Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Okay! Okay! The government is a mess. The economy is down. The poor are poorer. People have to leave the Country to find work. There is low intensive war in Mindanao. Luzon has been much damaged by climate change. Visayas is fast becoming the Vatican of jueteng. There is more criminality in number and degree. There are many other bad news, all right. But there is also one big edifying and consoling good news that begs to be duly noted and accordingly appreciated.

The good news herein brought to attention is the following: The more and more ordinary and even customary use of the very respectful “Po” not only when the young address the elderly but also when the elders talk to one another. The same is at times true even when elderly individuals speak with younger persons. This is not to mention the more and more usage of the terms “Kuya” and “Ate” when young people address somehow older people, strangers even – though they are in no way related either by blood of affinity, and although they may have met the first time, without this being foreseen to be followed by any other encounter.

This is certainly not to say that such observance of respect either resolves any national problem or puts to rest any social malady in this Country. It only says that the virtue of respect and the observance of deference appear to be gaining grounds in Filipino personal inter-relationship. And this is one good if not great news. Let it be noted that “Ho” being also a sign of respect but of a lower kind and degree, is however used less frequently in the above said circumstances. In the said person-to-person communications, “Ho” would be enough. Yet “Po” is preferred.

To validate this good news easier and better, it is enough to listen to conversations not only at home but also in stores, in jeeps and buses – but specially so in radio and television programs. In these instances, the frequent use of “Po” has already become expected and ordinary such that it is not even noticed as a rule. But when one intentionally and attentively listens precisely in order to take notice thereof, then it becomes interesting how “Po” is repeatedly said – as a matter of respect and as a matter of course.

”Diyos ko po! “Nanay ko po!” “Naku po!” These are some of the more common expressions that amply say the dignity and gravity attached to “Po”. The first calls upon God himself with certain urgency. The second invokes motherhood with a given gravity. The third is an expression of some kind of an emergency. It thus amply shows that “Po” is superlative respect in mind, feeling and consequent use. And the more Filipinos use it, the more respectable and respected they become. By the way, the English expression and modern use of “Sir” and “Ma’am” to show deference, are minimal in significance and implication compared to the Filipino expression and use of “Po”.

Okay! Okay! What’s so great about it? Will “Po” bring food to empty tables? Will it enrich the poor? Will it provide education for the children and work for the adults. Answer: Of course not. Reason: It is not meant for such purposes. Note: Respect affirms human dignity, ennobles human conversion, inspires human interaction. Sayang naman po kung ang “Po” ay mawawala pa rin po sa ating pong pag-uusap!

October 28, 2009