Being at the forefront of the DSWD means being exposed to some of the most heartbreaking stories of man’s inhumanity to man.
Whatever the challenge is in front of us, at its very roots are greed, indifference, ineptness, politcal ambition, fantastic self-absorption and the inability to think beyond personal or political gain. And at the expense of your fellow human being. And at the expense of country. Who the fuck cares?
But I take my cues from the President I serve under. And I take my cues from the Secretary on whose team I belong.
I look at this photo and I know it is ok for me, a public official, to hold that farmer’s hand and to keep her in my embrace for as long as I need to have some of our collective grief and rage expressed and assuaged.
That was one of those things that worried me about accepting a government post—that it would need for me to pretend I was some cold and distant executive and that ice ran through my veins. Instead of who it is I really am. Someone who cried enraged tears at the injustice she saw around her and someone who expressed herself through honest words (bad words included) and through touching the other.
I look at this photo and I know it is ok to show my humanity. To ugly cry in front of the whole world and not give one fuck about it because your heart is just so broken at the kind of country we’ve become that we think nothing of stealing funds from the hungry/the cold/the poorest of the poor, of paying the most vulnerable in our midst 40 bucks a week, to use the withholding of benefits in the 4Ps program to scare those who have nothing so they do whatever it is you want. Disgusting shit.
Ok, here’s a short story I need to tell you and it is about the farmers who found their way to DSWD after being treated worse than animals by the oligarchs, the Cojuangcos. And we were having dinner –the Secretary and I and some of her staff. And I couldn’t help it and blurted out, “Tangina. Kadiri.”—which, I don’t think anyone says in the presence of her boss. More so if the boss is a high level executive– a cabinet secretary, for chrissakes. My father would have given me a bonk on the head if he knew this. But I was enraged and what do you know, the Secretary who sat next to me, had a grim look on her face and uttered back, “Kadiri talaga.”
So there it was– my free pass to bad words and freedom of expression of my full humanity. A President who ugly cries in front of the world and a Secretary who can see beyond cuss words—doesn’t get all twisted about it–and echoes back my rage and sorrow.
And this has to be said: just as I am exposed to some of humanity’s sorriest excuse for human beings, so too, am I not only exposed, but work with, some of humanity’s best versions of what a human being ought to be.
The DSWD is replete with this. From drivers who have been in service for 30 plus years—driving in the most challenging calamities and bringing much-needed help, to the Secretary whose life is a testimony of service for the poor to a President who keeps on keeping on, putting himself on the line where no other President has ever dared put himself.
And it is for nothing but service to country.
Hey— a new day! Have a great one, my friends.
Mabuhay tayong lahat. Mabuhay ang Inang Pilipinas!
ONE, BIG YAKAP, YOU GUYS!