Aquino snubs new Thai PM

IT APPEARS that President Aquino has snubbed Yingluck Shinawatra, the youngest sister of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, on her recent election as the first-ever female prime minister in Thailand.

Early this month, Yingluck has been officially inaugurated as Thailand’s prime minister, joining the growing list of female leaders who shattered the proverbial glass ceiling of the stereotypically male-dominated politics.

Her meteoric rise to power is indeed one for the book. She is also said to be today’s world’s youngest prime minister. In fact, she topped Time Magazine’s list of 12 female leaders in the world who made it to the highest political position in their countries.

But unlike world leaders, including US President Obama, Aquino has not called up to congratulate – or written a pour féliciter communication to – Yingluck for her electoral victory.  Not at least that we know of, considering that the Philippines prides itself of its deep and strong relations with Thailand in the region.

As of 2010, there are about 14,910 Filipinos working and residing in Thailand. Thailand is also the fourth most popular desti-nation for OFWs in the region, after Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.

Aquino has more reason to know the youthful and good-looking Yingluck.  More than two decades ago, the President’s mother, the late Corazon Aquino, was showered with all congratulations from around the world for being the first woman to assume the presidency. Like Cory, Yingluck also invaded the role stereotypically assumed by male.

At the age of 44, Yingluck entered the campaign in just seven weeks ahead of the elections. Before entering politics, she used to work at the mobile phone and property business companies her brother founded.

Both Aquino and Yingluck are from a political family. Their respective rise to power is due to popularity of their family’s political clout. The good thing is that both are perceived to be “outsider” in politics.

The story of women leaders’ rise to power is nothing new. We too had our share of two female leaders – one popular and the other was once credited for making the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos an instant saint.

But this should not discourage us from taking pride in the election of another female president.  Besides, the best test of presidential greatness is on his/her character.

As a good neighbor to Thailand, we should never miss – even belatedly – the opportunity to send a congratulatory note to Yingluck.  Her election should be a source of pride and inspiration to all!


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