What I've Learned

Winnie Monsod

"You get the government you deserve."
IMAGE Joseph Pascual
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This piece originally appeared in our February 2013 issue.

I’m very sad that the religious hierarchy takes the RH bill issue as a life-or-death situation. It’s a life situation!

The Catholic Church is not a homogenous institution. They keep on saying vox pupuli, vox dei. But babes, the people have spoken!

The people are divided because they don’t have information—or they don’t know what they are talking about!

I’m an avid student of poverty.

The elite refuse to understand the poverty situation as empirically shown. They like to depend on anecdotes. It’s so clear that asset reform is absolutely necessary—not merely from a standpoint of equity, but also of efficiency.

I’ve always operated on evidence. I took up economics because my mother took me to a guidance counselor, who told me I had an aptitude for the social sciences. Then I focused on economics.

My father was a journalist who was an ardent admirer of Jose Rizal. That’s how I learned that Rizal never retracted.

I am a Catholic by choice. I was raised in the Protestant faith. My maternal grandfather became an Anglican after his sister was raped by a Catholic priest.

My husband-to-be was ecstatic when he found out I would become a Catholic. He had never tried to say “you gotta be Catholic if you want to marry me.” That wouldn’t have worked very well.

I look at the Church with love, but also with an objective eye. It’s a human institution, after all. I go to church everyday. I shake my head when they start talking against the RH bill.

When I was studying in the US, I had absolutely no intention to stay there. If you want your country to improve, then you better help it. You can’t do it from afar. I’m not asking it of everybody. I’m asking it of people for whom the country has sacrificed.

Evidence-based decisions are always the best.

I like teaching because I want to make sure I catch them before cynicism sets in.

You get the government you deserve.

I learned from the elections that you need money. You need to have an irresistible message. My message wasn’t sexy enough. But you just need to push that message.

It’s not a question of optimism. If you want this country to succeed, you gotta just do everything to help.

The price of liberty is vigilance, baby!

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Sarge Lacuesta
Editor at Large, Esquire Philippines
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