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PIA Press Release
2008/11/07

Commentary: Obama frenzy

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (7 November) -- The news this week, wherever you look, was dominated by the election fever in America which was filled with human interest other than its global impact.

For the very first time in the political history of the US of A, an African-American, complete with an Asian childhood background and features, rose to become the President-Elect in one of the mightiest nations on Earth.

By now, his name, Barack Obama, has become synonymous with hope and change -- his campaign mantra -- and even his middle name, Hussein, may now sound like an attempt to be good, or better, or best, given that under Bush a Hussein was treated, rightly or wrongly, as bad, worse, and worst.

Why the seemingly mad rush for change and all that? Well, like a mountaineer who climbs mountains just because they are there, there are lots of things to be changed.

****

Obama's rival, John McCain, must be given credit for holding on to the American tradition of political sportsmanship: he conceded defeat, congratulated Obama, and urged his supporters to support the winner in one of the most bitterly fought contests so far.

That singular act of McCain really must be a lesson or two for Filipino politicians to emulate, or copy in-toto, but on second thought, this is like asking for the moon and the stars.

Still, to copy Obama, there is "change we can believe in", including political and electoral change in Philippine setting, which can only be made possible if we are given the chance to computerize the 2010 elections.

Is anybody out there reading this, especially our politicians? Please pass.

****

Now that the US elections are over, this much can be told: under an Obama presidency, Filipino World War II veterans can have greater chances to be recognized on equal footing with their counterparts, the American WWII veterans.

Senator Obama himself uttered words to that effect sometime in June last year, so next year, or within the next four years of his term, it is reasonable to expect the moment of truth for the Pinoy veteran soldiers, whose declining number has been declining further by the day, they being in their twilight years of their lives.

Will their long wait finally end? We hope and pray that would be so. Indeed, the Veterans' Equity Bill has long been overdue to become a Veterans' Equity Act, with benefits mutually favorable to our old, surviving soldiers who sided with Uncle Sam all the way until they breath their last.

Obama simply has to put flesh to his "change we need" call, this time in particular the treatment of our ageing, struggling WWII veterans.

****

LOCAL FRONT: Employees at the provincial capitol can look forward to a Merry Christmas this early. On Monday, Gov. Damian Mercado assured the release of yearend benefits as early as possible this month, November, and the additional bonus before Christmas Day next month. Had the Governor not made the announcement, it would have been a "hearing-hearing" around among the personnel. With the information coming direct from the horse's mouth, so to speak, everything is now clear, as clear as the blue sky.

ODDLY YOURS: American voters did not really directly elect either McCain or Obama when they trooped to the polls this week. They chose electors from their respective States who pledged to vote for Obama, or McCain. The electors, whose number depends on the population of each State, can be a minimum of three, as in District of Columbia, to a high of 55, in the State of California. Together, they compose the Electoral College, a body which will meet on December 15 to cast their votes. There are 538 electoral college votes throughout the 50 States of the United States, and a candidate simply needs 270 to get elected. As it turned out, Obama got more than 300 electoral votes as against McCain's more than 100. It may happen that a candidate may win by popular vote but lose by electoral vote, ending up as the loser, and this did happen three times already ever since the electoral college system was used in the year 1800. The latest was in 2000. Al Gore was ahead of George Bush by 400,000 plus via the popular vote, but by electoral votes, Bush got 271 and Gore, 266. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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