POSTSCRIPT / December 31, 2015 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Survey says: Pinoy an eternal optimist

AFTER the stroke of a less noisy midnight tonight, Filipinos will welcome the New Year with a big bang of cheer and optimism. And they will hold on to the positive vibes as long as they can.

Surveys say the Filipino, battered he may have been in 2015 by man-made and natural disasters, is still some 90 percent optimistic of what good the incoming year may bring.

Why fret and be fearful? Why allow yourself to drown in dark forebodings? It does not take much effort to stay afloat buoyed by optimism.

Better to allow ourselves to believe the Social Weather Stations survey last Dec. 5-8 showing that 92 percent of adult Filipinos enter 2016 with hope in their hearts – and the other survey, which Pulse Asia did Dec. 4 to 11, saying that 89 percent of Filipinos are still hopeful.

The reality check, which is actually the big challenge, is to rise to the next level, that is, to transform the intangible optimism to concrete action, how to take advantage of the positive possibilities of 2016.

Pessimistic minority sees dark side

ON THE OTHER hand, the 3-percent incurable pessimists dismiss the glorious picture that the optimists insist on imagining. Those who refuse to believe point out that:

• Being a national election year, 2016 will see billions of dirty money being transfused into the money stream, inducing as it circulates a perception of prosperity masked by a false and fleeting façade.

It is false because money changes hands so quickly without much lasting effect on the quality of life of the vast majority. In fact, if the usual authorities do not manage it properly, the sudden money infusion could even pump inflation to unwanted levels.

The “prosperity” is fleeting because the bulk of the political spending will be for propaganda and vote-buying. Much of it will not go into the establishment of businesses and enterprises that could mean more permanent jobs and increased wages.

• Many people are happy with the advent of 2016 because in just six months, President Noynoy Aquino and his fellow on-the-job trainees will be exiting Malacañang after six years of improvising from one crisis to another while blaming others for their blunders.

Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas, carrying the “Daang Matuwid” banner, promises more of the same desultory style of administration. But as only 11 percent of voters surveyed favor or expect Roxas to win, there may be no problem of the nation being stuck with the yellow fever.

(If I may digress, let me quote from a pertinent email I sent the other day in reply to reader Diego Panganiban:

(“I haven’t made a choice yet, but based only on their curriculum vitae it seems to me that the most qualified are Miriam Santiago and Mar Roxas. But then, it is not all a matter of the candidates’ CVs being impressive. At this point, with everything considered, I’m afraid Mar will win the presidency. He has the tremendous advantage of being the administration candidate, although being Aquino’s anointed also has its negative consequences. By saying that Mar is likely to win, however, I’m not implying that I’ll vote for him.”)

• In tight situations, the fatalistic Filipino always says “Bahala na…” referring not to the underworld “Bahala Na” gang but to whoever his god is. Long before the United States minted “In God We Trust” on their money, the Filipino had always trusted in God.

With his undying faith in Bathala, the Filipino is not only eternally optimistic but forever resilient. Amen!

Besides, as the wiseacres would say, with us so down-down, there is no other way but up.

‘Nilalang’ suffers same fate as ‘Honor’

HOW does a movie outfit go around the problem of not having enough of the cartelized theaters willing to show its film production?

This is one of the problems haunting some entries to the Metro Manila Film Festival, notable among them the film “Honor Thy Father” which had managed – thanks to the controversy it has generated — to stay showing in 33 cinemas as of Dec. 30.

The problem was experienced also by Pedring Lopez’s supernatural thriller “Nilalang”, whose predicament was highlighted in the controversial acceptance speech of director Erik Matti deploring what he described as the shabby treatment by theater owners of small, independently produced entries.

Despite winning five MMFF technical awards, including Best Cinematography, “Nilalang” — starring Cesar Montano and former Japanese porn star Maria Ozawa  — is down to three known theaters as of Dec. 30: SM Megamall, Robinsons Galleria and Gateway Cineplex 10.

Welovepost, Haunted Tower Pictures, Parallax Studios and BlackOps posted on Facebook last Monday when the film still had six remaining theaters: “Our movie was pulled out from 34 theaters after only the first day of showing. From 40 theaters on opening day (Dec. 25), the number of theaters showing ‘Nilalang’ was whittled down to only 16 theaters on Dec. 26.”

The producers had high hopes for the film after it swept the technical awards in the filmfest: Best Cinematography (Pao Orendain), Best Editing (Jason Cahapay), Best Visual Effects (Pedro Chuidian and Rommel Pambid), Best Sound Design (Ditoy Aguila), and Best Musical Score (Jessie Lasaten).

But the commercial fate of festival entries, regardless of merit, seems to be locked in the vise grip of the theater owners. If a film is not being shown, how can it be viewed and appreciated by the public?

(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 31, 2015)

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