By Julius F. Fortuna
WE attended on Saturday an affair held at the historic Laurel residence in Mandaluyong where the Nacionalista Party awarded 16 small-scale businessmen from across the country. The project was spearheaded by Senate President Manny Villar who used the occasion to elaborate on the virtues of sipag and tiyaga (industry and perseverance), as the road to economic self-reliance.
Is this affair a preparation for 2010? I think it is. But in fairness to the organizers, I did not hear all throughout the affair a clear-cut political message or a reference to the presidential polls. But I noticed that in his speech honoring the awardees, Villar harped on the theme of giving hope to the nation. Hope was the slogan of the late Ninoy Aquino when he first ran for senator. And Marcos used “this nation can be great again” to win in 1965.
Villar must be aware of the present crisis. That is why he referred in his speech to the growing hopelessness prevalent among the people, specially the youth. At one time, he referred to his conversation with a Pinay maid in Hongkong who was embarrassed to be described as a Filipina.
If I could derive a political message from the affair, it is this: By encouraging the business acumen of Filipinos—by giving people more livelihood in the form of small business—this country may be able to hurdle the present crisis. How’s that for a political thesis in 2010?
But whatever the political message, the evening was dedicated to the entrepreneurial spirit of awardees like Ms. Calma Arcala of Benguet or Ms. Elizabeth Africano of Cauayan, Isabela, Pacifico de la Cruz of Plaridel, Bulacan, Mr. Rolando Madera of Bacolod City, Elizabeth Rafal of South Cotabato, and Marianne Olano of Camarines Sur.