Where are we now? No one knows. We don’t know whether we are coming or going or how far we are in our journey to whatever was promised to the Filipino during President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III’s campaign. All we know for sure is that four years have passed since we elected ourselves a new president. Beyond that there is no way of knowing how much has been achieved (a) relative to an initial baseline and (b) relative to an aspired-for target.In other words, President BS Aquino: Where is the plan?
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How can you presume to lead if there is no goal to lead us to?
How can you presume to report to us if there is no baseline to report against?
How can you presume to take accountability when there are no specific initiatives defined as included in your reform agenda?
Without a plan:
(1) one cannot motivate;
(2) one cannot measure progress; and,
(3) one cannot take credit.
Perhaps, Mr President, not doing any of the above is your plan for your 2010-2016 government.
Seems the day of reckoning is arriving for the Second Aquino Presidency. The issue of whether or not the trumpeted economic gains we have been seeing supposedly under the “watch” of President BS Aquino are his to take credit for remains debatable. It seems that when Aquino crowed that all these were achieved under his “watch”, he was really taking himself quite literally — he literally just sat back and watched while the groundwork laid by his predecessor former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivering results.
David Pilling, Asia Editor of the Financial Times in his blog post Philippines: assessing the ‘key man’ risk raises the question of what happens after Aquino’s term ends in 2016. Pilling makes two assertions that bring to question Aquino’s place in history:
(1) Much of what the government of President BS Aquino had achieved over the last four years is primarily attributable to Arroyo’s legacy…
In truth, some of the macro-economic improvements have been the fruit of policy changes outside his administration, particularly at the central bank. Although his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was deeply unpopular and accused of overseeing a corrupt administration, much of the improvement in economic fundamentals can be dated to her government.
(2) Circumstance, perhaps more than policy, has driven economic growth…
Very healthy levels of remittances from abroad and strong domestic demand mean the economy is shielded more than most from external shocks. The country, where half the population is 24 or under, is entering the sort of “demographic sweet spot” that saw other Asian nations prosper.
While such pieces of insight are nothing new to people who apply a critical mind to evaluate facts rather than simply drink the political Kool Aid, it is only now that we are seeing more and more of the idea that Arroyo may, in fact, have made unpopular decisions that are now bearing fruit going mainstream.
Indeed, Arroyo herself, in her treatise on the subject of her contribution to nation building as President from 2001 through to 2010, has exhibited the grace to acknowledge the contributions of her own peers in history to put her achievements in proper perspective…
No amount of black propaganda can erase the tangible improvements enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of families liberated from want during my decade at the helm of the nation. But these accomplishments have simply been part of the continuum of history. The gains I achieved were built on the efforts of previous leaders. Each successive government must build on the successes and progress of the previous ones: advance the programs that work, leave behind those that don’t.
In contrast, President BS Aquino is anything but gracious. The main singular feature of his presidency is a continuous and rabidly monomanic effort to villify his predecessor, and claim all that is supposedly being achieved collectively by Filipinos today as outcomes of his government alone.
It’s easy, though, when you never had a plan much more a vision for the country to begin with. You merely only need latch on to whatever good fortune comes around the corner and spin tales about how that good fortune was the outcome of your wise “leadership”.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.