While here at home the Filipinos had to commemorate the first year of the Ondoy tragedy and conducting disaster preparedness here and there in case similar typhoon stikes again, (we pray not!), Filipinos in the United States have its first interaction with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. In the first town hall meeting sponsored by ABS-CBN, he was welcomed by the network’s International. Chairman, Mr. Manolo Lopez.

President Aquino as guest of honor in the program dubbed as “Global P-Noy town hall meeting” emanating from California, he was able to communicate with over two million Filipinos to remote points in London, Dubai, Tokyo, Japan, Canada, Los Angeles and New Jersey.

He addressed issues of undocumented Filipinos in Britain, the need for Philippine International school in Tokyo, human trafficking and sexual abuse in Dubai, restrictive fees by placement agencies in Canada, retirees wanting to go back to the Philippines but asking what it can expect from the government and other issues like fighting corruption, human trafficking and poverty.

President Noynoy Aquino is very honest and sincere in his present capacity as a leader of a nation that has been riddled with unresolved cases of graft and corruption by the previous administration and recent hostage tragedy of Hongkong tourist in Manila. Nevertheless, hopes are high among Filipinos to the newly elected president. Even investors are confident as stock market showed positive gains. The President needs all the support it can get from his cabinet and its people. As one, even the most daunting task becomes easy when all are looking in the same direction.

On a lighter note, when asked how he will rate himself with his numerous accomplishments during his short visit to the US, P-noy insisted on not to rate himself emphasizing on the value of humility he learned from his parents. In jest, speaking politely in his native language, “mahirap naman po yung i-rate ko ang sarili ko, yung tatay at nanay ko ay baka batukan ako kapag tayo ay nagyabang” meaning “My parents might give me some spanking” as if they will rise up from their graves if he misbehaves or brag about it. Referring to his late parents Benigno Aquino Jr. (who was shot upon arrival at the airport allegedly by Rolando Galman) and his late mother former Philippine President Cory Aquino.

He wowed the audience by putting his written speech aside and decided to speak from the heart in one of his speaking engagements. In another occasion, he surprised his security detail when he treated them in a nearby hotdog stand for lunch and spent only $54, a far cry from his predecessor who dined in plush expensive hotels.
Thank you God, we are fortunate to have a much grounded person as our President. Long live President Noy!!!!


About Maria Arlene V. Goyenechea

mother of four, married, female, Filipina, fascinated with Japanese culture
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