April 26, 2019 – Vinz Lamorena
It’s hard to take Ben Tulfo seriously when he told Asia’s Songbird, Regine Velasquez, earlier this week to leave the West Philippine Sea issues to the experts. From his tone, a figure from the entertainment industry doesn’t have the right to voice out their concerns—not unless it’s one coming from an informed and educated ground.
Tulfo flared up after Velasquez criticized Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on the issue of damaged reefs, saying “I thought you were smart. I’m just a simpleton with simple understanding. These people are invading our territory, they are not just taking food they are destroying our ocean.” The top diplomat said he won’t be willing to go to war for clams.
“What does she know besides singing?” Tulfo said on a live video streamed on Bitag Live’s Facebook page. The attacks of the TV and radio personality didn’t stop there. Velasquez was described to have a “career dwindling down” and was even questioned if she had subjects on political science.
“My message to you, Regine Velasquez, the next time you open your mouth, think. Make sure you have something in your head. Make sure you know the issue and you can talk about it. This isn’t your territory. You should just keep what you know to yourself,” Tulfo added.
Yeah, we get what he’s barking at, but it’s ironic how he dismisses entertainers as individuals who merely take on the stage when local government is run by a bunch of celebrities—a former pound-for-pound boxer is part of the Senate, while a folk artist and action-star wannabe of an ex-police chief want to join in the political fun. So yeah, same question—what do they know? From that perspective, entertainers seem to have quite a role in the aspect of nation building, whether we like it or not.
But we do live in a democracy where credentials aren’t the be all and end all of running a government (as much as we hope it would). However, there is a certain expectation all these government officials and representatives have in common: To work in the best interest of the country and the Filipinos—and nothing less should be expected from the top diplomat himself.
It’s true we can’t know everything, and it’s much easier to get our mouths running when it comes to national issues like these. However, Filipinos are not required to take diplomatic courses to voice out their concerns when it comes to international relations, or even internal affairs. People don’t always have to stay in the lanes of their own expertise, because we live in a dynamic society where everything is connected to everything else.
We need more people to be included and involved in these types of conversations. While the foreign affairs secretary doesn’t get the post through election votes, there’s still this thing called accountability that is ought to be demanded.
For a government that claims it is for the people, it shouldn’t be the first to silence opinion nor discourage discussion from the public. And neither should those who support this administration.
You can think what you want to think, but the young generations have just branded Regine as woke.
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