I join the entire Filipino nation, particularly my colleagues in the community media, and surviving comrades in the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), in hailing the ascendancy of Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel as Senate president.
In the 100-year history of the Philippine Senate, no other father and son have ever headed the Chamber as its president. A bar top-notcher, Koko as he is affectionately called, is the son of former Senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr. Koko was born and raised in Mindanao.
Nene Pimentel, whom my senior colleagues in the provincial-media. fondly refer to as “as the last statesman in the Senate” was our associate moderator when he was still a university professor at Cagayan de Oro.
When I was OIC Mayor of Kalibo, Aklan, Nene asked me to help organize the PDP-Laban in Aklan. I was assisted by erstwhile candidate for President Martin Dino who withdrew in favor of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte, now the President of the Philippines.
Koko has now an added public expectation to live up to. The whole Filipino nation looks up to him as his father’s son in achievement, in democratic governance and in statesmanship.
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Overall, President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a real address to the Filipino people, not just to senators, congressmen, local government officials, members of the diplomatic corps or the elite. It was crafted and aimed to be understood even by the hoi-polloi.
President Duterte’s SONA was not designed to approximate Abraham Lincoln’s historic 1962 Gettysburg State of the Nation Address where he declared the emancipation and freedom of slaves in the United States. Digong’s message was very Filipino. It was meant to communicate the state of affairs of our nation and his doable goals.
Some of his SONA highlights:
• Call to respect the decision of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA);
• Unilateral ceasefire with CPP-NPA-NDF;
• Application of full force by AFP on Abu Sayyaf criminals;
• Emergency powers to address traffic chaos;
• DILG nationwide information campaign on federalism and charter change.
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I join the parents of Gianna, my only grandchild, who turns one-year old on Sunday, July 31. Her parents are lawyer Roderick Fernando and Geraldine Dayang-Fernando. Her birthday celebration will be at the Ayala Ballroom, Makati Sports Club, Salcedo Village, Makati on Sunday. (Johnny Dayang)