The possible dream

So much commentary has been written in time for P-Noy’s first anniversary: wondering, judging, evaluating, scoring and scouring his accomplishments and failures. A respected executive editor writes an open letter plaintively asking, “Tell us where we’re going Mr. President”. I bumped into a businessman-friend who asked me in earnest, “So how do you rate the President so far?” Not wanting to be drawn into a profound discussion, I jokingly said that I was happy because my President is not stealing from me. To which he lightly admonished, “Your standards are too low. He must do more than that.” Even my house-help needed reassurance that P-Noy is doing his job. Does he really play PS3 into the wee hours of the morning?

The Noysayers seem primed to diminish or demolish anyone who gives a positive appraisal about this administration. A quick scan of the “reviews” shows a wide range of valid to petty criticisms that P-Noy would do well to address or ignore. Some come from well-intentioned and knowledgeable quarters while others are obviously from sources with their own agenda. It is good to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The scholarly who used “metrics” for objective assessment and the bona fide bloggers with substantial observations are worth considering. But elements like the frustrated ex-GMA-Cabinet-turned-scathing-critic [because he didn’t get the requested extension of the cushy ambassadorship], the geezer once described by Marcos as “so young, so brilliant and so corrupt”, the residual PR agents from defeated presidential campaigns determined to keep earning their retainer, the vociferous nasty netizens empowered by anonymity and world-rage and the Congress pit bulls who really have dense and short memories — they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Yes there were real errors committed and weak links that magnify the impression of ineptitude. Three frequently-mentioned points of censure are legitimate: the bungled hostage rescue of HK tourists barely three months after sitting in office; the borrowed-from-Erap and rehashed-from-Cory “KKK” allegation; and to a far lesser degree, the ill-timed purchase of the Porsche.

The death of eight Hong Kong nationals was a horrible baptism of fire. This was exacerbated by the non-action taken on DOJ’s recommendations. Per se, choosing trusted friends is not wrong, especially if they are qualified and live by the same values as their chief. Names were cited as “frenemies” of good governance. They should seriously assess if their continued presence damages the President. But having said that, the one who appointed a manicurist and gardener in plum positions, should bite her lips and bow her head.

Now the Porsche. Personally, I have no problem with our bachelor President lightening his burden and amusing himself with a toy that he paid for with his own money. Compared to former presidents who built a Boracay mansion or bought a huge Brazilian plantation with the people’s money, this lapse of judgment was a venial sin.

The oil-and-water Samar+Balay= Sablay combo continue to be unwieldy if not inefficient in the critical area of communications. No wonder very few know which direction the President wants to go. His vision is articulated in various pieces of communiqués, the most recent being EO43. This reorganized the Cabinet into clusters mandated to fulfill the five outcomes that P-Noy wants to achieve.

A bit verbose, the vision states: A re-awakened sense of right and wrong, through the living examples of our highest leaders; An organized and widely-shared rapid extension of our economy through a government dedicated to honing and mobilizing our people’s skills and energies as well as the responsible harnessing of our natural resources; A collective belief that doing the right thing does not only make sense morally but translates to economic values as well; public institutions rebuilt on the strong solidarity of our society and its communities.

Conceptually, this means “Matuwid na Pag-unlad” [Straight Road to Progress] where progress is defined as achieved only when there is: 1) A transparent, accountable and participatory government; 2) Poverty reduction and empowerment of the poor and the vulnerable; 3) Rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth; 4) Just and lasting peace and rule of law; 5) Integrity of the environment and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

But ”where’s the beef?” The Departments, with their respective cabinet clusters, should line-up the strategies and programs needed for desired results. This time, gains cited should be for real unlike the past, conjured numbers of new classrooms built and 1M jobs created! And for those who feel that walking the straight path to progress is too slow, jog your memory on where the country was after 21 years of Marcos and nine years of GMA!

It might be timely to remind ourselves that as citizens, we too are under review. What have we done to help move our country forward? While leaders shape their followers, followers shape their leaders too. What kind of bosses are we, great at carping and faultfinding, but short on constructive action and community spirit? Consider the behavior when traffic is snarled by continuous rains — to each his own; to hell with the law; each man for himself. Yet we expect that one man should deliver what we aspire for.

Lastly, a President that doesn’t steal is not a facetious statement. In fact if all that P-Noy accomplishes in six years were to curb deep-seated corruption it would be a great legacy. According to the World Bank, the leakage from the national budget was at P1.4T from 2000-2009. That could have paid off more-than-half of our debt obligation. Or built 1.4M schoolhouses, 2.4M health clinics and 87,500 kms of national roads. More important, Philippines will no longer be branded as one most corrupt countries in the world, haunted by scandals like ZTE, Philhealth, the fertilizer scam et al.

To fulfill the possible dream, let us draw inspiration from the immortal song — “to be better far than we are… one man, scorned and covered with scars; still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable star.

The possible dream was written by Ms. Yoly Villanueva-Ong.  We republished it here because we thought it to be really good.

