Among other meanings, “puno” means tree, and Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno won’t let us forget it. The DILG website has a slide show and YouTube videos which all feature Puno as the source, the “puno,” of all good things in that department. There he is, inspecting new police cars with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. There he is again, this time in a camouflage police uniform, pinning a medal on the chest of some policeman. And there he is with a little girl, extolling the virtues of the Philippine National Police’s Women and Child Protection Desk.
The website also proclaims that “’Pag maganda ang puno, Maganda din ang bunga” (a good tree bears good fruit), which is the exact same message of the Puno “public service” ads that have been running over TV for some weeks. Those ads, said a Puno spokesman, were paid for by the Friends of Ronnie (FoR), which he says is a group supportive of Puno’s advocacy of “empowering local government units” and “developing a new breed of law enforcers.”
He did say during the campaign for the Presidency that the US should talk and “meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe alike.” But it’s beginning to look as if talking to everyone may have consequences he and his advisers may not have foreseen—or don’t consider priorities for US interests.
“Not talking doesn’t make us [the United States] tough,” said Barack Obama in 2008, “it makes us look arrogant, it denies us opportunities to make progress, and it makes it harder for America to rally international support for our leadership.”
It’s no hot dog stand, but it’s no Max’s Restaurant either. Its owner Sirio Maccioni describes it in its website (www.lecirque.com) as “a place where the worlds of food, fashion, art and culture converge,” although he doesn’t say how it enables patrons to live, or even to just think about, art and culture between the soup and the entrée.
New York’s Le Cirque seats about 150 in separate dining, private event and bar areas. Its décor of yellow and orange evokes “ a circus big top that actually looks more like the inside of a humungous lamp shade.”
Keeping politics out of the five days of mourning after her death last August 1st until her funeral last Wednesday seemed especially incongruous. In the end the initially earnest efforts to keep politics out had to yield to the obviously political message the very presence of the throngs flooding the streets — and some of the placards they were holding up — were sending.
Few have remarked on it in recent days, but Corazon Aquino was not only politically active until the time of her death, having opposed charter change and added her voice to the clamor for Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo to resign. She was also the first woman president of the Philippines, which was itself a fact of far- ranging political significance.