Slogans? Hypocrisy? If you are an ordinary Filipino, you will probably find it difficult to pinpoint which specific achievements of the Noynoy Aquino administration are worth perpetuating. His anti-corruption drive is hypocritical and selective at best, as it can be inferred from a recent Radyo Veritas survey (similar to SWS with 1,200 respondents nationwide, and a 3% margin of error). The President may have inaugurated a number of infrastructure but all of these are easily undermined by the prominent blunders and failures he has committed or has been committing over the years. What about his brags on economic achievement? As rabid Gloria Arroyo critic Peter Wallace said, he did well despite doing nothing. Is that something to be proud of?
The following are arguably the most easily identifiable and evident “achievements” of the Noynoy Aquino government.
The Conditional Cash Transfer program adopted from the Gloria Arroyo administration is perhaps the only government effort felt by poorer Filipinos. Nobody can deny that the dole outs given have reached most of the intended recipients although not without accusations of anomalies. But is this program really worth continuing? There are sectors that are already calling for its complete cancellation.
Policy of widespread sex education and population control?
The passing of the RH Bill into a law was one of the earlier successes of the Aquino government. It was a controversial one but many assert that he made good use of his political capital when he pushed for it. Pushing for legislated sex education and contraception is not really something that can be considered a considerable achievement for a president in the Philippine setting. However, what’s more important is what transpired before the RH Bill’s passing. President Aquino’s resolve to defy or ignore the influence the Catholic Church is something his successors should emulate. This is not to say that the Catholic Church is evil. It’s just that religion should be taken out of the picture when it comes to governance so the next administration may want to take notes from this “Aquino feat.”
Recently, Aquino’s spokesman called out VP Binay for allegedly practicing the politics of hate and despair. It’s not even a joke. The government identified with the politics of hate and rudeness, and vindictiveness is tossing the “distinction” to another politician. It’s one of those instances when hypocrisy ruled the atmosphere. The selectiveness of the Noynoy Aquino government in prosecuting those accused of corruption and other forms of wrongdoing in government is not a secret. While President Aquino aggressively criticized Gloria Arroyo and everyone connected or associated with her, he unwittingly copied many of his predecessor’s wrongdoings, from the alleged bribery of solons, to the concealed resurrection of PDAF, naming of allies to key positions regardless of their credentials, and refusal or hesitance in supporting important laws like the FOI and anti-dynasty bill. He is even reviving Arroyo’s MOA-AD with the MILF through the BBL.
Good governance and anti-corruption campaign?
Aside from Aquino’s fans and allies, who would believe that real good governance happened under the leadership of Noynoy Aquino? While a former president, senators, and a handful of public officials have been removed from office or sent to jail, many continue to hold positions in government or avoid prosecution because they happen to be friends or allies of the current administration. The minions of the former administration decided to join the current administration and have since enjoyed temporary protection from prosecution or investigation. Any concerned Filipino knows what KKK, DAP, and resurrected PDAF mean to Aquino’s reign. What specific good governance and anti-corruption program can Aquino brag when he was quick to condemn accused political opponents but also quick in defending his allies when they were implicated in corrupt practices?
Blame game culture?
Does this even need any explanation? Even until his last SONA, President Aquino continues to blame the previous administration for his shortcomings, underachievement, and failure to address pressing concerns. Occasionally, he would resort to pinning to blame to lower ranking officials like what he did in the Mamasapano incident. Recently, his government found something else to blame. To answer the criticisms over his government’s under spending, he cited the limitations imposed by the budget and procurement laws. The blame game culture should stop with the expiration of this administration.
Slogans, catchphrases, and glamorized acronyms?
From “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap” to “Daang Matuwid,” 4Ps, and DAP, the propaganda team behind Noynoy Aquino has always manifested its fondness for slogans, shibboleths, and acronyms. They’re not that different from the time of Gloria Arroyo, who managed to come up with loads of acronyms and slogans like “Gamot na Mura at Abot-kaya,” “Strong Republic,” the “KALAHI” anti-poverty program, “Tindahan ni Gloria Labandera Rolling Stores,” and the famous “ro-ros.” Both administrations failed to match the hype of their slogans and glamorized acronyms with real results and benefits. There’s nothing wrong with the next administration being similarly creative in coming up with slogans and acronyms but hopefully, they deliver real positive outcomes.
Is there anything praiseworthy in the Aquino government’s calamity response record? The answer is quite obvious. However, in the spirit of optimism, perhaps it’s worth pointing out that his government learned a few things after the multitude of serious criticisms. Local governments have become more active in doing preparations for impending typhoons. PAG-ASA has been modernized. Recently, a major earthquake drill was held in Metro Manila. There have been improvements but it can’t be denied that Yolanda rehabilitation issues linger. Definitely, Aquino’s slow response to calamities is something that should not be emulated by the next administration.
Turning GOCCs into profiteering entities?
President Aquino is certainly missing the point in bragging the dividends given by government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) under his term. For starters, GOCCs are by principle created to help the government in serving the public. They are mainly intended for public service, as supplements to the government’s social service function. Generating earnings to increase dividends is not the main concern of GOCCs. While it is true that there are inefficiencies and abuses in many GOCCs, it is not right to adopt a mindset that they should be operated like typical corporations. Doing so is like peddling social services to profiteers.
