t wait to vote so that she’ll be out in our lives,” ending with a giggle.
I asked them who will they vote for in the upcoming elections. Unanimously, their preference was the same as that of mine. Why, I asked. A sales boy gave the perfect answer: “Because I know that he is sincere and he will not put a stain on the good name of his family, especially his parents whom I admire so much.”
From a corner, a self-confessed first time voter in her twenties, quipped: ” I know he will not use the presidency to advance his own interest. I believe he has no personal interest upon declaring that he’s running. The interest that he is carrying is the interest of the Filipino people.”
Mam Tonet just smiled while listening to our conversation. She can’t relate herself into it. She’s orange, we’re yellow.I was in awe of their answers. Amazing, indeed. As a way of gratitude to them, I gave my yellow ribbon to one of them until everybody demanded that they too wants the same. I returned the following day to give them the ribbons — including the store manager — and saw their passion while they’re pinning it on their clothes.
And as I prepared to go, one sales lady made a promise to me: ” We will wear it everyday.”
THE TAXI DRIVER
While on our way to our billeting quarters, the driver noticed the yellow ribbons on our clothes. He got himself connected and it that he started to relate that he’s voting for the man-in-yellow. He confessed that he is an avid supporter/loyalist of he-who-must-not-be-named. But not now [anymore].
His idol, once convicted in court and was ousted from office, according to him is not worthy to be entrust our country’s future. He must retire from politics, he said, and give other young leaders to govern the country. If to choose between his idol and the man-in-yellow, without batting an eyelash, he chose the latter. Still, Ma’am Tonet can’t connect without our topic. She just smiled.
Back here in Tagum City. Last week, throngs of local politicians here in Davao del Norte had taken the oath of affiliation to the Liberal Party, the humble party of the man-in-yellow. That includes Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario, Tagum City Mayor Rey T. Uy, and other local politicians from the different cities and municipalities of the province. All of them came from the ruling party of that girl with a mole on her face.I am not surprised. I’m proud of them because they chose to lead the people in our journey towards genuine change. They did the perfect decision.
A few days after this, someone made an exodus too.Just yesterday, at the height of the parochial fiesta of Tagum City, I was invited by Mam Tonet in their house to join their festivity. The moment I arrived, I teased her: ” Wow, Ma’am! You really have a very nice outfit today…full of yellow! Ran out of orange?”
She smiled and said: “Give me a yellow ribbon. Louie, I am now for Sen. Noy. Thanks for awakening me and for that printouts you had given me… that really helped a lot. You are right, s’ya na nga!”
I am proud of her for making that bold choice. She chose to surrender the orange flag and raised the yellow banner of hope and change. As I see her treating us her visitors yummy foods and telling them why she is wearing a yellow ribbon, I can’t help but to smile.
The yellow ribbon made an accomplishment once again!
A friend in facebook and a fellow Tagumeño sent me a message last, last week in which I am so glad. Here’s the part of the message coming from a girl aged 17:
“A friend of mine told me that she has a yellow ribbon. She asked me if I want one coz she has this friend na dagahn daw ug ribbon. I answered yes. She then reminded me that it’s just simple rubber. I told her that for me, it’s not about THE rubber. It’s about what the rubber represents.”
My 17-year-old friend is correct.
Indeed, Sen. Noynoy Aquino is correct when he said that “if we continue with this momentum, we will make change a reality.”
We will. Though the roads ahead will be long and our climbs will be steep, we will make change a reality! We will. We will.
Nothing’s more pleasant and inspiring when the sales ladies, the sales boy, the taxi driver and a teacher uttered Sen. Noynoy’s name and their belief that change can be achieved. Nothing’s more pleasant and inspiring when you see them utter his name and while they’re doing it, you see glimmers of hope and change in their eyes.