Because a lot of who I am, and what I do, is because of Franklin Drilon.
For the past six years or so I have tried to lessen my political postings. Once upon a time (about ten years ago) my blog was filled with my little opinion pieces on our government, development, and other social issues. When I got married and had children, other things started to take up my time, and I started forming stronger opinions on breastfeeding, education, parenting and the like.
Coincidentally, six years ago, my former boss became President of the Republic of the Philippines. Many friends from school joined the government. And of course, there were family members serving in different branches of government. Although I consider myself quite level-headed, I avoided engaging in negative discussions, mainly because I started becoming more emotional than logical (or perhaps I was always pregnant?).
But, it’s campaign time once again – and, I’ll treat myself to a semi-political post while my babies sleep.
I have been given the honour to talk to a group of student leaders from Partido last month, and then to the Bikol Association of Catholic Schools last week. Both groups asked me to talk about nation building. I always attribute my love for country to my Lolo Tatay, Munding Obias. He died when I was in high school though, and never got to see any of the little things I got to do to serve our country.
Another man who contributed greatly to who I am today, and has influenced how I view our country, is Franklin Drilon. When I was in college, I had the chance to work with his staff, I would spend summers learning from idealistic, young, energetic people – Queenie Evangelista, Deanna Buncio, Lino Ong and many, many others. And we all learned from Tito Frank. Spot reports made for committee hearings were checked by him – grammar and all. I learned to be quick, alert, and professional. I learned to take quick notes, and eat meals fast. I learned that not all government workers spent their days reading the newspaper and eating peanuts (but that there were people who did that all day too).
I witnessed how he worked. He is a man who does his homework and expects all of us to do our homework as well. His praise is minimal, but when he does, it is genuine. His expectations are great, and if he gets upset, it is because we really must have done something wrong.
I witnessed how he loves. He works hard because he has so much faith in the Filipino and in what the Filipino is capable of being. He works hard because he believes we deserve only the best, and so I thank him for giving us his best.
I believe he works extra hard because he loves his family as well. Tito Frank married my Tita Lag a little after my Lolo Tatay passed away. He takes care of his wife, their children, and grandchildren by trying his best to make the country we are to inherit better than it is today.
After college, he accepted me into his staff, and let me work alongside his staff (who had grown a little older, wiser, but were still so much fun to be with). He let me be my own person, and because of my pride, I am ever thankful. I remember being called into the office of his chief of staff then, and being told that I will not be given special treatment. And really, I did not expect any special treatment. I’d like to believe I was there because he knew I was capable.
The bills he passed, and the things he has achieved in the different posts he has had, will say much of his capabilities as a lawyer, legislator, statesman, and public servant. A few years ago, he started working closely with Gawad Kalinga. GK is the movement that took me from my love-hate/hello-goodbye relationship with the senate, and I write about it more than any of my political involvements. That partnership made me so happy.
Tonight, I took my husband, and two sons to their first political rally. The Liberal Party, together with the cabinet secretaries, the senatorial candidates, Congresswoman Leni Robredo, Sec. Mar Roxas, and President Noynoy Aquino all came to Plaza Quezon. It was packed with people in yellow. (Except for us – unfortunately, the four of us no longer have any yellow clothes. All our yellows are in Manila.)
It was like a peek into my past life. According to Manay Tricia, “This could have been your life.”. Yeah, I could totally see myself there – tailing after Manny and Lino. But I wouldn’t trade what I have now for anything else. Who knows, maybe one of our boys will be called to serve that way too! And if they can have hearts as big as Lolo Frank’s, then surely, it will be all worth it.
I thought we had come prepared, but I learned a few things from our adventure today.
Click here to read more about How to Prepare Yourself for a Political Rally (With Kids!)