POSTSCRIPT / January 16, 2000 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Crocs at budget office bite 5% off contractors

REMEMBER that moving story of an innocent boy (Postscript, 23May1999) who lost a sister in a road accident and was about to lose his mother? Here’s a story of another boy who’s gaining a kid sister:

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her three-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mommy’s tummy.

He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her. The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist church in Morrisontown, Tn.

In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three…every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required?

Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knoxville, Tn.

The days inched by. The little girl’s condition got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents, “There is very little hope… be prepared for the worst.”

Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby, but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.

Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his little sister. “I want to sing to her,” he kept saying.

Week 2 in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care.

Karen made up her mind, though. She would take Michael whether they liked it or not! If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket.

But the head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, “Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed.”

The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse’s face, her lips a firm line. “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister.”

Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bed. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began to sing. In the preheated voice of a three- year-old, Michael sang: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray….”

The baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady. “Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.

“You never know, dear, how much I love you,” he sang on. “Please don’t take my sunshine away….”

As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr. “Keep on singing, Sweetheart!!!!”

“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms….” Michael went on. His little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her.

“Keep on singing, Michael!” Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed, “You are my sunshine, my only Sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away….”

The next day, the very next day, the little girl was well enough to go home. Woman’s Day magazine called it “The Miracle of a Brother’s Song.” The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God’s Love!

Never give up on the people you love. Love is so incredibly powerful!

* * *

THE reader might want to forward this story, taken from the Internet, with the short prayer below, to friends and relatives, especially to people who have touched his life in some way. Love is life. Life is good.

Let’s continue to pray for one another: May today there be peace within you. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing that you are a child of God. Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, and to bask in the sun. It is there for each and every one of us.

Be a witness to the awesome power of prayer. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13

* * *

SOME bureaucrats must be worried over the seeming instability, or the possibility that Mr. Estrada might prematurely give up or lose the presidency. Apparently, they are frantically making hay while he’s still around.

Some public works contractors are complaining that some people in the Department of Budget and Management are now demanding a cut of five percent for the issuance of a contractor’s Special Allotment Release Order (SARO), the paper assigning a project’s account number that sets the ball rolling.

Considering that public works contracts run to some P35 billion yearly, you can imagine how much money changes hands. And this is just public works, and just the Department of Budget and Management.

The delay in the release of payments for contractors contributes to the slow completion of public works projects.

* * *

AT the Tutuban station, bingo players are still talking of that unusual game some weeks back where the same number, I-29, was drawn twice!

How does one explain why that number was favored with a double probability of being drawn in the same game? The lame excuse given was that when the 75 bingo numbers were previously cleared out of the drum, number I-29 was inadvertently left inside.

The incident leaves one wondering how honest are bingo and other forms of organized gambling that the government has institutionalized to mop up whatever money the masses still have.

Caught between the church and the state, the poor citizen dreaming of deliverance from poverty is reduced to resorting to either dasalor sugal (prayer or gambling).

* * *

WE now continue sharing excerpts from the responses of Postscript readers to our survey question “What are the three main reasons for the drop to five percent of the net approval rating of President Estrada in the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations?”

To recap, the top three reasons given for the drop in Mr. Estrada’s poll rating were: (1) Erap’s not being ready for the presidency/ mismanagement/ incompetence, 18 percent of responses; (2) Cronyism/influence-peddling by relatives, 15 percent; and (3) Criticisms by media, 11 percent.

Other reasons given in descending order of frequency: (4) Insistence on Concord, 10 percent; (5) Broken presidential promises, 8 percent; (6) Bungling Cabinet men, advisers, barkada, 7 percent; (7) urong-sulong, fickle-mindedness, yoyo decisions, 7 percent; (8) Graft and corruption, 6 percent; (9) Church attacks on Erap, 4 percent; and (10) Attacks from the Left and the Right (including opposition and former officials), 4 percent. These responses add up to only 90 percent, because we left out the other responses after the top 10 reasons.

* * *

FROM Dr. Gerardo S. Perlas Jr. using Netscape: It is not fair for Erap to receive so many criticisms. Every person has a talent and limitations. Erap’s talent is in the movies and this should be acknowledged properly. He is a legend as a great actor. If only we could give him a graceful exit from the presidency, he might resign. This is the most basic and best permanent solution of the problem.

Lourdes Cruz Matters using aol address: The reason for the drop and continuing drop is that people now know that Erap is incompetent and inept. Worse, that he is immoral.

Nathan H. Montenegro, 37, 78 Roxas St., Bayambang, Pangasinan: The masa has discovered Erap is all showbiz.

GMJ, 48, using skyinet address: Erap is not macho, he is a masochist – shoots himself in the foot, puts his foot in his mouth, then to top it all, he mouths all the advice of his drinking cronies.

Benson So using aol address sums it up in 5 C’s: Concord, Corruption, Cronyism, Choice of his Cabinet members, and his Competence or lack of it.

Samuel Dizon, Cubao, Quezon City: The main reason is corruption. Most people, especially here in Metro Maila, view the Erap government as a government of rackets. Presidential friends, cronies, barkadas, relatives and drinking buddies seem to be engaged in all types of rackets from smuggling to stock market manipulations. The second reason is the administration’s inability to make the country progress.

Dr. Alma Rosario B. Alambra, 37, using hotmail address: Why President Erap’s rating took a dive: (1) No developmental plan for the country. He rules in an “urong-sulong” style. In the movies they follow a script. President Erap should have a blueprint for the country to guide him. (2) Insensitivity to the thoughts/ opinion of the majority. (3) Preference for close friends/ buddies/ relatives.

More readers’ responses next time. 

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of January 16, 2000)

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