By: Elena Grace Flores
It’s disappointing knowing the truth and hearing all the lies about a person you know so well. The only outlet you have is to write. Here’s the recount of the former media relations officer of Jejomar “Jojo” Binay.
[VIDEO]: See the faces of poverty as recounted by the former media relations staff of Jejomar “Jojo” Binay as they tour the poorest of the poor places in the country.
To the man who can’t keep still, who can never do “nothing”. I am grateful that through you I was able to give my voice a wider range. Thank you for the messages of hope that, over 5 years, I had to force into a mind clouded by disillusionment, spoken by a man of the masa (masses) who embodies what they can achieve through hard work, guts, and thick skin to ward off hurtful words. What more can one ask?
Value of Stillness
To the man who always kept me on my toes, alert to every need whenever I was with him, thank you. Throughout the hectic out-of-town sorties you have made me appreciate more the value of stillness, and of seeing the beautiful amid the ugly and mundane.
Absolute Poverty is the Enemy
Most of all, despite the weariness from travel that still lingers in my bones, thank you, because, through those travels, I have seen the enemy. I have seen poverty in its many faces. I have seen mobs smeared with grime, and people shit on highways next to low-set bamboo tables showcasing the wares, vegetables, or fruits that they were peddling.
Smelling the Stench of Absolute Poverty
I have smelled the stench caused by the lack of running water or a day’s hard labor, made more intense as laborers massed together to hear the things they deserve from their government. I have heard people from places rarely visited by government – and witnessed their amazement that someone would dare visit them despite the absolute poverty around them – as if it were a gift from the gods rather than a right guaranteed them by the state.
Just like Us
(He is small! He has a dark complexion! He is just like us!)
How many times have I stopped myself from bawling out, or from shouting that I was rooting for them, that I hope they could rise above the squalor and the dirt and the wretchedness that bow their heads and back, and keep them from seeing the cold comfort of the moon and stars. Make them curse the sun as an added burden?
You are not the villain your opponents tried to paint you to be. You are the doting grandfather whose eyes light up immediately after seeing your grandchildren, proceeding to grasp their cheeks with both hands