Filipino netizens, hecklers,pundits and honestly patriotic individuals are raising their hackles over how the Philippine tricolor was displayed in the legally mandated wartime red-field-over-blue manner during the 2nd US-ASEAN Leaders Meeting hosted in New York by Pres. Barack Obama.
People are angry over the breach of diplomatic protocol with the blame being leveled on the team of President Noynoy Aquino for failed to spot the error and correct it.
Detractors have, not surprisingly, been quick to pounce on such missteps given the immense popularity of Aquino who trumped his electoral rivals by a wide margin on the back of a promise to rid government of the corruption and widely known opaque governance style of highly unpopular former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The US Embassy in Manila is red-faced for its government:
U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Thompson: "This was an honest mistake. Tthe U.S. treasures its close relationship and close partnership with the Philippines. We will find out how the "unfortunate" incident happened."
DFA spokesman Ed Malaya: "The Philippine government understands that it was an honest error that "should not detract from the true significance of the summit, which showed the unprecedented cooperation between the ASEAN and the U.S."
The snafu aside, methinks the 'inverted flag incident' cannot overshadow immense goodwill for the Philippines generated by Mr. Aquino's week-long official visit which saw Aquino champion the call for "Global People Power" to help attain Millennium Development Goals to fight poverty, push better health and education in the developing world, and sustain much needed development aid.
Both their schedules were tight but Presidents Aquino and Obama still had a one-on-one meeting lasting for 7 minutes on the first visit to America of the new Filipino leader.
Aquino supporters note this is in sharp contrast to how Arroyo vainly tried to have a face-to-face with Obama in the waning days of her rule and had to settle for a session at the State Department with Hillary Clinton.
Arroyo was finally received at the White House just before she stepped down, but with the occasion only an official trip and not a State Visit with all the attendant pomp and pageantry.
Aquino will be coming home with hopes of new job-creating American business investments plus the new release of 434-M dollars aid package from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation which froze its release to the Arroyo regime for failing to meet committed targets.
I've been a journalist all my life and am so passionately in love with the Philippines, warts and all. Our country will really prosper only if we stand up to be counted and not leave it to self-serving politicians and the corrupt to sell out the Philippines. Andres Bonifacio, Jose Rizal, and Ninoy Aquino did their bit. So should we.
Am also at midfield.wordpress.com and www.youtube/dingg458