JESUS C. SISON: UNFAIR TO COMPARE FPJ WITH RAMON MAGSAYSAY

MANILA, December 1, 2003  (MALAYA) IT is unfair to President Ramon Magsaysay for Fernando Poe Jr. to be compared to the "Guy." They have similar backgrounds but that's all. Many have tried to copy Magsaysay but all failed. Ramon Magsaysay, as the original "man of the masses," is a class all by himself.

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It is not true that Magsaysay lacked college education. He was a student of the UP College of Engineering but got out because he was flunked in three subjects. He transferred to Jose Rizal College where he completed a degree of Bachelor of Commerce. Before becoming a congressman representing Zambales, the Guy was a mechanic in a big transportation company. While he was a congressman, President Elpidio Quirino appointed him as secretary of national defense. From the DND, he was catapulted to the presidency on the basis of his outstanding performance.

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In the case of FPJ, he found an early job as stuntman in the movies. He quit high school to work in the movies and never returned to school. Both have technical experience. Poe's expertise is in the film craft, while Magsaysay was in automotive skills.

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Both also had a wholesome work ethic. FPJ became the best in his craft and is acknowledged as the King of Philippines movies, while Magsaysay went after the communist guerrillas and Huks with all the government's might and compassion. His campaign against the communist insurgency was so successful that he was elected president.

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Another likeness would be their mass appeal that exudes a genuine concern for the fellowmen. While Poe is a multi-award winning actor, he is known for his less publicized humanitarian deeds, gaining him acknowledgment as president of the Actors Guild. The genuine concern of Magsaysay for the masses was shown in such gestures such as in opening the Palace to the people, paying from his personal salary the food or drinks his Palace family visitors consumed in Malacaņang, sincere gestures of kindness and generosity during his out-of-town sorties.

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This is to say that Poe "Da King" can prove to be a non-traditional President as "The Guy". As he is equally admired and loved, he should have the mileage he needs, and this means winnability. Modest and unassuming, FPJ even says now that he will simply go back to private life if he is not chosen in the selection process. This early, he has put the message across that it is not ambition, but a willingness to answer a people's clamor that has prodded him to go this far.

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I remember one time when Magsaysay delivered a speech before businessmen at the Manila Hotel, he begged to be excused for coming a little late because he had a conference with his economic advisors who were having some difficulties with the law of supply and demand and the law of diminishing returns. According to Magsaysay, he immediately ordered his aide to call Senate President Eulogio Rodriguez Sr. on the telephone.

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RM told Amang Rodriguez on the phone. "Mr. Senate President, I understand the law of supply and demand and the law of diminishing returns are hampering our economic progress. I suggest that you either repeal or amend the two laws." To which Rodriguez replied: "We will look into it Mr. President. But you seem to be usurping congressional powers." This was, of course, a joke from Magsaysay himself.

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson's news-beaters say he is the LDP standard bearer. Be that as it may, the search for a unity candidate for the opposition goes beyond internal party lines. The search is not for an LDP, NPC, PMP and other opposition party' standard bearer. Or foremost concern now is a common candidate for all opposition parties, whether or not they are party or independent aspirants for the presidency. FPJ announced his presidential aspiration as an independent candidate. He qualifies to be a unity candidate for all opposition parties, movements and groups. In this situation, party parochialism should be out, and unity support in.

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Without mentioning names, Sen. Robert Barbers, a leading vice presidential aspirant in the Lakas-CMD, was obviously angry at some of President Arroyo's political advisers for maneuvering to place an outsider as the President's runningmate. I can't blame him. He said that the President's political advisers are maneuvering to make an outsider, believed to be Sen. Noli de Castro, as the Lakas vice presidential candidate. "Popularity is not enough to resolve the deteriorating peace and order problem of the nation," Barbers said. He must have been hurt and disgusted by the "sly maneuverings" of the Palace officials.

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I saw a most impressive TV teaser on Chairman Bayani Fernando's personal imprint on MMDA projects such as the setting up of waiting sheds, portable toilets, etc. He also made a good impression as he showed on camera the cutting tools he brings in his trunk: the maso to bash walls along the road, the saw to cut iron obstructions, the big pliers to pull out nails, and the pruning knife to cut tree branches that block the way.

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The teaser was really good until Chairman Fernando's held his knife and delivered the line that his knife is also intended to cut the neck of those who don't follow MMDA ordinances. I know this was said jocosely, evidenced by the smile on the Chairman's face. But I had to immediately change channels. A case of teaser re-editing is needed unless BF has given up on his VP agenda.

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Helicopters to track down kidnappers and bank robbers? PNP spokesperson Col. Leopoldo Bataoil says there are three PNP-helicopters for this purpose, but these are used on a need-basis. No wonder we don't have helicopter visibility as much as police visibility.

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Congratulations to Gov. Josie dela Cruz of Bulacan, the fastest growing province in Luzon. Bulacan has 4.5 percent unemployment rate, one of the lowest in the country. This was made possible by the 31,641 small-and-medium industries in the province. The average family income among the Bulakenyos is P15,000 a month. Among the SMEs in Bulacan are jewelry, garments, gifts, toys, houseware, leathergood and puro-technique making.

Email address: jessS-malaya@netexecutive.com


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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