‘Bayan Ko’ goes from strength to strength


NACINO. Portrays inspiring political drama’s principled young mayor.

When we watched the premiere episode of “Bayan Ko” on the GMA News Channel, we wrote glowingly about it, categorically citing it as the best TV drama in town. Privately, however, we fretted that, as usually happens in these parts, the hard-hitting political drama could end up being watered down, or losing its firm focus, or resting on its laurels.

Happily, as we watched the series from week to week, our fears proved to be unmerited. The show tackled various aspects of local politics’ endemic culture of corruption, abuse and incompetence, rising to its climax with a feistily detailed look into log smuggling—and a terrible flood!

We’re told that the series could be winding up its storytelling this week, so be sure to catch it tomorrow night to see what all the well-deserved fuss, furor and clamor for more is all about!

The show’s artistic and thematic vigor and pertinence have done wonders for the career of lead star, Rocco Nacino, who used to be just another promising starlet.

Instead of revealing his limitations, the challenge pressured Rocco to measure up to his difficult role as a principled young mayor—and he has succeeded beyond expectations.

It would have been easy for him to come up with the standard “inspiring” portrayal, but Nacino chose the tougher route of going into the nitty-gritty—and “earning” his character’s inspirational cachet.

Success story

“Bayan Ko” is also a success story for director Adolf Alix Jr. Adolf was one of our workshoppers when he was still a teenager, so we’ve kept an eye on his career through the years.

He always did good work, but we occasionally fretted that he was becoming too “experimental” for comfort, particularly when he would slow down his storytelling and go in for arty, excessive and self-conscious “detailing.”

In “Bayan Ko,” however, Adolf does none of that, and the strengths of his staging and storytelling convincingly shine through.

We can even say that “Bayan Ko” marks the emergence of Adolf as a maturing TV-film artist, and we hope that he sticks to this powerfully communicative and naturally empathetic writing and directing style from here on in!

“Bayan Ko” has other strengths, like the performances of its other leads, so we hope that GMA heeds our request to air the series again on GMA 7, even at a late hour, so that many more viewers can benefit from its unblinking depiction of patronage politics, Philippine-style.

Even better, after the elections, GMA should continue telling the story of the series’ principled young mayor, as he faces more confounding challenges in his effort to prove that genuine public service is not an impossible dream!

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  • Monsi Serrano

    Bayan Ko depicts a “reale sitz im leiben” (real situation in life) as Germans would say. The abuses are so real esp. in our country. I hope there would be more thought provoking TV drama that tackles society’s chronic malady, esp. on corruption and abuse of power amongst politicians. I always believe that there would be sincere leaders out there, but it is time for the voters to choose the truly new breeds, not those who will just continue to stay in power.

    When I started the group Stop Corruption Philippines in Facebook, just like you, I was sick and tired of corruption going on in the country. I invited some friends from all walks of life in the group. They are my colleagues in the media, local and national politicians, police officers, doctors, nurses, fashion designers, businessmen, youth, students, immigrants, OFWs, retired professionals, foreigner friends who love our country and decided to live here for good and many more. For sure, they share the same frustration about corruption and the intense desire to combat our country’s social malady that has been metastasizing for so many years now not only in the government but also in other sectors.

    Now, let me focus on an important upcoming event – the election on May 13. Again, we will be electing new sets of politicians both in the local and national level with a hope that our country will improve significantly under their leadership. Unfortunately, a lot of those running who say they will make our lives better are the same individuals who’ve spent a whole career in politics on empty promises. Are we to elect them again or the ones in their families to whom they’ve passed on the torch of ineptitude? What have we gotten out of electing someone with a familiar surname? Oftentimes, none. Wala. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Kaput.

    I remember when someone emailed me asking who I think should we vote for and I said, “Let’s try the new breed of politicians.” While I have nothing against those who have proven themselves to be worthy of being nominated again and whose parents’ legacy to the country is beyond reproach (Jun Magsaysay, Dick Gordon, Koko Pimentel) I will not hesitate to give them another chance. But those who lied, abused their position during their time and whose character is highly questionable, they don’t deserve an iota of chance to serve even in the barangay level.

