Sunday, October 10, 2010

President Noynoy Aquino First 100 Days

It was President Noynoy Aquino's first 100 days last October 5, 2010. He had his speech and "Report to the Boss" at La Consolacion College Auditorium in Manila. After his speech, the program allowed different Filipinos from all over the country, even overseas to ask a question to the President about his plans related and other issues which concerns their provinces and regions.

It was an informative program, with the President mentioning his administration's accomplishments in less than four months and other projects in line for the coming days, months and years. His speech was applauded several times and the viewers can see that the audience was satisfied with his speech. In the middle of the program, during the question and answer part, several UP Manila students stood up, held bond paper sized placards and shouted their criticisms on the present government's plans on limiting the budget allocation for education.

UP students are known for years to be activists and militants of current administrations. Together with Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), these schools are training grounds for students who are passionate about their beliefs in politics. They are introduced to organizations who are headed by activists or members of political groups who usually go to the streets and show to the public their protest actions. The Philippines is a democratic country and the government exercise maximum tolerance to protest actions because they believe it is every Filipino's right to express his opinions and beliefs to issues that directly affect his life and the lives of his fellow Filipinos. Personally, I had a block mate before in UP Diliman who was so passionate about politics that he decided to skip his classes and instead join an organization who are known to have protest actions to any current political issue.

It was both good and bad that the students were able to get the attention of the President and all other public officials involved but I would say this time it was really premature. If you analyze the situation, 100 days is a very short time to make changes which could make a difference to the country's situation economically. In about 3 months, the present government had exposed a lot of anomalies with regards to the use of millions of government funds to give unreasonable salaries to Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), the president had a trip to the US and got a millions of grants (not loans) to fund projects in the provinces and invited investors to give jobs to Filipinos. It may not be a big accomplishment, but these things can be a start of something good for the country. We may be a democratic country but we must give the present administration a chance to prove themselves and fulfill their promises made during the election period. 100 days is very short time to give criticisms, judge performances or even go to the streets and blame poverty to the present administration. I would say give Noynoy a year or two and see his accomplishments and then make it a point to inform him and his cabinet members issues that are not given priorities.

Actually, asking the President programs and plans for a certain city or province is like barking at the wrong tree. Each province has a governor, each city or town has a mayor and each district has a congressman. These people control millions of pesos in their annual budget and it is their priority to uplift the situation of their constituents and improve the economic value of their city, town or province. Even here in Metro Manila, you could see which cities are performing good and who are the mayors who use public funds to improve their city or just putting them inside their pockets. For example, Quezon City and Makati, both prime locations for residential and commercial establishments. Can you compare the business districts of both cities? How about slum and squatter areas for both cities? Did both previous mayors bragged about their accomplishments or did the progress of their cities came from private investors and not from the local government? How about the provinces? Which mayors and governors did their jobs? Can you compare the province of Davao to Samar? How about the Negros province compared to Mindoro? Palawan and Bicol? Ilocos and Isabela? Were pork barrels of congressmen used for progress or just for mansions and other properties abroad?

The Philippines need time to recover from the economic turmoil the Arroyo and Estrada administration gave us. The Estrada had 2 years and Arroyo 9 years. That is a total of 11 years. How could you fix it in 100 days? It is like asking a farmer to plant rice in hectares of barren land in a span of 24 hours. Or asking a janitor to mop and wax the floor of a basketball court in 3 minutes. We need time and patience. Sadly Filipinos are known to be very impatient. It is our major flaw and it is one of the reasons why until now, we are a third-world country with a very big population.

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