President Aquino has no qualms bragging about the accomplishments he is supposedly leaving to the Filipino people and entrusting to his successor. However, does he really have legacies worth continuing? Mar Roxas has announced that he would continue what PNoy started, the hypocritical “Daang Matuwid” in particular. Roxas claims that the country is in a good place now and claims that there has been a significant advancement. Still, he could only point out the vague and contentious. People are probably wondering what specific programs or policies he wants to continue. Here are more.
K-12 education system?
There’s nothing wrong with pursuing the K-12 education system. It is good in the sense that it can finally synchronize this country’s educational system with those of its more successful neighbors. However, there haven’t been adequate preparations to ensure a smooth transition. While Aquino continues to brag that the country is already prepared for the major shift, teachers and several civic organizations are opposing the K-12 program not necessarily because they are against it but because of the lack of preparations.
Indeed, Aquino may leave the presidency and claim the K-12 education system as one of his achievements. It may take decades, though, for people to appreciate this. If his administration carefully planned the budget to properly channel funds into the successful implementation of the K-12 program, the criticisms and resistance would have been considerably reduced.
Degrading public transportation and still unaddressed power supply shortage?
You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard anything about the problems of the MRT, LRT, PNR, EDSA traffic, and port congestion. It’s only this year that the Aquino government presented proper plans in addressing the problems. Also, just like his mother, Noynoy Aquino is getting associated with brownouts and blackouts. If he were really serious about addressing the power problem, he should have spent his political capital and “impressive” hardheadedness to have EPIRA reviewed and amended.
Under President Noynoy Aquino’s administration, the terms “keyboard warriors” and “yellow army” have become popular. They represent the many Aquino die-hard defenders who eagerly spend ample amounts of time dropping comments and responding to critics in online forums or the comments sections of news websites or blogs. They are also abundant in social media. Many believe that most of these online defenders are being paid by Malacañang to aggressively defend the Aquino administration. Considering the emphasis the Aquino government puts in PR or media relations, as evidenced by the establishment of the Presidential Communications Operations Office and the appointment of several spokesmen, there arguably exists the Aquino government’s legacy of being too concerned with public image. Among the expected presidential candidates in 2016, Mar Roxas and Jejomar Binay are doubtlessly going to continue this legacy. One needs it to make himself appeal to the “masa” while the other requires it to counter allegations of wrongdoing.
The Philippine economy is in good shape at present. Even Aquino’s creative critics couldn’t argue with that except for highlighting that the economic gains have not trickled down to the poorer citizens. Still, it could have been made better with better planning and spending. The chronic underspending under the Aquino government prevented the Philippines from growing even bigger. The hypocritical refusal to support the “OFW industry” is not helping the country either. Aquino can brag all he wants about doing a better job than his economics teacher but it’s never impressive using something deemed as a failure as a benchmark. Why should he compare his economic accomplishments to his predecessor when that predecessor was supposedly a failure?
The Aquino government passed a number of laws that supposedly protect human rights. These include the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, and the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012. Still, there are many criticisms on Aquino’s human rights record as the killings of journalists and leftist activists continue. Aquino appears to not even care about giving justice to the SAF44 who have been brutally murdered by the group he is pushing a peace accord with. Noynoy Aquino’s human rights record needs a lot of improvement and is certainly something not worth emulating.
Stronger AFP and national defense?
After Panatag Shoal was taken over by the Chinese and the notorious death of soldiers and police officers at hands of rebels and terrorists, can Aquino claim that he has left a stronger AFP? When he induced chaos in the leadership of the PNP by allowing suspended PNP Chief Purisima to have an active involvement in the planning and supervision of a sensitive police mission, did he help strengthen the country’s police force? When he created a scenario that allowed conflicts to arise between his DFA chief and his “backchannel negotiator” as talks with China were pursued, did he help project a solid national defense? Last we heard was that Panatag Shoal had been effectively controlled by the Chinese because the government withdrew our ships from the area, even as Senator Trillanes (the backdoor negotiator) boasted that he was responsible for the pulling out of many Chinese ships from the area.
Refusal to acknowledge and rectify mistakes?
Arguably, the worst legacy of the Noynoy Aquino is his habit of refusing to acknowledge his mistakes and the delusion that he has been the savior of this country. For him, there are no alternatives worthy of taking of his place other than his anointed. He refused to apologize for the botched Luneta hostage crisis. He continues to insist that his DAP was constitutional and done in good faith. He can’t explain why he has joined forces with former Arroyo allies. Until now, his actions have been belying his supposed sincerity in consoling the families of the SAF44. He refused to mention the fallen heroes in his last SONA and had allegedly interfered in the supposed recognition of SAF heroes during the PNP Day rites through a verbal instruction from Presidential Management Staff.
The big day in Philippine politics is nearing. Discerning voters already know enough not to vote for that prominent politician from Makati who refuses to stop with his hypocrisy, lies, and refusal to answer the multitude of allegations against him. It’s about time to examine whether or not Noynoy Aquino’s anointed deserves a vote based on the idea that he will be continuing what Noynoy has been doing.
Stock photos from POC/Blog Watch. Some rights reserved.