The group of Filipinos who lined up hoping to receive goodies from Malacanang left with nothing but some pan de sal and softdrinks. Malacanang was overwhelmed with people shortly after it declared itself as the "National Center for Disaster Relief". People thought that, at last, after eight years in power, they will now see their neighbour and now is the time to at least get something out of her billions.
Alas, goodies were just a few pieces of pan de sal and softdrinks.
It was the first time in so many years that Malacanang opened itself up for the people. The last time it did was during Cory's time when Malacanang honored the name of "people's park" by allowing people to roam around its grounds every once a week.
If Cory loved the people then, different with Mrs. Arroyo. When she saw people lining up in droves, the newly hairstyled Chief Executive just shooed them away. She hates seeing huge numbers of people, with their hands extended, trying to get some help from her.
For Cory, the people are important, always. For Gloria, the people are only important during elections and if there are attempts to oust her from power.
Now, with the human tragedy brought by Ondoy slowly unfolds, Malacanang responded to the call by transforming itself into the central coordinating body for the relief efforts. It did so with a lot of hoopla, with basketball stars seen holding a few bottles of mineral water and the presidential daughter asking photographers for photo ops.
It was a purely publicity stunt but it backfired. One Malacanang staffer, wearing a diamond earring, asked the public to please just give them their donations for victims of Ondoy.
Alack, no one did.
Probably, people feared that their donations would just not reach their intended beneficiaries, what with Malacanang coordinating everything. As Kris Aquino said, people giving and helping others thru private initiative is better than Malacanang trying to steal the limelight and doing it on its own.
That scene yesterday has shown how people have lost significant trust in their government, even in times of distress. Despite Malacanang's appeal for people to give their donations to the palace, no one really responded with the same vigour and the same feeling of citizenship as what people felt when Kris Aquino called for bayanihan. Malacanang even said that they have nothing to repack because no one is actually giving donations to them.
Net---Luli is no match to a Kris Aquino.
In fact, people felt angrier every single minute that government fails to do its duty. Let's admit it---this government has shown again its incompetence. Despite us giving them 2 billion pesos worth of our taxes for emergencies like these every year, Malacanang still blundered.
Some people told me not to attack government especially during these times, but, I said no. Why will I not write what is the truth? The truth is---this government has shown not just incompetence but irrelevance.
The heavens have shown us all how irrelevant government is in our lives. This, for me, is the final straw.
When we the people ask that the palace helps us in convincing traders to lower their prices, Malacanang responds with "no, the industry is deregulated."
When we ask it to respond quickly in convincing pharma companies to lower drug prices, the response was a lame " we will still study it and ask them."
When we ask it where are those fertilizers our farmers need, the only response was "Executive Order 324" or " no comment".
And when we ask it to at least ameliorate our deplorable economic plight, we get no response.
The reason why Luli is no match for a Kris is simple---the people hate those who exploit them.