By JULLIE Y. DAZA
Juan Ponce Enrile wants you to be happy. “Gusto ko happy ka!” It’s a wish that resonates in these stressful times. I wish we could have 12 extra Senators JPE in the Senate when the new Congress opens.
Earthquakes. All shook up. Drought and lack of water. Be reminded how ancient civilizations died out when their rivers did. In 2019, a people powerless against power outages. Drug lords, a different brand of terrorists acting in slo-mo. Penniless pushers and users committing assisted suicide with the help of trigger-happy cops.
We live in stressful times. A global survey finds Filipinos the second most stressed (58 percent) after Greece (59) and three points ahead of Americans (55) living in the land of the free, of milk and honey. On top of being stressed out, Filipinos were No. 1 most emotional in Asia and No. 4 in the world. And why not? If our lives are not already highly charged with drama, we still look for melodrama in the daily, nightly soaps to make real life just as sudsy.
“Gusto ko happy ka!” was JPE’s slogan in a previous election, which means his image handlers think it will work again. At age 94, he has the stamina of younger candidates as “he’s all over the place,” in the words of his daughter Katrina, describing his campaign sorties. In Nueva Ecija days after the earthquake, he sounded the call for a “new building code that can meet any kind of earthquake.” In Bicol, he reminded government to protect “the most productive fishing grounds in the country.” In Cavite, he vowed to work for equipment to help police in intel-gathering against drug lords. In Manila, he urged a “review [of] the cost of electricity, especially of generation.” In Cagayan, he said we need foreign investments to boost agriculture and manufacturing, and generate jobs. In Pampanga, he reiterated the need to decongest Manila through tax incentives and create new centers of growth. In his view of Dragon vs Eagle, “I can depend more on China. . . in their capacity and willingness to assist their friends in trouble.”
Voters who cannot appreciate the breadth of this man’s experience and intellect might as well relocate to the land of the Ostrich.