It may be that it is easier to absorb information and store it somewhere in our brains if certain memory aids are available.
It is easier to work through the history of an event or the evolution of a product by attributing sponsorship or development to a single person or group.
Thus we say, such and such is the father of this industry, yet another fellow is the mother of this cause. This individual is the personification of all virtue. The tags and the generalizations make the stories easier to tell, their brands easier to sell.
For example, presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II likes to go around telling anyone who would listen that he was responsible for the birth and subsequent growth of the business process outsourcing industry in the country. He claims he is the father of the sector.
Roxas served in various capacities in past administrations, but it was his stint as Secretary of Trade and Industry under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo he likes to remember best.
He recalls that in the beginning, people laughed at him upon the mention of BPO because just a few knew what it meant. Now, he boasts, it is an industry of one million jobs.
Indeed the growth of the BPO sector not just in Metro Manila but in other areas in the country has generated valuable employment and boosted personal consumption, driving the economy.
But for Roxas to claim that he is responsible for all this is a bit of a stretch, as an industry pioneer lately remarked.
The man who led the IT and Business Process Outsourcing Association of the Philippines from 2007 to 2011 said credit should go instead to Arroyo because Roxas served only briefly at the DTI, at a time when there were only 2,400 jobs in the sector.
The industry grew 65 percent every year until 2009, the last full year of Mrs. Arroyo’s term, and at a time when Roxas was already too preoccupied with being a politician.
The IT pioneer would know better, of course, but even the attribution to the former president could be arguable. The success of the BPO industry was the result of a collective effort from people in government and business, as well as the early workers who gave it a good name.
Filipinos should be suspicious of tags like “father” or “mother” or anything similar. This is downright insulting because those who claim this assume that the people do not have the capacity to see through their false or exaggerated claims.