I have been asked to comment on the recent appointment of Ms. Mocha Uson as Assistant Secretary of the PCOO.
I was not, at first, inclined to comment immediately, as I wanted her to have time to settle into her new role and wait for her to prove herself equal, not just to whatever marching orders she may have received from the President who appointed her, but, more importantly, to the high degree of decorum and integrity that is expected of every civil servant.
However, I understand that there are some who share some of my criticisms of the Duterte Administration, who have also already expressed their dissatisfaction over this choice of a Spokesperson for Malacañang. Thus, I thought it appropriate to share my thoughts on this now.
First of all, I congratulate Ms. Uson on her new appointment. I was also once a simple private citizen, who was suddenly given the chance to devote myself – my time, my education, my professional skills, my passion – to the service of our countrymen. So, in a way, I know how excited, honored and, perhaps, apprehensive Ms. Uson is to prove herself worthy of the trust given to her. Therefore, I sincerely wish her all the luck.
Secondly, I would be the first to defend her against attacks that focus on people’s perception of her character or morality, based on what she used to do for a living. I would ask people not to slut-shame her, to use her past career, relationships or sexual history to malign her, to subject her to misogynistic attacks, or any other form of ad hominem attacks, for that matter. Those things are personal to her, and that is between her and her God.
However, I would like to bring focus on what I hope Ms. Uson will work towards in her new position, funded by our tax money.
For one, I hope that she will be a purveyor of truth, rather than propaganda; of responsibly gathered and vetted facts and news, rather than so-called “alternative facts” and fake news. She is no longer just a private blogger or social media personality; she is now a civil servant.
For another, it matters, not just what she says, but also how she delivers it. I implore her to be more circumspect about her choice of words and way of saying them. I do not mean that she ought to use sophisticated words. In fact, I do encourage her to speak plainly. Plain but cleanly. Be aware that our children are listening to us. Our future generations are taking their cue from us on how to express and carry themselves. I hope that Ms. Uson will prove herself a model of dignity – the dignity of a woman, a public servant – for our people, especially the youth of today.
Ms. Uson, it is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Take care of the instrument – your voice – that you are wielding. Take care not to lace your tongue with the poison of lies, misinformation, misdirection, manipulation, or doubletalk. Resist the temptation of blindly following your President, who may ask you to apply your talent and gift to sow discord or to persecute those who displease him. In other words, I ask you to be a servant of the people because the product of your instrument – the information you disseminate, the thoughts you convey through your mouth, pen, or your keyboard – will have an impact on the lives of millions of Filipinos. It may spell the difference between nation-building and nation-destruction.