1. Manny Pacquiao- Manny, gloves down, wins the award for Filipino of the Year. Manny’s achievement is not in his athletic prowess -and that is much- but in his humility, enthusiasm and desire to leverage his reknown for public service and the greater good.
Manny can do wonderful things for this country but he must be mindful of those who surround him and exploit his popularity for their individual agendas.
2. P-Noy- The President, the number two Filipino of The Year, is cited for “How to Be Successful As President Without Really Trying”. Despite working effortlessly on governance, Noy has maintained a favorable public rating of 79%. Among world leaders, this puts him just behind Kim-Jong Il of North Korea (100% approval) and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (92%).
President Barack Obama has asked P-Noy how he achieves so much with so little. Noy replied: 1) Lower the national discourse to the level of the common man; 2) Refuse to engage in any meaningful issues; and 3) Dress as badly as you can. Obama has so far done the opposite which explains his poor ratings.
Italian Premier Berlusconi has similarly sought P-Noy’s advise but this time on how to attract twenty-something females on less than P500 a day. P-noy’s counsel: 1) Learn to be “bagets”; 2) Take fashion advise from Liz Uy ; and 3) Forget the hair transplant thing.
3. Shalani Soledad and Liz Uy- In opposite but not dissimilar situations, these two women deserve third place for being role models for all Filipinas.
Shalani showed how to behave when dumped by partners who achieve a higher status in life. Rather than wilt like a flower, Shalani moved on to bigger things, co-hosting the popular Willing Willie with Willie Revillame. Willie supported Villar in the May 10 election.
Shalani may lose her standing in the show unless she ups her energy level and/or succumbs to Willie’s advances. No matter, for whatever minutes of fame are still left, Shalani has, by thumbing her nose at the President, showed Filipinas how to be victorious even in adversity.
In somewhat reverse circumstances, Liz Uy is honored for keeping her poise and refusing to date a man old enough to be her father even if he is President of the Philippines. This is amazing in one so young and is testament to her upbringing. She is a model for our younger women many of whom all too often give of themselves for fame and fortune, fleeting as these might be.
4. Rico Puno- Persons of the year are not necessarily ones to be held in high standing. Puno falls in the category of civil servants who in 2010 were so shameless in their behavior as to be highlighted for all that we disdain in public officials. In a record unblemished by accomplishment, Puno showed that it is possible to survive by simply sucking up to one’s boss and shooting partner. Puno could have helped the Presidency by offering to fall on his sword over the botched hostage affair; but that is not the way of the man and for that he deserves a dishonorable mention.
5. The Supreme Court in general and Chief Justice Rene Corona in particular- This group is listed as the fifth Person(s) of the Year not for any singular achievement but for being at the center of the debate on Executive Privilege, Separation of Powers and the role of law in national progress. Some claim the Court is just doing its job as defender of the Constitution. Others say the Court is overly protective of certain persons and not mindful of the greater good. This group believes there is a natural law which supersedes man-made laws, a law that is based on morality and common sense rather than on technicalities; and it is to this natural law that the Court should adhere to on matters of great importance.
So there we are, the top people who in 2010 affected our lives, some in lifting our spirits, some in dampening them, but all in displaying the often not too obvious: That despite the vastness and complexities of our world, mere individuals, some ordinary, some extraordinary, can often make a difference to one’s country whether for good or for bad. For this they deserve recognition .