Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror February 28, 2007  edition, p. A6

Dear Secretary Bunye,

I’ve been going around spreading the gospel.

Yesterday, I went to see an unemployed friend to bring him the good news about the strong peso and the buoyant stock market. I told him we were on the verge of an economic take-off and now was the time to invest. Unfortunately, all he wanted to talk about was the difficulty of finding a job. I asked him for a little patience, as Mrs. Arroyo’s two-pronged strategy to solve the unemployment problem would bear fruit very soon.

Toting, exporting super-maids and having the National Statistics Coordination Board define the term “employed” to include “those who do any work for one hour during the reference period for pay or profit, or work without pay on the farm or business enterprise by a member of the same household related by blood marriage or adoption” will do the trick, right?

Anyway, my friend said he didn’t want to work abroad and leave his family so I suggested applying for a job with a call center. That was stupid of me. My friend has a lisp like you-know-who and a call center job was out of the question for him. All I could do to escape embarrassment was to make light of his disability by cracking, “You can still become president, even with a lisp. All you need ish a shellphone and a Garshi.”

I’m glad my wife picked me up before things became really uncomfortable.

On our way to Makati, while driving along Nueve de Febrero in Mandaluyong, we saw a bunch of children walking home from school. It was past seven p.m. and the missus seemed bothered that those elementary school children finished classes so late. I tried to cheer her up.

I told the missus, “Honey, those kids are the vanguard of our march towards first-world status.” That was a BIG mistake.

The missus punched me and screamed, “Idiot! Those kids have to go to school at night because there are no classrooms for them during the day.”

Dazed from the blow, but still trying to save the day, I told my wife, “Don’t worry honey, Gloria is addressing the problem.”

I thought assuring her that all will be well would end the unpleasantness. Wrong again. She hit me harder and yelled, “What do you mean she’s addressing the problem? She already solved it!”

My head was spinning now and I didn’t realize that smiling and then saying, “See, I told you she would, didn’t I?” would send her over the edge.

She let loose a well-aimed blow at the back of my head and shouted, “Torpe! Instead of building three times as many classrooms and hiring three times as many teachers, she told the Department of Education to count one classroom as three!”

Toting, please tell me Mrs. Arroyo is not like that. Tell me I can trust the Philhealth card she gave me last election to pay the hospital bills I incurred from my wife’s beating.

Keeping the faith,