Con Yap

  • UP nn grad

    The estimate — …. According to the World Bank, the leakage from the national budget was at P1.4T from 2000-2009. says that Noynoy-admin should be able to save Pinas a maximum of 6-years x P140Billion.

    Deduct cancelation fees — Presi-Noynoy should be able to save Pinas over P800Billion!!!

    YEY!!! That’s a lot of housing fo PNP/AFP generals, colonels, captains, sergeants and the rest…. YEY!!!!

    If Malacanang knows it can save P800Billion, the wise thing to do (to me… in my opinion) is NOT to put that P800Billion in some Ayala- or this-or-that bank but to spend the money.

    If someone asks “But where will the P20Billion come from?” to build Paranaque-Spillway…. the answer should be …. because Presi Noynoy daang matuwid ay naririto na.


    • UP nn grad

      But maybe it is only P50Billion “daang-matuwid-savings” in the first year.

      Still, definitely for Presi-Noynoy’s last 4 years, there should be zero-leakage — that’s the target — zero leakage.

      P50Billion for first year, P80Billion for 2ndyear, then P140Billion-per-year plowing into the TREASURY starting two years from now because of a successful “… daang matuwid”.. Puwede na ngang mangutang si Presi-Noynoy from ADB and World Bank (and UBS plus Bank-Shanghai) becaue Pilipinas will have P140Billion-per-year to pay off the debts.

      When he addresses the nation on what he has accomplished over the past 12 months, I hope Presi-Noynoy mentions how much leakage got plugged in his first year. Pilipinas needs to believe that “… daang matuwid” is here, that leakages have been plugged, that savings will be “diverted” to needed projects like National-Capital-Area flood-abatement, farm-to-market roads or accelerated building of clinics, public schools… that happy days surely to arrive three years later.

      Icing-on-the-cake is when Noynoy Administration is able to recover another P80Billion or maybe P340Billion from crooks of earlier administration(s).

    • Bert

      You’re exaggerating, UP n, and positive this time, but that’s your better side than your other side>>>wink, :).

      • UP nn grad

        Exaggerating??? Which numbers are too high?

        (a) Noynoy being able to recover P80billion from crooks of earlier administrations? Should this be P10billion instead? How many of GuLO and Erap’s BFF’s is Malacanang targetting? P10Billion is recovering P500Million each from 20 people.

        (b) zero leakage in last 3 years of Nonoy admin? What’s a good number between zero and P140Billion-per-year?
        –Leakage of only P20Billion per year (from P140Billion yrly)?
        –Leakage of P80billion per year (from P140B yrly)?
        –Leakage of P110Billion per year(from P140Byrly)?

        If Noynoy can get a 25%-reduction in leakage, hallelujah heavens-to-mercy he’ll have outdone many other “governance” in other countries. So if leakage in the 6 years of Noynoy admin is only P660Billion (6 times P110 yearly) — everyone should applaud.

        If Noynoy can only “save” P10Billion-per-year via plug the leakage/daang-matuwid? Clinics and schools need to be built…. Noynoy has to raise taxes.

        • Bert

          Agree. I’m sure Noynoy knows how to cross that bridge when he reached it. In the mean time, he’s doing what best he can while we, we’ll just continue with our speculations.

  • J_ag

    I strongly recommend that Noynoy groupies read up on the speeches of FDR and his actions to bring government back to the people.

    If he is a seminal leader where are the seminal actions apart from counting every paper clip, pencil and ball point by the government.

    When the SC refused him his truth commission he railed against them. When the SC denied the coconut farmers and the tenants of Hacienda Luisita he remained silent. Is this man operating from inside a bubble?

    • GabbyD

      the SC denied the farmers… WHAT?

      • J_ag

        You must be new to the Philippines. The tenant farmers and the coconut farmers lost two big cases in the SC..

        Cojuangcos money to buy shares in SMC were declared to be from legit sources and he was not a crony of FM.

        Courtesy of SC.. Then the Cojuangco clan will get to keep Luisita in the vote for share or land. Once again courtesy of the SC.

        Did you just arrive from abroad as a returning OFW retiree?

        • GabbyD

          i’m merely pointing out your lack of logic and clarity.

          WHAT was the farmers deprived of, IF they could get it IF they wanted it. (via referendum)

  • J_ag

    “A people may prefer a free government, but if from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; … if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions-in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty; and even though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it.”

    — John Stuart Mill

    We still await with baited breath for a seminal act that will dispel any notion that this government is the same as all others in the past.

    So far Danding Cojuangco got what he wanted. Hacienda Luisita got what it wanted. PhilipeMorris/Lucio Tan still gets what it wants from Congress so on and on.

    There is nothing in the first year that will dispel perspectives that nothing has changed.

    Yoly Ong now sounds like the spokesperson of the former President. The narratives are still the same. Nothing new.

  • Bert

    Very well written. I am very impressed.