Voice Unheard

After delivering a speech that supposedly described to the world the serious need for aid of the people in Mindanao, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s speech before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly was met with massive discontent and was even ignored by some delegates. Now, we have to think if whether they ignored the country or they ignored the speaker.

President Arroyo speaks before the General Assembly.

Most recently, the President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo spoke before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Her speech came after UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, General Assembly President Miguel Brockmann, Brazilian President Luiz Da Silva and American President George Bush whose speech focused mainly on terrorism and French President Nicolas Sarkozy whose speech that focused on moral responsibility and worldwide peace was given a standing ovation before the Assembly. President Arroyo’s speech however was the time when most diplomats stood from their seats and began leaving the room. Clearly her speech was ignored. Although some may have heard it but they may not have taken it seriously. It seemed as if no one noticed her enter the podium, having met with no applause at all.

Surely it wasn’t because they didn’t care about the people in the Philippines. I mean this is an international body that is suppose to safeguard human rights. These people were diplomats. Surely that wasn’t the case. What seems possible though is that they didn’t have trust in the speaker, Gloria Arroyo. They have heard of the recent irregularities and atrocities happening in the Philippines. They knew the situation in the country was getting worse and that millions of people need international “intervention”. They all knew what was happening, they didn’t need someone to speak before them tell them that “everything is okay” and receive credit for it even if it wasn’t true. The world is ready to help, but not when the country is not going to help itself. The government, at least. The country has been given the opportunity to help itself so many times but thanks to the government the needy failed to take advantage of its benefits. So many times international firms have approved loans for Philippine projects but were often redirected into the wrong pockets. Today, the country has many fields which need rehabilitating such as healthcare, education and sanitation. These fields need spending. And not fields like a national broadband network or a big-ticket mining deal. We have to start with the basics, on what is practical rather than what is ambitious.

During that assembly, the world may have turned their backs on President Arroyo but not to the millions of Filipinos who are victims of greed, lust and corruption. Nor to the millions more pleading for help in other parts of the world. They know who needs help. They are ready to help, but at the right time. Yes, our President’s voice was unheard, but not the Filipino’s.

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