Hope is down, Pessimism is up

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III

BusinessWorld wrote that pessimism is up in the Philippines as it talked about the first quarter confidence index. It is now down to -23.1 percent, from -8.5 percent in the previous three months. Inflationary pressures are to be blamed, and gloom is across all income groups.

This isn’t helped by the culture of schadenfreude that seem to thrive.

Legislation is expected to take a backseat as the Senate convenes to try the Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for breach of public trust. The trial could take up to four months. Gutierrez, a long time ally of former President Arroyo is viewed by many together with an Arroyo appointed Supreme Court to be the key stumbling block to bring the former President and her ilk to justice.

As Manuel Buencamino points out, in the event that Gutierrez is acquitted, Aquino simply appoints a new Ombudsman heading towards the mid-term elections. Cases filed against Mrs. Arroyo and her allies at that key juncture could still do much damage.

In “Promises, Promises,” Doy points out the folly of no new taxes. He also points out the frustration that most people feel. It is the slowness of change that Aquino promised. This, above all else drives people to pessimism.

There are many quiet changes happening in Government. What’s endemic is that these are not the big, loud, things one would normally associate with politics and political change. It is mostly quiet, and under the hood. The Finance department for example is getting its act together.  There is also the universal health care agenda, labor governance, also the first batch of public-private partnerships.

These have all been eclipsed by faux pas. The ineptitude and mishandling of the Hostage crisis in August is the first of many. What’s sad is how Aquino seem to have protected key allies post crisis, and this beyond what transpired on that day makes it a faux pas. Another, it took a full 8 months before the government submitted to Congress its priority measures.

Part of the problem is that no one seem to be able to grasp the depth and breadth of the situation. The unwieldy condition of the bureaucracy makes matters worst. This inertia is difficult to overcome. And amidst all the structural changes, this too has to be overcome.

The state of the nation is indeed like that old Spanish house made of narra, but it is now old, with its roof leaking, and its pipes broken. The doors of the house are all in a state of disrepair. The electrical wiring are all worn out, and is a fire hazard. Try as one might to put an LCD TV, and Macs and WiFi in the house, and other modern conveniences like a microwave and updated refrigerator, and aircon, it clearly shows the dichotomy of two worlds. It clearly shows the separation between the past and the present, and we are carrying the burden of the past into the future.

So where do we go from here?

With the Merci trial underway, rest assured that many of the bills that the Government wants and needs to pass will take a backseat. And with the Palace indicating that it intends to offer up its own version of the RH Bill, this puts into doubt the current debate on it. At best, the RH Bill could be passed later in the year, and worst, it could drag on into the election year where pressure from the Church would dampen its approval. Well, perhaps the President’s version will see the light of day if the Church goes with it.

If Merci’s trial drags into August, it becomes tougher for LEDAC 23 bills to get passed, unless there is already an agreement between the executive and congress to get the job done. The government will also need to pass a generation appropriation’s measure by year’s end. It would theoretically give five months of debate to get it done.

The schedule seems iffy, but if Aquino puts his weight behind it, maybe. What good will that weight be if his approval ratings go down, and dissent starts to creep in is another threat to be considered.

Prior the election campaign, Aquino rode high, but all the campaign’s promise had to give way to tactical considerations when the President’s lead was destroyed by Manny Villar entering the election campaign proper. It would seem that something similar is happening in this administration. Perhaps, with a much more diminished trust rating, the administration would hustle.

What is also clear is that the problems facing the nation are deeper than anyone suspects, or anyone understands. The systematic state of disrepair the Republic is in, is clearly not understood by critics, or by the general public, and I suspect, the administration sees only the surface of it.  It isn’t a slight to administration or critics or the public. It is simply a realization that the problem is complex and interdependent, and no one has the entire picture.   It will take decades and several presidencies to steer the ship of state properly, and that much is clear.   What is also clear is that nation building is not an exclusive providence of government.  Social impact, and real change happens in the little things we do as private citizens.  That’s how change happens.

