'Dear Noynoy' Facebook page gives tips to next president

By Mark Joseph Tajo Solis, abs-cbnNEWS.com Halalan volunteer

Posted at May 14 2010 12:18 PM | Updated as of May 15 2010 02:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Around 10% of the total poll results have yet to be transmitted to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), but thousands of Filipinos are already looking at Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who is leading by about 5 million votes, as the next Philippine president.

Just days ago, Gang Badoy of Rock Ed Philippines created a Facebook page where members can post suggestions on how "President" Aquino can steer the country toward progress.

Called "Dear Noynoy Aquino (suggestions to a new president)," the Facebook page hinted at Cabinet appointments, priority projects, and ways to battle the problems of deep-seated corruption in the country.

As of 11:25 a.m. on May 14, the Dear Noynoy page had 36,254 members.

"Una, hindi ko siya in-expect...Lalo ko nadama na 'wow, demokrasya tayo.' (First of all, I didn't expect this to have this much members...With that, I really felt that 'wow, we really are in a democracy')," Badoy told ABS-CBN News.

Below are some of the suggestions posted by members of the Dear Noynoy Facebook page.

Start with an 'A-team'

Despite a one-year appointment ban of candidates who will lose this election, a number of Facebook users proposed that Aquino ought to appoint presidential and vice-presidential candidates to his cabinet.

"Why not appoint all the presidential candidates to your cabinet? Each one of them has good plans for the government," said Tessa Nepomuceno of Makati City, adding, "Make all of them put their ideas into good use."

Citing names for the job, John Mark Ilano of Cavite City said, "Kunin mo si Bro. Eddie sa anti-corruption, Dick Gordon for Department of Tourism, and Gibo Teodoro for Department of National Defense."

"(Get [Bangon Pilipinas standard bearer] Bro. Eddie Villanueva for anti-corruption, [Bagumbayan Party standard bearer] Dick Gordon for Department of Tourism, and [Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer] Gibo Teodoro for Department of Defense)."

Accordingly, Daniel Dumapit and R. E. de Leon had a run-through of a handful of candidates for the May 10 polls.

"Get Nick Perlas for Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Alex Lacson for Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, [Dinky] Soliman for Department of Social Welfare and Development, [Mar] Roxas for Department of Trade and Industry, and Bayani [Fernando] for Department of Public Works and Highways," they posted.

Premium on education

Many posts on the Dear Noynoy page reminded Aquino of his promise of higher-quality education in the country. The Facebook users believed that an improved education system will lead the Philippines closer to progress.

Xavier Hernandez, for one, suggested "not just to build more schools, but instill in the Filipino youth more motivation to actively participate in the education process."

On the other hand, Mitzi Gaile Aguirre called for higher salaries of teachers and lower tuition fees. "Mas mataas na sahod para sa mga guro. Para sa mag-aaral naman, ibigay ang matagal na kahilingan na mababa at abot-kayang tuition fees," she said.

"(Higher wages for the teachers. For us students, please give us the low and affordable tuition fees that we've always asked for)."

For his part, Fred Lopez of Las Piñas City said: "At [the] minimum, our public school system should match or exceed the standards of developed countries."

Serious, funny

A considerable number of advice on the Dear Noynoy page also pointed to Aquino's campaign against corruption.

Jeffrey Espina, for one, noted that Aquino and his government have a moral imperative to curb it -- a task that will prove to be difficult since corruption is deeply embedded in the Philippines' political culture.

Jupiter Loredo Kalambakal of Manila, on the other hand, called on Aquino to "run after big-time tax delinquents and evaders," "not allow civil servants to dirty their hands with blood money," and "purge the bureaucracy of scallywags."

But just like anything online, not everyone's message is serious.

For instance, Badoy noted a Facebook user who told Aquino that he shouldn't be smoking, or that he shouldn't let go of his girlfriend, Valenzuela 2nd district councilor Shalani Soledad.

Posts in the Dear Noynoy page may range from the humorous and heavily political, but Badoy stressed that what's important is that there's a new medium of communication formed between leaders and voters. -- With a report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News