I find it amusing, to say the least, that president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino would use a basketball metaphor to describe what would be the remainder of his term…
“Papasok na naman po tayo sa panibagong taon sa pagtahak sa tuwid na daan; at kumbaga po sa larong basketball, papasok na rin tayo sa last two minutes. Sa natitirang yugto ng ating termino, wala tayong sasayanging sandali; bawat makabuluhang ambag ng Pilipino ay magpapanalo sa laban natin tungo sa pag-asenso (We are about to enter a new year. If this were a basketball game, it would be the crucial last two minutes. We have no time to waste. Each achievement we make will be a victory for Filipinos in our struggle towards progress),” he said.
“Last two minutes” – it looks like BS Aquino considers 2014-2016 a clutch situation then.
Even from that statement alone, one can infer, to a considerable degree of accuracy, how BS Aquino thinks:
First of all, he considers his presidency a zero-sum game where if someone wins, someone else has to lose. And the people he is hell-bent on seeing lose are those who are not his party allies, his critics, and basically anyone who is on the opposite side of what he believes in. When BS Aquino talks about the last vestiges of corruption being eradicated it shouldn’t be that hard to take it with a grain of salt, and to make an educated guess that what he actually means is anybody left still associated with the former president Gloria Arroyo, any political party not allied with the Liberal Party (LP), or any media outfit who is not part of the Yellow Media.
Second, he wants to paint himself as some sort of comeback hero who is going to win in the end. If you think about it, the number of times BS Aquino has blamed Gloria Arroyo for the current state of the country is not few and far in between. He has complained about criticism and “negativity” all too often. In fact, he has become so exasperated with it that it has led him to exclaim “Bahala sa inyo si Lord, busy ako!” (I am busy, all you critics can go to hell!)
Third, time is running out for him. But for what? I can guess that of utmost importance to BS Aquino is to accomplish three things within 2014, and certainly within his term:
1) To keep Hacienda Luisita within the family, as it comes up for review in 2014 under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP);
2) To keep his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) from being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, and;
3) To position his allies in as many key government posts as possible for the 2016 elections.
A true leader, a true president, does not view his/her term as a zero-sum game; he should be creating an environment where he/she brings the whole nation together, supporters and critics alike. He/she is of the mindset that the ultimate goal is to get the nation from point A (current state) to a more improved point B (future state). He/she has a plan, a vision for what that future state is. His/her ultimate goal is not make the opposition lose but to make a win-win situation for the entire country. Instead, what BS Aquino has been doing is to sow divisiveness among the Filipino people. He has displayed his insecurity, vindictiveness, and general incompetence for everyone to see.
Let’s stop and think about something: BS Aquino’s ultimate goal should be to improve the economy at as many levels of society as possible. And one would expect that he knows how to do it; after all, he is an Economics graduate, from the Ateneo no less, and he’s no stranger to the Senate or the House of Representatives either. Whether he accomplished anything at all is another question.
Yet here we are, with BS Aquino content to bandy around Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and credit ratings upgrades as “indicators of a healthy economy”, despite the average Filipino citizen not feeling any effects from it. What he/she can see, is that there are not enough jobs within the country. What he/she can see is that the poverty rate did not significantly move down. What he/she can see is that Filipinos are still forced to become overseas workers (OFW’s) in order to support their families because what is available back home is not enough.
So where has BS Aquino’s A-game been all this time?
From the start of his term, he has been given many opportunities, many clutch situations, to step up, take charge, and prove to his “bosses” that he is worthy of being called a leader and a statesman: the Mendoza hostage situation, the numerous typhoons that struck various parts of the country, the earthquake in Cebu and Bohol, the pork barrel issue, the Zamboanga stand-off, the Sabah situation, and most pointedly, typhoon Yolanda. Not surprisingly, he and his government choked in all the situations I mentioned. In fact, some of his decisions in these situations have cost lives unnecessarily.
Noynoy Aquino is no leader. What he has been is a cheerleader president, and a spin doctor. We needed a leader, a coach who will form his team members into a coherent unit with only one goal in mind: to be better than yesterday. Instead we got a buffoon who refuses to take responsibility for his bad decisions, who refuses to listen to criticism, who is utterly convinced of his own infallibility, and who is more pre-occupied with blaming everyone but himself for shortcomings that he should have had control of.
Oh, let’s not forget to mention that he trivializes the problems of this country by saying it would be boring if there weren’t any. But this statement is easily contradicted by the fact that the people don’t see effort, much less results, in the resolution of such problems.
Filipino society has been functioning like a headless chicken for quite some time now. All that hope that Filipinos pinned on BS Aquino to steer them in a direction towards change has been for naught. As it turns out, he is an advocate for the old ways because he is a part of the oligarchy who wishes to remain entrenched. So even if BS Aquino were to be benched indefinitely it wouldn’t matter; even if he is present, Filipinos still remain a wretched lot. He is better known and better off as an absentee president.
But then again, BS Aquino could just be the linchpin that does effect change in Filipino society, not because he did something good, but because the people will be utterly disgusted with him and the entrenched oligarchy that he represents.
Perhaps this is the legacy that he could think of leaving behind. A perfect example for future leaders of what not to do.
Will Filipinos however, learn from being burned once again, from picking the wrong type of government officials? That is the million-dollar question that aches for a resolution in this new year.
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