Nicolas’ ‘rough patch’

Antonio Montalvan II’s column, “The people are not her bosses” (Inquirer, 10/10/11) unfortunately paints an uneven picture of the wangwang-less’ society that this administration has been trying to champion. Kindly allow me the space to explain my side of the story.

I was traveling via Legazpi to our hometown, Sorsogon, accompanied by my two brothers—Pastor Francis, and our older brother who is wheelchair-bound. Before I arrived, he was accorded public assistance by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Authority (Naia) through an earlier request. He was the “sickly” person mentioned in the article. The same assistance may be requested by senior citizens or disabled passengers from the Naia any time.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas has efficient registration desks at both airport terminals for our kababayans who leave the country with immigrant visas and for spouses and partners of foreign nationals. I was assisted by our representative and accorded service by Naia, a normal courtesy extended to Cabinet secretaries, senators and congresspersons.

I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused Montalvan and others. My concern for my wheelchair-bound brother contributed to my lack of sensitivity to the raw nerves of our fellow passengers stuck in long lines at the airport due to the PAL Employees Association (Palea) strike. It was never my intention to be “more entitled than all of them.” It is definitely not in my character and it is not conceivable in my long history of public service “to do… something… behind… the public’s backs.” Like President Aquino, we all want the same wangwang-less society, but sometimes we need to go through some rough patches along the way. This was my rough patch.


chair, Commission on Filipinos Overseas,

Original article.

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