Photo credit: Malacañang Photo Bureau

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

  • well that’s what you people get for voting someone into the presidency based from the popularity of his parents, sure his parents were great leaders/people and I have a great deal of respect for them, but remember, the same parents also produced the likes of Kris.

  • “Slowness in initiative, slowness, lack of vision.” <<< redundant

    "And most effective is censorship.”

    “skilled in present…”

    “cheering squad are…”

    Nice try with the Grammar Nazi-ing. I’d much appreciate it if you exerted as much effort in proofreading and correcting your own poorly-written posts. Of better yet, mag-Filipino ka na lang kung mas sanay kang magsulat gamit yun. Hindi naman bawal yun. Baka mas maiintindihan ka pa namin.

    You criticize me for openly agreeing with the author, and yet you can’t even justify your own position beyond off-tangent remarks and vague rejoinders.

    And while I thank you for your concern over my future as a law student, please forgive me when I say that you are the drop-dead last person who should be giving me advice on how to be skilled in presenting my objections and my opinions. Your posts are horribly written, off-tangent, and proceeds from your La-La Land where everyone is wrong and you are the infinite well of knowledge and wisdom. That, sir, is not skilled objection, nor skilled opinion-writing. That is simple ego-feeding, Internet-style. So thanks, but no thanks.

    @MMFE, the RH Bill comment might be better taken up under a different article. =)

  • UP nn grad

    My perception is that Makalanyang is presenting an image of one who waits. Slowness in initiative, slowness, lack of vision.

    Already, cocoy and many others have been bought into this belief that Pilipinas governance slows down because congress will be pre-occupied by Merci impeachment. Missed is this point — Department of Justice investigations can continue (and should continue) even as the Merci-impeachment proceedings go on. deLima and Justice investigators surely have other important things to attend (like see how far up the Burgos disappearance case leads to — or convicting the dude with the Red Lamborghini) to in addition to watching American idol. The construction of more baranggay health clinics or public schools can continue and should continue — nothing to do with Merci. Accelerating the strengthening of the bridges across Pasig river for compliance with Richter7.9 earthquake mitigation; and of course, law and order situation, cutting by 20% the recurrence of kidnappings in Mindanao and other regions of Pilipinas.

    Slowness and softness — so easy for Presi-Noynoy to say that the matter of Ferdinand Marcos burial in Libingan will have to wait until 2013, yet he let that item percolate in the news continually when he should be publicizing more names of persons charged, tried in court and convicted of graft/corruption and other crimes.

    • Cocoy


      Your perception is always what suits a box in your head. Which is really trite.

      It would be silly to think that DOJ won’t be doing their jobs or twiddling their thumbs 😛

      Or that the DOF will just stop filing cases, which is has been routinely updated on their site for quite sometime now.

      Silly to think too that PH education is simply just about School buildings and not about K12, or any other thing that happens in PH education that ought to be debated.

      I don’t even think you understand how PH health care works.

      We’re talking about BILLS and LAWS— the legislative agenda. We’re talking about what happens in 12 months and what impact the political decisions have, and would maybe transpire. We’re talking about how the pieces will move.

      • UP nn grad

        That’s probably the source of ennui among a few Pinoys in Pilipinas. Noynoy administration is not publicizing the increase in BIR collections of the past 9 months or the names of folks convicted of graft and corruption in the past 6 months. Noynoy has not publicized the arrests of bandits and kidnappers in Mindanao — most what you see is “… hot pursuit!!!”, not “… arrested and convicted”. Even the Pinay who hired one of the drug-mules recently executed by China — still not arrested (***no evidence to arrest, much less convict) even when that recruiter has “reported” before NBI officials seeking safety.

        Instead, Noynoy handlers are trying to shape the news and the discussions to be about Merci and the disturbance to the legislative agenda when there are many items well within the Administration’s control.

