Manila Times columnist and Duterte propagandist Rigoberto Tiglao complained on Jan. 8 that the Philippine Daily Inquirer should not have given blogger Jover Laurio the Filipino-of-the-Year award because the recognition is "an insult to the nation". He wrote the military (and the president) deserve the award because they risked their lives during the Marawi siege.
If we follow Tiglao’s reasoning, then every newspaper and organization should give the Filipinos-of-the-Year award to soldiers every year, without exception. So, forget everyone else. Forget the writers, the doctors, the people who campaign for peace, the farmers, the victims of sexual assault, and the whistle-blowers. They can never be Persons of the Year because they don't carry firearms and fight wars. Perhaps the police can qualify for risking their lives in executing thousands of people, but other professionals like nurses, OFWs and teachers can never be.
We learned last week that the alumni association of the University of Santo Tomas gave Mocha Uson an award for "exemplary government service". Mocha is a shameless fake-news guru. If she deserves such an award, despite her incompetence as assistant secretary for social media at the Presidential Communications for Operations Office (PCOO), one might as well give a similar recognition to the Bureau of Fire Protection of Davao. Tiglao has not given any comment on this award.
The head of the UST alumni association Henry Tenedero has resigned in response to the uproar. It’s worth recalling his words on the subject: “We never thought of giving it [to Uson] dahil siya ay controversial or not. Ang amin lang is that you’re a Thomasian graduate. [We are] hoping that this award will inspire you to live [the Tomasian core values] more in your public [service]. Whether you’re living it or not is not for us to say.”
So, Tenedero was saying that Uson didn't accomplish anything exceptional for the government. And yet, they gave her an award -- to encourage her to become a good public servant, because she is not.
Uson returned the award, probably sensing it’s more of an insult than a compliment, but the best service she can give to the Filipino people is to resign immediately and return the P133,000 she had been receiving every month from taxpayers. The second best she can do is go to Naga and Bicol and assist in the delivery of services to the victims of the eruption of Mayon Volcano.
See also Mindanao Gold Star Daily.