Parallaxis

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).

  • Pacquiao has lost his 'pop', Mayweather
    Pacquiao has lost his 'pop', Mayweather

    Floyd Mayweather says Manny Pacquiao has lost a step and that the Filipino's superstar slide has coincided with his decision to split from former strength trainer Alex Ariza. The 37-year-old undefeated welterweight champ Mayweather weighed in Wednesday on the latest performance by Pacquiao who beat Timothy Bradley on April 12 in Las Vegas in a rematch of their first bout in June 2012. "Actually, I did watch the fight," said Mayweather who is training to fight Argentina's Marcos Maidana in a …

  • Bad news for Samsung: 85% of people in Philippines willing to buy homegrown …
    Bad news for Samsung: 85% of people in Philippines willing to buy homegrown …

    Smartphone growth is being fueled not by big names like Samsung but by the increasing demand of homegrown smartphone brands in the country. …

  • Pyongyang's pop queens stage comeback
    Pyongyang's pop queens stage comeback

    PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Step aside, Sea of Blood Opera. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's favorite guitar-slinging, miniskirt-sporting girl group, the Moranbong Band, is back. And these ladies know how to shimmy. …

  • Eruption now engaged to GF
    Eruption now engaged to GF

    [caption id="attachment_131583" align="alignright" width="240"] Newly engaged couple Eric Tai and Rona Samson; (inset) Samson’s engagement ring (Instagram)[/caption] Eric “Eruption” Tai has already proposed to his non-showbiz girlfriend Rona Samson. The “It’s Showtime” mainstay offered Samson the ring near Mayon Volcano, Albay over the Holy week break. Tai shared during Monday’s episode of “It’s Showtime,” how he asked Samson the big question. “Umakyat kami, siyempre Eruption at Mayon Volcano. …

  • 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Doubts Raised About Ancient Text
    'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Doubts Raised About Ancient Text

    Now, new information uncovered by Live Science raises doubts about the origins of the scrap of papyrus. The gospel, written in the ancient Egyptian language Coptic, has made headlines ever since Harvard University professor Karen King announced its discovery. The business-card-size fragment contains the translated line "Jesus said to them, 'My wife …'" and also refers to a "Mary," possibly Mary Magdalene. If authentic, the papyrus suggests that some people believed in ancient times that …

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.

  • Pacquiao has lost his 'pop', Mayweather

    Pacquiao has lost his 'pop', Mayweather

    AFP News - Thu, Apr 24, 2014
    Pacquiao has lost his 'pop', Mayweather

    Floyd Mayweather says Manny Pacquiao has lost a step and that the Filipino's superstar slide has coincided with his decision to split from former strength trainer Alex Ariza. The 37-year-old undefeated welterweight champ Mayweather weighed in Wednesday on the latest performance by Pacquiao who beat Timothy Bradley on April 12 in Las Vegas in a rematch of their first bout in June 2012. "Actually, I did watch the fight," said Mayweather who is training to fight Argentina's Marcos Maidana in a …

  • Pyongyang's pop queens stage comeback

    Pyongyang's pop queens stage comeback

    Associated Press - Thu, Apr 24, 2014
    Pyongyang's pop queens stage comeback

    PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Step aside, Sea of Blood Opera. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's favorite guitar-slinging, miniskirt-sporting girl group, the Moranbong Band, is back. And these ladies know how to shimmy. …

  • 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Doubts Raised About Ancient Text

    'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Doubts Raised About Ancient Text

    LiveScience.com - 17 hours ago
    'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Doubts Raised About Ancient Text

    Now, new information uncovered by Live Science raises doubts about the origins of the scrap of papyrus. The gospel, written in the ancient Egyptian language Coptic, has made headlines ever since Harvard University professor Karen King announced its discovery. The business-card-size fragment contains the translated line "Jesus said to them, 'My wife …'" and also refers to a "Mary," possibly Mary Magdalene. If authentic, the papyrus suggests that some people believed in ancient times that …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options