DAVAO CITY — I know Enteng Romano III from way back when. Not personally, of course, but professionally. Before he rose to prominence as convenor of the Black and White Movement, he was already a high-profile consultant and speaker in the local IT scene. You might say I know him well from his many brochures and email invitations to his events. Later on, Mr. Romano turned his energies to political advocacy and, well, zoom! For that he had my respect.
I didn’t expect to hear more of Mr. Romano, so his resignation last week came as Department of Tourism undersecretary came as a surprise: I didn’t even know he had been appointed to the position.
In a way, it’s sad. Mr. Romano resigned because of the flap over the Pilipinas kay Ganda campaign. Mr. Romano chose the honorable way out. He owned up to the error, even though his name hardly came up in the furor. One would hope that his exit would provide closure to the issue, but since the real target seems to be Sec. Lim, it seems this will grab the scorn and the limelight for a few weeks more.
The irony is this: now that Mr. Romano has resigned, people are more sure that he was a decent, responsible man, unlike other officials who cling to their posts come hell or high water. Perhaps he shouldn’t have resigned? Too late, folks.
Now, I’m not a fan of the Pilipinas kay Ganda campaign, but only in the same way that I wasn’t a fan of “Wow Philippines” campaign, which is to say, I’m apathetic. Both are messages crafted for tourists. I should care why? Some people will prefer one, some people the other, but really, it it an issue of such grave importance that it should make the headlines? For more than a week? Is it so profound that it demands the resignation of an undersecretary?
If these are the national issues that plague the Aquino administration now, well, they must be doing something right. If, as the straw man for our Burning Unquenchable Rage Against All Things that Offend Us, we have to pick on such trivialities, hooray! Because I tell you I would rather have issues like this than, say, issues on the scale of NBN-ZTE scam or an Ampatuan massacre.
Except: I’d rather not. There are more important matters to act on, even to get upset about. Take for instance, the wrongful death of Leonardo Co: the murder of the Philippines’ top botanist is something we should get mad about, right? However, I doubt it gathered the same kind of reaction that “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” got, much less the gleefully hateful response to Mai Mislang’s tactless Tweets.