For 25 months now, I, with the rest of the 90 million Filipinos, have been in eager anticipation of changes, hoping against hope really, that the promises made by the President to the Filipino people and his supporters will be fulfilled or will see its beginning at this time already. But the prospects have been really gloomy these past few months. A thing that the President, of course, wouldn’t admit. Right from the start, I have had negative feelings towards this leadership and I wanted so badly to be proven wrong.
Just a few days ago, President Noynoy Aquino delivered his third State of the Nation’s Address. I had a bit of an idea that the President will blame the previous administration and people will still be clapping their hands. Like his first two SONAs and countless campaign speeches before that, it was, as usual, full of unrealistic claims and empty promises, pondering to popular sentiments and engaging in mudslinging. Can anyone tell the President that he doesn’t need to be in campaign mode anymore?
I have to give him credits, though, for using the Filipino language, the personal approach, the timely pauses and voice modulation, the book-worthy statements and the (not-so-funny) jokes when he delivered his speech. PNoy did present the nation with a stable account of his administration’s accomplishments (sprinkled with slideshows and interview footages to make him credible) but if you listened close enough, you’d realize that there was nothing in the President’s one-and-a-half hours of speech (one of the longest speeches post-Martial Law) that showed measures that will distinguish him from the Presidents before him (read: what he can call his “own”).
He started his speech with what else, his sob story. Honestly, I’m just so sick and tired of that and probably everyone else will agree with me. I can’t even count on my fingers how many times the President told us “his MMK-worth life story” since 2009. I mean, come on, can he just stop shoving that down our throats? I’ve heard that story over and over again and it’s quite an overkill.
Moving on, there were points in his speech that were worthy of praises (the improved and still improving tourism sector, the construction of more decent infrastructures, the upgrade on our military facilities and equipment, the plans for rice self-sufficiency next year) but he failed to push some aspects better.
For instance, PNoy was already on the topic of education and that encouraging bit when he mentioned “responsible parenthood” (that got a thunderous applause and even a standing ovation from about 1/3 of the audience) but what happened to any mention of the Reproductive Health Bill. Saying “Perhaps Responsible Parenthood can help address this” is different from saying “we need to pass the Reproductive Health Bill the soonest possible time”. I am pleased that PNoy voiced out his support for the RH Bill but he need to back it up with political will. He needs to walk the talk. He needs to have the balls, iron balls.
In the end of his speech, he mentioned “sa bawat atletang Pilipinong bitbit ang watawat saan mang panig ng mundo” yet he failed to present concrete plans for Philippine sports. He didn’t even send any good luck messages to the 11-brave hearted Filipino athletes who are on their quest to capture our first ever Olympic gold medal. The dictates of good rhetoric would have eventually lead him there, and yet, nada. The President also seems to forgot to thank our Overseas Filipino Workers who last year brought a staggering $23 billion and kept the economy afloat during the bad times. He also forgot to mention that the BPO industry flourished much during the Arroyo administration but by some bizarre incidence he have made it look like it’s a recent development, implying that it happened during his stint as President.
Of course, the President didn’t fail to boast about his fight against corruption which biggest “achievement” so far is the ousting of the ex-Chief Justice Corona. Never mind if the 5 month-long “trial by publicity” didn’t even prove that CJ Corona was corrupt. Never mind if the prosecution team violated a lot of laws, when I say a lot, it’s really a lot, in their desperation to convict Corona. Never mind how those falsified evidences illegally made their way to the hallways of the Senate. A question I have always in mind and would shout at his face if given the chance, "where’s the matuwid na daan you`re bragging about"?
It pains me to see that the conqueror of the “tuwid na daan” which he claims himself to be is very eager to get rid of everyone associated with the previous administration but is doing nothing to correct the blunders of his appointees. I could forgive Noynoy for being incompetent. After all, he’s already the President and that’s democracy at work. However, he should have at least competent people working for him. The problem is, at this moment, he is surrounded by lightweight people left and right. And instead of doing the right thing and bypass these guys, he let them all pass and, sometimes, even justified their mediocrity. It’s no wonder why this administration is gaining notoriety for its inability (or refusal) to fire people other than the ex-Chief Justice. And to think how the President continuously persisted to hound the Chief Justice until the end of time and that when he’s already fired, the President is still making cheap tirades against him. If that’s not arrogance, I don’t know what it is.
And I thought Noynoy is for a corrupt-free government? I’m not happy to report that incompetence is the same as corruption. The only difference is that the money spent goes nowhere. Apparently, Noynoy is not taking the fight against corruption as personally as he likes to think.
He is trying to be different from Gloria by changing whatever reminded him of the Arroyo administration. Not that I’m an anti-PNoy or anything, I do recognize his effort for trying to be better than Gloria. But the facts are simple, he are unnecessarily changing what already works and thus causing the government to spend extra. In his speech, he said something like (am paraphrasing) “we have done in two years, what the former administration was unable to do in nine years”. I’m not a pro-Gloria but man, he must give credit where credit is due. Well, blinded by rage or possibly other motives, he probably didn’t see it. Or didn’t want to. A true leader must not only show where a rival went wrong or where she could have done better. A true leader must have the humility to accept that his rival has also done good things for the country and this should be done regardless of personal beliefs and political affiliations.
The only saving grace PNoy has for now is that he’s still popular, though not as popular as before but popular nonetheless, based on surveys whose reliability and validity I have already put in question. But soon, if he doesn’t get his acts together, these people who he considers friends now will be the same people who will oust him in power. Well, history kind of repeats itself you know.
So for his second year, I’ll give him a 7/10. So-so. Mediocre. Just the kind of performance you would expect from someone who was untested in executive work and as far as I was (and still is) concerned, lacking in vision and direction. But in credits to him, his 2011 was miles better than the suckfest that was 2010.
On the relatively brighter side, I don’t want to end this on a bad note of course, he still has four more years to prove his worth, four more years to stay to true to his promises. And while I’m not going to be holding my breath waiting for complete changes to take place in his stint as President, well, there’s always hope. I just don’t know when that hope is gonna end or if it gonna even last. Or maybe it doesn’t exist in the first place.