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A new wow

WOW!, Dick Gordon proclaimed of the Philippines as the Wonder(s) of the World when he was secretary of tourism.

These days when somebody says wow about “our Dick” (to quote Bobby Joseph) they’re more likely to refer to his Herculean work as chairman of Philippine Red Cross.

A spanking building on EDSA that’s not nearly as impressive as the heavy and less-heavy equipment for relief and rescue operations parked at the back. Thousands of people saved with bags of blood sourced from Red Cross donors. A total of 147,000 houses (75,000 for Yolanda victims) built since he became chairman. And coming soon, a multimillion-dollar ship for ro-ro and assault landing to be used for emergency missions with a capacity of 126 seats.

On top of the humanitarian work, such as snatching OFWs from the jaws of death, Dick will be back in top form at the Senate. “I was no. 1 in Metro Manila,” he brags before “Bulong Pulungan,” but only no. 6 in Tacloban and other areas devastated by Yolanda. How? Red Cross was one of the first responders and among the last to leave. Making a face, he bewails how elections are lost and won, how we keep squandering resources and missing opportunities.

But with another former mayor sitting as president, Dick Gordon, ex-mayor of Olongapo for 13 years, now dares to level up his optimism, wow! It takes an executive, such as mayor, to understand people – empathizing with the people not being the strong suit of the outgoing administration. He understands Mayor Duterte’s gutter language because he has used it, too: “Give him time, he’ll adjust.” (Digong’s party was one of four, maybe more, that supported independent candidate Gordon, wow!)

Like Digong, Dick puts education on top of his agenda, followed by investments to include trains, infrastructures and programs for tourism. Tourism not your baby? “I have many babies,” he winks (without whistling), and if you assume that tourism will be the focus of his job, “How little you think of me!” (JULLIE Y. DAZA)