Monday, December 20, 2004

Death of An Actor

The world of Philippine movies and politics was shattered with the death of one Ronald Allan Poe. He went by the name of Fernando Poe, Jr. or simply FPJ. To millions of Filipinos, he was an icon, he was a hero. If testimonials prove true, he helped a lot of people quietly over the years and was distraught about the state of affairs of the Philippines.

Millions--- literally have attended the wake with the line three blocks and counting long from the Church where the body has temporarily been stayed and that's just counting the last few hours from the writing of this entry. All this for the death of an actor, a movie idol. It puts a statesman's funeral to shame. [poster's note, 22 December 2004, the funeral march of fpj had literally been kilometers long... the march started at 4am, Manila time and is estimated to end, 8am.]

In life, his friends and those who he helped have given their testimonials. The man helped them when they needed it and never asked for anything in return. Whether truth or myth or exaggeration, there's something in that Christian way we each have a thing or two to learn. We can not deny Mr. Poe his place in history and in the Filipino people's lives.

In the past couple of days, old wounds that are hard to heal come up. Issues of how Mr. Poe was “cheated” flood the airwaves and that he was the true victor of May 2005 (see post-election analysis). The wounds and divisiveness are still fresh. Now that Mr. Poe is dead, his myth will keep those fires burning, albeit misguided.

The fiefdom of Mr. Fernando Poe, Jr. will probably be taken over by his wife. They probably believe in their heart of hearts all the corruption, all the dirt all the things wrong in the Philippines and this blog holds information on that. The crowd cheers and will listen. People will drink the sand thinking it is water, because they have nothing left to drink. It is the same story when you listen to the supporters of the sitting president. They believe the same thing. But you know what? When you think about it, its all rhetoric and divisive.

Everyone knows that the Philippines has complex problems. No one seems to come out with solutions for them, instead every Filipino spends a great deal of time blaming each other for their woes. (see "Why the Philippines is in a Fiscal Crisis", "Interim Solutions", "A Dream","Philippines: Moving Forward with Reform Plan")

We need more schools, more bullets for the military, more infrastructure for business and industry to expand yet the pork lobby is great and not waning. There is no frantic action to curtail graft and corruption at the Bureau of Customs and at the Bureau of Internal Revenue. There is no clear cut clarification of how debt should be manage and how debt may not be as bad as everyone seems to think.

Fernando Poe, Jr. in life and death failed to show the Filipino people a Vision or road map for the future. He raised no issues to solve nor he gave no answers to solve the complex issues facing this Republic in the 21st Century. He may have been a good man, too many people say great things about him to discount the strength of his heart or his passion for the people. The glitz and glamour of too many lights may blind people, what the Filipino needs to construe is that their problems, only they can solve; that their problems have no simple or painless solution; that their problems have no magic answer. It needs to be worked at.

Fernando Poe, Jr. was many things: an actor loved by many, a man with a big heart but he was not a statesman and never could have been and if he was, its all up there being imagined by his supporters who have no idea what it would take to make the Philippines a better place; to borrow from Churchill: “blood, toil, sweat and tears”.