Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 112: Up Close with Senator RICHARD GORDON

The day started out as an ordinary Thursday...I accompanied my older daughter to summer school and planned the rest of the day like I always do - pass the time with the kids during the 5-hour brownout, have our meals, take our afternoon nap, catch up with online work and duties and conduct online classes.  However, today took a different turn...a few days ago, I found out that Sen. Richard Gordon was visiting my city but I didn't know how to get details about his itinerary.  Fortunately, some online friends helped me out and managed to hook me up with the people preparing for the senator's arrival.

While waiting for my daughter to finish her class, I received information about Sen. Gordon's itinerary.  I was pleasantly surprised when the coordinator asked if I wanted to meet him? Of course!!! With the info on hand, I went home with my daughter to fetch my son and younger daughter.

When my eldest asked, "Where are we going Mom?", I told him "We're going to spend some time with Senator Richard Gordon." To which he asked, "Who is he?"  And I replied, "He's a senator of the country who is running for president, our family is supporting him."  When he asked why, I said, "Well, he is the one who can help our country become better, become as progressive as Singapore." Wittingly he said, "Oh, I'd love that..."

Our group of four trooped to the airport to find "red shirts" patiently awaiting the "Kidlat's" arrival.  In full force, all four of us were also in red to show our support.  Since I haven't been active in these kinds of things in a long time, I expected security and escorts to keep us in arm's length from the coordinating group.  But no, we were let into the plan for the day. How wonderful was that?

It was great to discover that a couple of my co-BCBP Breakfasters were also staunch Gordon supporters.    It took less than an hour before Sen. Gordon and his entourage to arrive.  Upon his arrival, my camera never ceased clicking...

Surprisingly, his entourage was composed of a small team of volunteers...true volunteers! His assistant was a teacher at my alma mater who I think just took a leave to help out in the campaign.  How cool is that? He wasn't heavily guarded, I actually didn't notice any for the people who met him became his guard, his shield.  Despite the scorching heat of the sun, he brought out his beaming smile and warmly shook the hands of people he met along the way.  Mind you, he asked the names of people as he went past them.

First stop was at the civil aviation office for a mini press conference with local media.

Excerpts of his responses are here:

From the airport, the convoy of volunteers and supporters went to the local Magic FM station along J.C. Aquino Avenue.  Since the space there was quite small, most of us just waited for him at the lobby of the building. After the radio interview stint, everyone beelined for Marjorie's at Imadejas Subd. for a quick late lunch.  It was over lunch that the good senator proved he wasn't camera shy as click upon click and shot upon shot, he managed to beam his million dollar smile and trademark thumbs-up sign for every person who wished to have a photo taken with him.  And although pressed for time, you wouldn't see him rushing or denying people of the opportunity to converse with him. He was open to conversation, in fact I thought he genuinely loved a good banter. I also observed how attentive he was whenever someone would open up certain issues about the city or region.  And mind you, he took notes.

After everyone had a chance to recharge, off we went again to another radio interview, this time at Real FM over at PECIT. Even though, the day was proving to be quite long and tiring already, Sen. Gordon didn't show a bit of stress at all.  In fact, he was as passionate (if not even more so) with his words as he was during his first press con.

The final meet-and-greet session was at Alicia's Resto where he faced an audience composed of local businesspeople, masses, teachers and the youth.  Upon seeing that the table and chair set up for him was up on stage, he immediately instructed for the table and chair be brought down directly in front of the audience.  After being introduced, Dick Gordon did what I thought was pretty cool and heartwarming - he sat there, on top of the table, relaxed to face the questions from his audience.  It was like an ordinary "no holds barred" barangay meeting or like a brainstorming session at the workplace.  His words that struck me most were these: "When I am your president, you will see me just like this, visiting you maybe every two months, if possible.  I will ask you - Kumusta na kayo? Kumusta na ang Butuan? At kung meron magsabi, katulad ng isang negosyante dito, pagpalagay mo...Naku, yun BIR dito kinokotongan ako...Ora mismo, ipapatawag ko yang taong yan para malaman kung ano ang nangyayari." 

"I will be a 24/7 president, I will be on radio and tv at least every week; I will make use of all forms of media and technology to make sure you see me and you can communicate with me.  You can contact me on my cell, basta huwag lang kayo hihingi ng load o mountain bike at bawal mag 'I love you' kasi selosa misis ko."

It was a candid outpouring of his desire to serve this country and its people.  And every time I'd hear his voice break, I knew it was out of frustration that a lot of people are still gambling away the future of this country and the younger generation.  Here is a man, raring to WORK and DISCIPLINE our country and our people to bring us back on the world map...and yet, many question his winnability.  That's it?  You're banking the entire future of our children and grandchildren on the question of winnability?  He has the track record, the experience and the qualifications, let's make him win! 

By the end of the day, I would have wanted to follow his convoy all the way to Cagayan de Oro but I had 3 young children to take care of so I had to beg off.  With a tight embrace, I wished the great senator well for the duration of the campaign.

My continued prayer is for more and more people to get enlightened and seriously look at the qualifications and platforms of all the candidates - national and local.  As Sen. Gordon has said over and over, "You don't even have to choose me.  But the least you could do is think it over and make a principled choice, a principled vote."  

When he left Butuan City, his only reminder were the words, "HUNA-HUNAA" (in English - Think, in Tagalog - Mag-isip).  And that's exactly what each and every qualified Filipino voter should do in the next two weeks.

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