Time to say goodbye

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    “Mark 5:31

    And he said to them, Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while”

    **************

    After six years of sacrifice, hard work, late, late hours of pouring over documents making sure they are precise and truthful, solving problems, natural disasters, finding solutions for mind-boggling situations you did not create, making sure you are putting the best face of the country on the world stage, getting back the respect of the international community, President Benigno Aquino III steps down with a clear conscience and a great amount of relief.

    Sure, there is some amount of bitchiness from some quarters, unrequited love, and nastiness from people he least expected them from, but the bachelor President takes it all in stride. He looks forward to being “just a private citizen” and enjoy his old home, hours of listening to his favorite music, and old food haunts around the area.

    No plans to travel abroad at this time and if at all, maybe around the country to taste the “fun” part of the widely successful tourism program. As for settling down, let us not badger him with his love life. It is still “Coke Zero” although…. and then he give us a Cheshire cat smile.

    1st Picture time-1Pnoy and his friends from Bulong Pulungan sat down to a delicious Chinese seafood dinner where he thoughtfully ordered what he thought we would enjoy. And he was right. His choice included Peking duck even if he himself does not like the dish. He just thought we might enjoy the crispy roast duck, and he was right, we did! He introduced us to crispy fried alupihang dagat which to me was sinfully addicting.

    Anyway, it was a relaxed evening, mostly “off the record” but we are really grateful for sharing his thoughts and observations on his presidency!

    We had a very touching and historic Bulong Puungan session last Tuesday at the Sofitel when most of President Aquino’s cabinet secretaries gathered for the launch of the compendium on “The Aquino Legacy.”

    This was a handsome set of DVDs on the mini-documentaries done by the PCOO under the direction of Usec Jan Co Chua and of the Office of Special Concerns Maria Montelibano who is also the executive director of the EDSA People Power Commission. It was officially turned over to DepEd secretary Armin Luistro to be distributed to 2,000 public schools.

    It turned out to be a happy and fun gathering for the “graduating” group led by executive secretary Jojo Ochoa, Jr. (the organizing group’s “Father of Perpetual Help” and the “crush ng bayan” or the cabinet “hottie.”)

    Other “graduates” whose departments or agencies figure prominently in the achievements of the administration were Sec. Mario Montejo of DOST and Usec. Alexander Pama of the NDRRM, Finance’s Cesar Purisima, DFA’s (former cabinet secretary) Rene Almendras, DPWH’s Sec. Rogelio Singson, PAGCOR’s chairman Bong Naguiat whose R12 billion donation funded thousands of school buildings and desks, GSIS president Bernie Vergara who leaves behind a tip top and stable pension funds with excellent frontline services, SSS’s Emil de Quiros sure of his pension fund’s operational life, DAR’s Virgilio  de los Reyes, COA’s Michael Aguinaldo, Commission of Human Rights former chair, Etta Rosales, DOLE’s Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz under whose term there were very few strikes and lots of employment opportunities, Philhealth’s John Basa  for its extensive coverage , DSWD’s Sec. Dinky Soliman, TESDA’s chief, now senator Joel Villanueva, Land Registration Authority’s Eulalio Diaz, peace negotiator Teresita Deles, DND’s Voltz Gazmin, and DA’s Prospero Alcala. Not a cabinet member but a dear friend of PNOy, Romy Mercado also joined the Bulong.

    The mood was mellow, oftentimes very funny with Sec. Armin’s dry humor and Ochoa’s revelations on how he stayed indestructible all throughout the six years. He is one executive secretary who stayed in his post as long as his post, a testament to his dedication to his job, yes, but more on his ability to meet each storm stonily. He just “cracked up” with a wisecrack or quip to lighten the scenario every once in a while in front of his Big Boss.

    Sec. Armin will rest from the many brickbats and slings thrown at him during his term and go back to being an ordinary “brother” in the La Sallian community. He guided the DepEd excellently and can rest assured he has the stakeholders’ gratitude for all his labors. (mb.com)

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