How does Aquino fare?

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III delivers his message during the Oathtaking of new members of the Liberal P …

A president’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) revolves, as it should be, on the current national situation, as seen from the vantage point of the leader of the nation. In the same breath, it is a statement of the president’s intentions on what he will do about it.

However, often it is also a measure of a president’s performance in the past year since the last SONA or even before, to the beginning of his term or to the promises he made as a candidate. In this light, what he tells the nation is as much a gauge as the silence on issues the rest of the nation sees as important.
How does the Aquino government fare thus far?

In March 2010, I made the following observations of the possible Aquino government the then-candidate Aquino promises to establish:

“The reform agenda is clearly with the Noynoy Aquino presidency.  Anti-corruption and clean government is his main campaign slogan, his political base expects it of his administration, and the Aquino legacy poses a challenge for emulation.”

“An Aquino administration is expected to erase the various excesses of the Arroyo administration, rebuild and strengthen democracy, and should provide a stable policy environment for business. However, it will mean sacrifices for sometime as the political body, the bureaucracy, and the business community adjust to new rules of governance.”

“Advisers to the president and his Cabinet are expected to play a major role in the Aquino administration because of the relative unpreparedness prevailing. However, coherence in both policy and implementation will come from a shared vision of good governance and democracy—ironically learned from the failed Arroyo administration.”

“A big advantage of the Aquino administration is its distance from the traditional politics of his contemporaries. It remains to be seen if this can be translated into an actual model for a strengthened Philippine democracy and governance.”

These observations, I think, have largely been proven correct and has resulted to progress made in both areas of governance and macro-economic development. However, there are two refinements I wish to make from the hindsight afforded by the past two years of the Aquino administration.

One, while the obstacles put up by the past Arroyo administration and its allies have been swept aside, new challenges to the reform agenda have appeared, this time in the form of various compromises some key administration people made in return for political support in the 2013 and 2016 elections and, possibly, to feather their own nests.

These accommodations are mostly with political dynasties or power holders and with big business, such as (1) the toleration of practices of illegal logging, illegal fishing, illegal mining, illegal gambling, and smuggling, (2) the silence over or even support for environmentally-dangerous technologies and business practices such as coal plants, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), open-pit mining, endangered species smuggling, and coral/black sand mining, and (3) the reluctance in undertaking asset reforms such as in land reform, preserving municipal waters and coastal resources, community forest development, urban resettlement, and agro-industrialization.

Two, while Aquino himself has shown his sincerity and honesty in governance—and this is perceived by the majority of the people as such—much needs to be done in the area where he, crucially, staked out his own legacy. In his own words in his inauguration speech:

“My father offered his life so our democracy could live. My mother devoted her life to nurturing that democracy. I will dedicate my life to making our democracy reach its fullest potential: that of ensuring equality for all.”

The democracy legacy means ensuring the participation of the vast majority of the people in democratic governance and in the enjoyment of economic progress. The third SONA will have to reflect this legacy agenda for the next four Aquino years. Silence here means no.

Ramon Casiple is a well-respected political analyst. He is also the Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER).


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philips Gold finally shines

    Philips Gold made 11 service aces on its way to beating Mane ‘N Tail, 25-19, 27-25, 25-16, for its first victory in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) All-Filipino Coinference Monday night at The Arena in San Juan.Former College of St. Benilde standout Rossan Fajardo had six aces as part of her 10-point output as the Lady Slammers finally barged into the win column after losing their first two matches.Ex-National University star Myla Pablo led Philips Gold with 14 points highlighted by 12 kills, …

  • Turkish Airlines starts direct Manila-Istanbul flights 3 times a week

    Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s flag carrier, launched on March 30 its thrice weekly direct, non-stop flights between Istanbul and Manila at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 and plans to operate a daily service between the two cities, eventually, announced Chief Marketing Officer Ahmet Olmustur. Last November 2014, the Philippines and Turkey signed an expanded air services agreement granting Turkish carriers three frequencies per week to Manila and Clark. In accordance with …

  • Azkals bow to Bahrain

    The Philippine Azkals fell short in their bid to salvage a draw and fell 2-1 to Bahrain Monday night in an international friendly match at the Bahrain National Stadium in Manama. Faouzi Mubarak struck the opening goal for the home side in the 29th minute before Abdulla Yaser doubled the lead two minutes later with a booming shot from 25 yards out. Fil-German midfielder Manny Ott gave the Azkals a ray of hope when he scored from just outside the box in the 61st. National team Coach Thomas …

  • Alcalas dominate rivals

    In a brilliant show of power and speed, Mark Alcala downed fierce rival and Philippine team member Ross Leonard Pedroza, 21-16, 23-21, to win the men’s singles open title. Alcala lost her No. 1 ranking after focusing on her studies at the University of the Philippines, but she’s willing to sacrifice once again in order to represent the country in future international tournaments. …

  • Girl, grandma hurt in land mine blast

    A 12-year-old girl, who was on her way to her graduation, was wounded together with her grandmother after they were hit by a landmine blast planted near their family’s residence at Sitio Totoy, Barangay San Jose, Monkayo town, Compostela Valley (ComVal) province. Lt. Vergel U. Lacambra, chief of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID), reported that Marcelyn Domicillo and her 58-year-old grandmother Rosallia Andaya were taken to a hospital in …

  • Army paddlers outlast Navy

    Army began where it left off the previous year, turning back arch rival Navy to rule the men’s 300-meter standard race in the opening leg of the 2015 Cobra Energy Drink-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta held over the weekend at the Manila Bay.Overall champions the past season, the Army paddlers made their move in the last 100 meters to emerge clear winners in one minute and 7.67 seconds of the event sponsored by the country’s leading energy drink, Cobra, and organized by the Philippine Dragon Boat …

  • Awareness: April Fool’s Day

    On April 1, be wary of people who may borrow money or play practical jokes on you. It’s April Fool’s Day! While believed to be of Western origin, April Fool’s Day is observed in many countries of the world, including the Philippines. April Fool’s Day is that day of the year when people take the opportunity to fool around a bit by playing practical jokes on the gullible. …

  • All-out peace, says PNoy

    President Aquino reiterates that the best option for the government is all-out peace, not all-out war. *** Likewise, the Philippine National Police (PNP) calls for a peaceful and orderly observance of the Holy Week nationwide, as hundreds of thousands of people go on an exodus to major tourist spots and the provinces. A blessed Holy Week! *** The President dismisses calls for an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the Masasapano tragedy and instead will …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options