Lingkod Bayan

Right up there with being called bayaran is me being accused of sucking up to this president because they say I want a government post.
And I don’t get it.
Do these people not know what a government job is?

My father was in government all his life and I know EXACTLY what working for the government means. This is why I’ve stayed away from it for as long as I have. Despite being asked to join the government a week after the President won the elections and despite regular follow ups on my decision.

I know EXACTLY what a government job means.

It means shit just hit your fan and you have signed your lovely life away.
When you work for the government, you are saying, for the next number of years, my pay will be shit. And that I will work long hours, be on call whenever and wherever and that criticism will be part of my life and that I must not only expect but welcome it.
That part of the deal is to have a Post-It note on my back that says “Kick me”. And that if I can’t handle criticisms, I must not, REPEAT—must not, sign on the dotted line.
This is why the president ignores brickbats thrown his way. He understands that criticism is part of the territory.
The scariest part for me is this: the responsibility is HUGE and oh-so-REAL.

You MUST make millions of lives better. You MUST put your country on high ground. That you OWE the Filipino people. And that they will look to you for solutions—and that they have EVERY right to expect this. And that your every waking hour will be about them.

Tell me again why that would make me WANT a government post.
Shouldn’t this make me want to run for the hills like my hair is on fire? It does. And yet there is this very real part of me that wants to see if I can be of help.

I’ve gone and done what I could and on my own paltry means as a private citizen—my friends and I pooling our resources and getting it to some of the farthest reaches of our country. And I am wondering what it would look like if I had better resources. What might I be able to get done for our people? So there’s that.
And I think the ones who accuse me of sucking up to the president so I get a government job are the ones who think getting a government post is a prize of some sort and are the ones who will make it a prize, by hook or by crook.

They’re the ones who will have that little drawer in their desk where people can drop their money if they want any work done on their papers. And they’re the ones who barrel through traffic with a wang wang blaring before them so everyone gives way to his convoy because he thinks his time is more important than ours.

And I think they’re either the kabits/wives who want garish mansions and shopping sprees on Fifth Avenue. OR are the ones buying their kabits/wives garish mansions and giving millions as shopping money. Hello Euro General de la Paz and Imelda Marcos, wave naman jan.

The ones for whom there is no clear line between what is theirs and what belongs to the people. The ones who think ‘public coffers’ mean ‘my piggy bank”. The ones who, like the Marcoses, will steal enough for 10 generations. No matter if it means Filipinos die on the wayside because these moneys were stolen from them.

They’re the ones who get to spend their holidays in New York even as mighty winds hammer their province and who feel ever so slighted when they don’t get an invitation to the Ms Universe contest because, hello, I’m IMPORTANT.

The ones who think nothing of reporting for work for the first time on day 45 and do not deliver one measly house to those who need it badly—Yolanda victims who’ve been living like dogs in temporary housing.

And when you criticize them for it, will have their shackles up in an ‘HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE ME!” stance because they are wholly convinced of their righteousness and think themselves above criticism. Criticism is for the common tao and I am anything but common.

These are the ones who mistake perks of the job as THE job itself– like being on magazine covers of chi chi alta sociedad magazines and calling for press cons to announce to one and all that the reason she is calling for a press con is because she doesn’t want to draw attention to whatever announcement she was going to make. Haha Comedy ka, Leni.

The ones who love to get drunk on power so that even if you give them 10 swimming pools of it, they will want an ocean. VP is not good enough. Gotta get my hands on top post. Never mind if she can’t even manage to build one house.

DOJ secretaries who not only cuddle up to drug lords but are busy in bed with them, screwing up our country every which way they can—even as they maintain their straitlaced avowals to virtue.

They have so thoroughly forgotten that they’re supposed to be there to make millions of lives better. And that they OWE us. And that there ought to be no half assed, band aid solutions for a country that’s waited long enough and have now evolved into a people not just clamoring for real change but will push back and stand behind a president they think will deliver.

No half deflated salbabidas for a people drowning in hunger and despair.

I see quite clearly that our President has a profound understanding of public service. He’s not into it for the power or the glory or even for the applause.

Nor even for bloggers like me who think the world of him.

None of this registers with Rodrigo Duterte.

The one and only bottom line for this President is this: to put his country on high ground and to be of real service to the Filipino people. Nothing more, nothing less.

So beware the ones who would think a government post is to be coveted.

I think they’re the ones with worms in their souls.


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