BETING DOLOR: He still doesn’t get it, and he never will

Consider this an open letter to Senate President Migz Zubiri.

If anything should every happen to President Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte – God forbid – Zubiri would be next in line to assume the presidency, correct?

How he ever made it to the Senate presidency, I’ll never know. But I can hazard a guess that he knows whose backs to slap, who to be ultra-courteous to, and who to treat like a long-lost best friend.

With the current composition of the upper chamber of the country’s bicameral Congress, he does not have to be close to a whole lot. A simple majority would do. Himself excluded, Zubiri would need the support of 12 of the 23 other senators to hold the high and mighty title of Senate president.

Since the last Senate president of the last Congress was a longtime comedian-cum-musician, Zubiri did not have to try too hard to win the support of the other lawmakers. All he had to do was crack some jokes, smile a lot, and call the other male senators ‘pare.’

To be fair, it appears that he did attend the senate sessions religiously and put in some work to at least make him worthy of the pay and perks of his lofty position.

Having said that, I have to say that he still does not seem to understand the reason for being of us boys and girls of Philippine media.

This week, he asked us media practitioners to help boost the image of the Philippines by showing the true, the good, and the beautiful about the republic.

And yes, I borrowed that line from none other than Imelda Marcos.

Indeed, while she’s already what? In her 90s? Madame Marcos still cuts an impressive figure. Not unlike Ann-Margret who’s now in her early 80s and still attractive.

But I digress. The topic is not Imelda Marcos, but Migz Zubiri and his request for us media practitioners to show the world how grand and de-lovely the Philippines truly is. (I know there’s no such word, but there was a movie by that title, right? De-lovely. Which is another digression on my part. My apologies).

But Mr. Zubiri should know that there are people known as PR practitioner, that’s short for public relations. It is their job to do what he wants journalists to do. Which is to show one side of the coin, while pretending the other side does not exist.

There may be journalists who do lifestyle stories, and that’s all well and good. They write about “nice” things, attend endless cocktails and dinners and even get invited to local and foreign trips by companies, organizations, and even individuals who hope that their media guests write only fab things about them.

They’re fine. But not fine are the envelopmental journalists covering the showbiz beat.

I suspect that Mr. Zubiri has met a lot of either the PR practitioners, or the newsmen and women who don’t mind being feted and partied and even given expensive gifts from time to time.

He has clearly not met the newsmen who put their lives on the line by writing the objective truth, day in and day out.

And truth be told, Mr. Zubiri, the Republic of the Philippines is a troubled state at this point.

I consider myself as a middle, middle class man, a working stiff who tries to do a good job in order to earn a good wage. For the record, I am presently working at CNN Philippines as an editor (although my fancy title is consultant).

Working eight hours a day, five days a week, I get to see almost all the top stories of the day. I’ve always had an inclination for business reporting and what I see disturbs me no end.

In the span of a few months, the peso has lost more than 10 percent of its value. Just like that. I would look at the daily news and wonder why not enough people are panicking.

For now, the downward slide of the peso has stopped, but I fear only temporarily. I still expect the local currency to hit the 60 to 1 exchange rate vis-à-vis the dollar in the next few weeks.

The worst thing is that the slide can be expected to continue next year. This is not put down of the current dispensation. The negative direction of the peso has been foretold and predicted even by senior government officials.

See, Mr. Zubiri? Telling the truth is better than ignoring it, or worse, lying about what is really happening.

No, I am not defending the administration that you are a part of, Mr. Senate President.

My only wish for now is for more officials of the administration to spit out the truth, painful as it may be. It is only when one recognizes that a problem exists that a solution can be found.

The present regime had nothing to do with the Ukraine-Russia war. It did not cause climate change that has led to global warming. And it most certainly had nothing to do with the actions of the US Federal Reserve that has resulted in the weakening of the peso.

But neither should anyone in government pretend that all is well, that all Filipinos can afford decent homes, place sufficient food on the table, and send their kids to school wearing proper clothes and enough money in their pockets to buy snacks when they get hungry.

What you, Mr. Senate President, really want is to whitewash the current situation in the hopes that the very serious problems we all face will miraculously disappear.

You really want us to spread lies.

And that, good sir, ain’t gonna happen. Not on my watch. And not on the watch of the hundreds of decent newsmen and women who know that our job is simplicity itself.

We tell the truth as we see it.

Do a good job and we will make sure the world knows about it, sir. But do a mediocre job and expect most of us to be merciless.

Comprende, senor?

That’s Spanish, by the way. You didn’t think it was Greek, Persian, or Swahili now, did you?

Merry Christmas, Mr. Senate President.

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