Early today, I am supposed to meet with a group of Japanese technical people who have developed a drone which could be used in spraying both chemical and organic pesticides at a rate of five hectares in just one hour.
The Japanese group arrived yesterday for the meeting today with officials of the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA), the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture in the Cordillera Autonomous Region.
The purpose of the meeting is to identify an area in Benguet which grows vegetables in terraces as the pilot site for the use of the Drone Sprayer, a revolutionary agricultural innovation which would make it easier for the farmer to spray his vegetable fields even in the most treacherous mountainsides.
The meeting has to be cancelled because of the nation-wide transport strike to be held today prompting Malacañang to declare a non-working day for government offices and no classes in all school levels.
Certainly, the meeting could be rescheduled but I am just saddened that while many other people are spending sleepless nights thinking of ways to improve the plight of the ordinary Filipino, there are groups who are hell bent on bringing this government down.
Since I was appointed by President Rody Duterte as Secretary of Agriculture, I have refrained from writing political commentaries and just focused on my job of producing food for this country.
In fact, I have very strict directives to those working with me in the Department of Agriculture not to join the melee in the social media and just remain focused on our work.
Today, I have to apologise to the followers of this page because I will break my silence on what is going on in the political scene in the hope that my thoughts would shake these people back to their senses.
A group calling itself “Tindig Pilipinas” has been making a lot of noise, distracting everybody from work, in its effort to prove that President Duterte and his family amassed billions before he was elected President of the country.
Now, they have launched a campaign to ask President Duterte to sign a waiver so that his bank accounts could be scrutinised.
The action of this group baffles me and honestly, I am saddened that top leaders of my church are involved in this senseless advocacy.
I am all for checks and balances, transparency and clean governance but I simply cannot comprehend the position of the group in asking President Duterte to account for his actions before he became leader of this country.
Was not the election of 2016 a manifestation of the will of the people that beyond all the issues raised against Duterte during the campaign – murderer, womaniser, contemptuous and corrupt – they wanted him to be their President?
Granting that he is guilty of the issues raised against him during the campaign, was his election as President not an act of absolution by the sovereign people of this country?
I think it is.
But is Duterte really corrupt as “Tindig Pilipinas” claims he is?
I have known Rody Duterte for 25 years now.
While I cannot claim to be as close to him as his confidantes like Bong Go and Bingbong Medialdea, I consider him a dear friend who stood as the only Godfather to my youngest child, Imman, who is now 15 years old.
If Duterte is indeed corrupt, then I could say that he is very good at hiding his loot because I have never seen any display of wealth in the 25 years that I have known him.
Does he have hundreds of millions? I doubt it very much because there is no ostentatious display of wealth.
Thieves steal because they like to enjoy the good life – gambling, wining and womanising. They do not steal to stash their loot somewhere with no one benefitting from it.
All these years that I have known him, Duterte has been living in a low-cost housing subdivision near the public golf course where I play.
He wears simple clothes, eats in ordinary places, appreciates simple gifts from friends and leads a frugal life all these years.
There is simply no way that he has been faking everything for so long, at least for the last 25 years that I have known and befriended him.
I believe what “Tindig Pilipinas” should focus on now is whether Duterte or his family is stealing from government.
The issue is today, not yesterday, because the people have already passed judgement on the Duterte who ran for President and that is the sovereign will of the people.
The greatest scourge of this nation is the mindset of many of us that we are better, more righteous, more correct and more morally upright than the person next to us.
Amidst the noise that they are creating, “Tindig Pilipinas” members should be asked: What are you doing to contribute to nation building?
I remember a boxer many years ago, who in the middle of the fight was receiving so much instructions from his cornermen.
In exasperation, he turned to his cornerman and shouted: “Hwag ka sigaw ng sigaw, hindi ako maka-konsentrit!”
Distracted, he got whacked with a haymaker which sent him to dreamland.
If you cannot see or do anything good, please step aside and let us do our job.
At first proof of corruption, bring us to jail.
In the meantime, do not make so much noise.
Hindi ako maka-konsentrit!