MANILA, Philippines – TV talk show host Boy Abunda on Wednesday said he was hurt by insinuations that an entertainer like himself is unfit to join the Cabinet of incoming President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Speaking on Showbiz News Ngayon (SNN) on Wednesday, Abunda said he was offended by comments saying entertainers are not qualified to become high-ranking government officials.
Aquino earlier said he was considering Abunda as his tourism secretary. (Click here for story.)
“At ngayon araw po, lumabas ang balita, at dito po ako medyo napipikon, sasabihin ko po sa inyo ang totoo. Kahit sinabi ko na po that I am inclined to decline two days ago, kung sakasakaling bigyan ako ng offer. Si Boy Abunda ay hindi inooffer, ay hindi tatanggapin dapat ang offer ng Secretary of Department of Tourism dahil siya ay hindi marketing man, dahil siya ay hindi abugado at he is just an entertainer.
“I take offense, sasabihin ko po iyan. I am an entertainer but I am not just an entertainer. Dahil gusto ko pong malaman ng mga taong nagsasalita na hindi po madali ang aming ginagawa. Ang puhunan po namin ay utak, puso, pawis, dugo, and to do what we do is not easy. This is not an easy job. And yes, I am proudly an entertainer,” he said.
Selling the Philippines
Abunda pointed out that a major task of the head of the Department of Tourism (DoT) is to sell the Philippines’ entertainment attractions, which includes its rich cultural heritage.
“Sa mga nagtatrabaho sa Department of Tourism, this is what you’re missing out. A large part of the job of the Department of Tourism actually is to sell the entertainment angle of this country.
“It’s entertainment that should draw so many people around the world to come to this country, entertainment in the form of food, national heritage, dance, destinations….It is also entertainment that should convince locals to travel around the country.”
Abunda also said he was not ashamed of his job, and that, in fact, he was proud to be an entertainer.
“I am just an entertainer. I am a serious entertainer. At ikinararangal ko po maging isang entertainer,” he said.
He thanked president-apparent Aquino for considering him to be tourism secretary.
Not financially ready
However, he said he was not financially ready to join government.
“Nais ko lamang malaman ninyo na naiintidihan ko po that when one is given the chance to serve in government, to occupy a government post, dapat kayo po ay intellectually ready, dapat emotionally ready, at financially ready.
“Intellectually ready, we can debate about it, it’s debatable. Emotionally ready, it’s judgment call. You know yourselves, you know when you are emotionally ready for some things.
“Financially ready, mga kaibigan, hindi po ako financially ready. Matagal na po akong nagtatrabaho dito sa industriyang ito. Nakaipon na po ng kaunti para sa komportableng buhay ng Nanay, ako at ng aking kapatid at ang aming maliit na pamilya. If I lose my job tomorrow, hindi po ako magsisinungaling, I am OK.
“Pero kung ako’y papasok po sa isang government post, wala po akong perang gagastusin pang-araw-araw. Kaya sinasabi ko po, I am not financially ready because I need a few years para mag-ipon. Sakasakali kung ako’y magdesisyon to join government, meron po akong disposable income ika nga.”
Abunda also said he was still happy working in the entertainment industry, so he would rather not join government yet.
“Mga Kapamilya, mga kaibigan, I am happiest where I am right now. I cannot complain. I am happiest in the entertainment industry. I am blessed with a wonderful career. To get where I am today, kahit maliit po ang espasyong ito, was not easy. It was a difficult journey, pinaghirapan ko po ito,” he said.
He also clarified that Aquino has not made him a formal offer to join his Cabinet, so there is nothing to either accept or reject.
Will honor contract with ABS-CBN
Abunda also said he was not ready to join government since he still has a contract to honor with ABS-CBN, which expires in 2011.
“At ngayon kung tatanungin n’yo po ako, bakit nahihirapan po akong magdesisyon, halimbawa kung sakasakali mang may offer. There are contracts to be fulfilled there are commitments to be fulfilled, there are talents to be discovered, there are talk shows to be produced, there are studies to be finished. Ang dami ko pa pong trabahong gagawin. Isa po ‘yan sa mga dahilan.
“Nagsasara po ba akong pintuan? Am I closing my doors? I have a contract in ABS-CBN that I’d like to honor that will last until the end of 2011. I will respect and honor that contract.
“Am I interested, am I closing my doors? I’m not closing my doors. But is that gonna happen now? No, it is not going to happen now. So doon po sa mga nagsasabing hindi ko dapat tanggapin or tanggapin ko, sinabi ko na po, no, I am not going to take the offer. Ang mga dahilan ay sinabi ko na po lahat sa inyo ngayon gabi.”
As a private citizen and friend of the Aquino family, Abunda said he is able to tell Aquino his ideas on various issues, and he would like this kind of relationship to continue.
“What is my relationship po with Noy Aquino? Alam n’yo po mga kaibigan, I’m able to write him memos, I’m able to write him short notes, I’m able to say and express things to him about matters that are relevant to the presidency, matters that are relevant to the country. Maraming bagay po.
“Ang iba ay kanyang binabasa, pinasasalamatan niya po ako. Ang iba naman po ay siguro narinig na rin po niya sa iba.
I would like to be able to continue serving my future president by being able to tell him honestly, without bias without agenda, political and personal interest. And to me that is the best place in the world today. I don’t want to change it.”
Abunda said those interested in becoming secretary of tourism should not worry since he is not yet prepared to accept a government job.
“Ok. Babalikan ko po ang tanong. Hypothetical. If and when I am offered the post of Secretary of Tourism, will I accept? The answer is no. Doon sa mga interesado sa posisyon, makakatulog na po kayo ng mahimbing.”