        I guess one can remain reclusive supra-loyal and dismiss the increase in pessimism among Pilipinos as simply because these Pilipinos are poorly informed or… ahem… they do not understand the big picture.

        Well, then that is so. Different folks, different strokes. When what you conclude from what you read is different from others — ganuon lang iyon. When others remember and you don’t the Noynoy promise that when elected, his administration will see so many thousands of baranggay health clinics built, ganuon lang iyon. Different folks, different strokes.

        • One does not need to be reclusive nor supra-loyal to see that, indeed, some people are lacking in big-picture comprehension. If anything UPnG, your comments qualify you as the poster child for that condition.

          You proceed from an unqualified premise that the Aquino administration is already a failure, or the same waiting to happen, and interpret all the facts you encounter from that premise. Why not share with us how you arrived at your premise, so we can better understand how to have a proper, productive discourse with you.

        • UP nn grad

          Action that can be taken? Several. And a most effective is censorship. If you disagree with the content or the tone, then delete (or modify the contents) of those blog-comments that do not meet the requirements of the Editor-in-chief.

          Simple lang naman.

          • I asked you how you arrived at your premise. You answered with basically a dare to delete your comments from this website – something I don’t even have the authority/access to do. Did I miss something? Or are you always this evasive, defensive and off-tangent?

            The problem mainly is that I can’t understand what you’re trying to say, beyond “P-Noy sucks,” which is neither intellectual, useful nor productive. At the very least, try to talk about what the author is talking about in his articles, rather than some non-sequitur argument based on what you want to talk about.

            Focus, coherence, clarity: are these things too much to ask from you? Are you even really a UP Grad? Because as a current UP student, I’m ashamed to be even remotely associated to you.

          • UP nn grad

            associated with… not to… associated with.

            raggster: you are a law student. Try this life-lesson. Be skilled in present your objections and your own opinions. Easy to say “Yes, I agree”, “easy to say , oh, I see your points”, but if you write only in order to agree with and continue the thinking of the ones before you, then you may be well-liked — chuchuwa cheering squad are always appreciated!!! — but then, you will be just one of the ducks getting carried by the tide.

            Good luck with fatherhood and parenting!!!

    • @Cocoy, if Congress can still postpone the ARMM elections – one of the items in the LEDAC 23 – then it looks like the legislative agenda is safe and on track – for now. The real problem lies in the House of Representatives getting sidetracked by relatively unimportant matters, like proposing that Marcos be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. There will be a time to settle that question, but honestly now is not the proper time to raise it (either that, or Bongbong just let slip his trump card for the upcoming impeachment proceedings, take your pick).

      • Cocoy

        @Raggster “for now” is the operating phrase. If the last impeachment trial is to be our barometer, the senators hardly were able to pass legislation. And yes, I am hoping for the best, that they are all able to conduct an impeachment trial as well as pass appropriate legislation.

  • UP nn grad

    Yes, more and more Pinoys-in-Pinas have gotten wide-eyed awake to the reality of Presi-Noynoy “…all the campaign’s promise had to give way to tactical considerations”… like “..when the President’s lead was destroyed by Manny Villar entering the election campaign proper.”

    • Cocoy

      And as always, UPnG, you misconstrue the situation.

  • To the credit of the Aquino administration, it has used its support and its anti-corruption advocacy to some success, as now people such as Heidi Mendoza and Col. Ragusa in key positions can come forward to reveal massive corruption, where before these wrongdoers would have been coddled, and the whistleblowers silenced (as was almost the case with Jun Lozada).

    Whether or not we agree with the general tendency of this administration to make GMA the poster child for corruption, this move of polarizing the House of Representatives has succeeded in pushing for the impeachment of an otherwise negligent Ombudsman. It remains to be seen if the same effect will carry over in the Senate, as Senators are much harder to sway.

