Gawd knows how many unpublished drafts I have on this blog that need polishing, if not a convincingly complete thoughtfulness but I couldn't help commenting on this recent news.
So, the President proceeds to New York exactly a week ago today to finally fulfill an obligation to the country and the world. Yes, he'd do the trip totally the opposite of his predecessor's to save us precious reserves and all and, by the way, will hold off pouring over the IIRC—the hostage incident report the President put together and rushed to conclusion so the Chinese government can decide on what to do with our strained relationship before Christmas—while he partakes of hotdogs in New York sidewalks for photo-op. No, really. He said that he'd dine simply between meeting other heads of states and he was true to his word.
Also, the IIRC report was immediately sent off to Beijing ahead of any local institution or body that may have their own interest in its contents like the Houses of Congress, a decision which, naturally, angered its honorable members.
In the meantime, his (the President's) members of the official communications group were grilled in the lower house back in Manila. The opposition took advantage of air time to pound on each of the members of this group, hoping perhaps to finally squeeze out some admission into their supposed factional ties, something the public silently thought could have contributed to the endangerment of the hostage negotiations back in 23 August.
Former business news reader and host Ricky Carandang, also ex-print media managing editor, he from the TV newsgroup some Twitter users have called "the alternative government news network," even made it a point to be funny in Congress when he revealed that the President left his mobile phone in the Palace when asked by the committee chair if Carandang (now Presidential Communications Group head Secretary Carandang) had spoken with the President in New York.
So, the President had finally been welcomed in the U.S., was given his proprietary intelligence forces to make sure nothing untoward happens, and, surprise!, meets his former running-mate Mar Roxas who, he said, was there to help introduce him to possible trade and business deals for the country's benefit.
Vice-president Binay, meanwhile, was left back in Manila not to oversee the welfare of our country while the President was away but to stick to "certain duties" given him, to which the vice president said sat just fine with him anyway. The Vice-president's office even issued a public statement that said "with all the available communications technology, appointing (him as) a caretaker would be unnecessary since the President can constantly keep in touch with the Cabinet and key government officials."
Yet it seems that the available communications technology, like the ubiquitous and Pinoy favorite cellphone, can break down if they get left behind in third-world state capitals indiscriminately.
It may not only break down, but inefficient messaging and the transcription of important communications can get in the way of competence and order, thereby resulting in more confusion not just among members of communications groups but with stately protocols.
Or it seems that the accredited and official media in the President's entourage may have simply enjoyed themselves lunching at the Big Apple's famed sidewalk snack carts so much they snapped away at ceremonial functions in the UN without noting that the Philippine flag had been displayed with the red field up. I mean, no one seemed to have noticed it the entire time, not even the embassy and UN representative officials!
Red field up means that the country is at war. It's in Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8491 (AN ACT PRESCRIBING THE CODE OF THE NATIONAL FLAG, ANTHEM, MOTTO, COAT-OF-ARMS AND OTHER HERALDIC ITEMS AND DEVICES OF THE PHILIPPINES) which states:
Sec. 10. The flag, if flown from a flagpole, shall have its blue field on top in time of peace and the red field on top in time of war; if in a hanging position, the blue field shall be to the right (left of the observer) in time of peace, and the red field to the right (left of the observer) in time of war.
The flagpole staff must be straight and slightly tapering at the top.Since the evening of 26 Sept. 2010 (PHI time) the internet and news wires were abuzz with the official U.S. apology for releasing pictures of the President with American counterpart Barack Obama set against the Philippine flag with its red field up. Why? It did not have anything to do with the Philippine flag displayed in that manner.
Apparently, it had been hung from that staff for all to see in many other UN functions that day.
I get the feeling that we have been having a difficult time getting our grips on national directions lately.
Last week, the Congress had approved the law on how to sing the Lupang Hinirang (National Anthem) properly, as if the simple words in the existing law (R.A. 8491, Chapter II), within the same one stated above that tells us how to display the flag correctly, is not plain and understood enough.
Perhaps next time, our laws should be multilingual, something all Filipinos will understand, whether they be talking to each other or not, or whether we need a knock on the head regarding self propriety with gadgets slung from wires largely dependent on technology, or with old-fashioned ways.
Credits to the President's photos:
Third image (from bottom) of the President from the Official Gazette gallery of the Office of the President.
Second image from bottom is an image grab from the LA Times.
Bottom image is a grab from the Official Gazette of the Office of the President.