    It is disturbing to see candidates resorting to the most pathetic gimmickry like fabricating wife-beater stories and having that trash reported on the six o’clock news. The accuser – despite being refuted by the alleged battered wife – showed no remorse in his false finger-pointing. In fact, just last Sunday in a TV program he was asked if he stood by his allegation and he said “yes.”

    Another candidate, the daughter of an ultra big politician, climbs up the stage to with even bigger zest for a senatorial seat – notwithstanding the fact she lacks experience in taking such a high post in Congress. Claiming to be the assistant of her father in the Republic of Makati when he was mayor, she thinks the Senate is hers for the taking while she’s not even qualified to run for barangay kagawad. I was asked: “How come she’s been shying away from debates?” My reply: “She’s Air Force – 99-percent air and 1-percent force.” No pun intended for our chivalrous airmen.

    As time ticks closer to the May 13 polls, so many voters are still undecided and confused on whether or not to believe what they see and hear on TV and radio campaign ads. If you ask me, they’re all too good to be true.

    In my mind, these are the simple guidelines in choosing the right candidates. First, if their names “ring a bell,” check the track record of those who served before him/her. They must be clean of corruption, lies and deceit. When you Google the track record of their parents, it is not just what projects they want to flaunt but what crimes they wanted to hide. Why take chances on the children of corrupt officials? Remember that a fruit never falls far from the tree.

    Second, if they are new, check also their past. Not all new candidates are good. I remember one of the new senatorial candidates lied through his teeth when he said he was not expelled from Ang Buhay Partylist where he used to be the Sectoral Representative. He even corrected the host that her statement was untrue. But before terminating the show, the TV network was smart enough to prove that the candidate lied and presented the actual video clip of the candidate before wherein it was proven that this new candidate lied despite that the TV show was aired nationwide. If he did that on TV, how likely would he do the same, lying to the people he is courting for a vote?

    Lastly, ensure that the candidate has clear, practical and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) programs for us especially to those who have less. If the programs sound like “pie in the sky” and “too good to be true”, then we can safely conclude thatthey are not true!

    For instance, one of the candidates said that he wanted to have free education for everyone. That sounds good, but the question is why he did not pass a law on free education during his stint as congressman. And why not bring back the old State universities’ practice to give priority to the poor (based on ITR) instead of the rich and influential people who are enrolled in the State Universities like UP and PUP. UP is no longer a school for poor but deserving students. Now, you see a lot of cars parked along UP owned by moneyed students. They are stealing the opportunity for quality education from the poor. Another candidate promises capital for everyone to jumpstart a business. Where would the capital for the people come from? If this will be given free, then we are not helping the people to dream anymore and work hard. On the contrary, we are helping them to be social parasites and will always wait for the manna to fall from heaven. That’s pathetic. If politicians want to alleviate poverty, they are not supposed to give fish, instead teach people how to fish.

    For the new breed of politicians I would like to see in the Senate Messrs. JC Delos Reyes, Lito David, Ricky Penson, Mars Llasos and Samson Alcantara. Don’t get me wrong that I am a chauvinist pig. It just so happens that they are all men. They may be new and untested, but as I see them, they are not just willing and able candidates but also lesser evil than the “other” new ones who were only taught by their parents to learn that absolute power corrupts absolutely by continuing the posts they vacated for one reason or the other. I don’t go also for theocrats, who brandish their faith and say, “God told me to run” and be the instruments of change that our country need. For sure, they opted to ignore the separation of the Church and State because they are jaded by their eagerness to serve both God and Mammon.

    Truly, it’s time to change, and may the changes that we envision to happen really take us to where the Philippines ought to be and eventually regain the old glory and respect of the global community that we once had back in the olden days. As Walt Disney said: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

  • Jocelyn Bong Dimalanta Alvarez

    Bayan Ko successfully delivered the message it wanted to impart to the viewers.

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