    The question becomes a matter of sustaining these strides and converting the momentum into meaningful change within government, and getting this change of mindset to trickle down into the consciousness of ordinary citizens. It can be done, but there must be a conscious effort from the top and bottom to push it. It can’t be left as an afterthought in the change process.

  • Stella So

    Unfortunately, Filipinos cannot progress if they cannot follow the “rule of law.”

    • GabbyD

      how do filipinos not follow the rule of law?

    • Many of benign0’s examples are simply anecdotal, blown to a proportion to make it seem as if the behavior he cites are the norm. The roots of this seeming friction between the rule of law and the tendency of Filipinos to abide by informal rules and customs (some of which directly contradict black-letter laws) are much deeper and profound that benign0 understands and appreciates.

      Please try to be more discerning in what goes one, rather than simply parroting what someone else asserts as truth.

      • GabbyD

        my problem with B0 is that he’s either evasive when he doesnt have a point, or he’s banal when he does.

        … and when he’s decided that he’s done arguing, then he’d just insult you.

    • How can we progress if we follow RH Bill? First Know Margaret Sanger and her movements!!!
      TRy to see how RH Bill founder look at the poor people….

      Margaret Sanger -Founder of Planned Parenthoodin her own words”the most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” Margaret Sanger, women and the new race
      (Eugenics Publ. co., 19. On blacks, immigrants and indigents:”…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.” Margaret Sanger, pivot of civilization, referring to immigrants and poor people. Her goal in life: Sanger admitted her entire life’s purpose was to promote birth control. An autobiography, p. 194.
      Since 1971, Parental Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) has been working with partner organizations in the Philippines and is expanding fast, with programs such as the Reproductive Health Program for Street Children and Yo! Lead, which are dedicated to reproductive health peer education and peer leadership programs for underserved and out-of-school youth in areas like Metro Manila. PPFA works to improve contraceptive use among adolescents and youth through peer education and outreach programs, and reduce the rate of maternal death and disability by increasing access to comprehensive and quality post-abortion services.

      Malcolm Potts, M.B., B.Chair, Ph.D., F.R.C.O.G. (b. 1935) Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation from 1968 to 1972, and as President of Family Health International from 1978 to 1990. ONE OF THE ORGANIZERS OF THE POPULATION CONFERENCE AT THE ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT IN MAKATI CITY. Malcolm Potts, Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
      POTTS, A “SUPPOSED POPULATION EXPERT” from the Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability of the University of California, “PRACTICES AND PROMOTES ABORTION WHICH IS ILLEGAL IN THE PHILIPPINES.” “In 1972, (Potts) was the first physician to promote the technique of uterine manual vacuum aspiration
      His Words: Potts once said that “Abortion is an essential element in human fertility control…The combination of abortion contraception is the combination which all human communities always used to control their fertility.” Potts then pushed the abortion agenda and cited the urgent need for the country TO ENACT THE CONTROVERSIAL REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH OR FAMILY PLANNING BILL WHICH HAS BEEN PENDING IN CONGRESS for the past eight years due to strong opposition from the CATHOLIC CHURCH AND ITS SUPPORTERS.“…unless you are able to offer the poorest living on about $1 a day the choices they deserve, then people will be poorer, you will be importing food, you will (be) more like Somalia than like Thailand,” Potts warned.
      He also added: POTTS SAID “POPULATION CONTROL IS NEEDED IN THE PHILIPPINES, Potts, airing his opinions freely at the conference, said the Philippines would suffer far worse economic, environmental and even national security problems if the population would reach a projected 160 million by 2050. “UNLESS THE RH BILL GOES THROUGH AND UNLESS YOU ARE ABLE TO offer the poorest economic quintile the choices that they deserve, then people will be poorer. You will be importing food, you will be more like Somalia than Thailand,” Potts had warned

      • Cocoy

        MMFE, I point you to our collection of RH Bill articles. you can find them here. Feel free to comment on them.

        RH Bill in Congress does not support nor promote abortion.