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[IRL] BOTONG DI BOBO

By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento


The challenge of making others care or even understand about good governance really hit me, when I asked a market stall owner what he thought about the corruption which the Senate hearings reveal about the Pharmally deal. It’s not that bad, the shopkeeper declared, because at least there were some items delivered, no matter how over-priced, lacking, substandard or damaged these might be. It’s not as if all those billions were just stolen and ang taong bayan got absolutely nothing. How many voters are like this small business owner, with 20 employees on his payroll? They expect only the worst from our government. Knowing they could well be murdered, they are thus grateful when they’re just starved, beaten and robbed.


Supposedly, it’s all a matter of values, and as it’s said, values are best caught, not merely taught. The Archdiocese of Cubao, shepherded by Bishop Nes Ongtioco, has come up with a catchy way to teach the nobler and uplifting humanistic values as part of its Voter Education outreach. Botong Di-Bobo is a 4:28 minute long video produced by the Miraculous Medal Parish SocCom. You may view and share it through https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2057090144438039


Seventeen priests passionately deliver Fr. Nelson Orqueta’s poetic verses, as follow:


BOTONG DI BOBO

Ako si botong maka-Diyos, di bobo:

Gagabayan ng lubos ang ating bayang hikahos,

Tamang pag-pili’y matabos.


Ako si botong makatao, di bobo:

Malasakit ay totoo, itaguyod ang pagkatao

Siyang panúto ko.


Ako si botong makabayan, di bobo:

Aral sa kasaysayan. Dugo ng kabayanihan

Buháy sa halalan.


Ako si botong makabuhay, di bobo:

Kandidatong tapat ihalal, wagas ang pagmamahal

Sa buhay na banál, bigay ng Maykapal.


Ako si botong maka-kalikasan, di bobo:

Nakatuón sa kinabukasan,

Hangad ang kaligtasan ng Inang Kalikasan

Ako si botong maka-pamilya, di bobo:

Dangal di ibebenta, kinabukasan ng bata

Lubos na inaalala.


Ako si botong pang-kalayaan, di bobo:

Bayan pag-aalayan mulat na kamalayan.

Kasarinlan babantayan.


Ako si botong pang-katarungan, di bobo:

Handang ipaglaban

Dangal at karapatan ng taong bayan.


Ako si botong pang-kaayusan, di bobo:

Bahagi ng kilusan, tutol ng lubusan

Sa daan ng karahasan.


Ako si botong matalino, di bobo:

At halal na matino, salamin ng pagkatao

Ay laman ng puso ko.


Ako si botong mapagpalaya, di bobo:

Lakip ay pagtataya, mabuting balita

Sa bayang dalita.


Ako si botong makatotohanan, di bobo:

Trolls di papatulan; fake news tatabunan,

Eleksiyon babantayan.


Ako si botong madasalin, di bobo:

Ang botong ipinagdasal, botong maikararangal

Handog na banal sa Poong Maykapal.


Ako si botong mapagnilay, di bobo:

Unahan ng pagninilay balotang ilalagay

Pag-ibig nataglay sa bayan iaalay.


Ako si botong mapagmalasakit, di bobo:

Pag-isipan, pagnilayan, darating na halalan,

Kapakanan ng bayan iyong pagmalasakitan.


Ako si botong mulát, di bobo:

Aral ng kasaysayan gamiting batayán

Uring kawatán tuluyang tutulan.


Marami kaming magkakapatid,

Marami kaming magkakampi

Alam ko, ikaw rin.


The video has even inspired others to comment in verse too, such as Celso Pascua Jr. who wrote:

Ako si botong mapanuri, hindi bobo:

Konsensya ang nangingibabaw, hindi ang taginting ng salapi

Hangad ang kapakanan ng nakararaming kapwa bago ang sarili.


Now if only words would transform into right actions.


_________________









Menchu Aquino Sarmiento is an award-winning writer and a social concerns advocate. IRL (In Real Life) are short verbal pagmumuni-muni, the essay equivalent of fast fiction--but in real life. She really wants more Filipinos to care, and to do something legal and non-violent about it, preferably together, so that we act more like a civilized country, a mature democracy.



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