My teacher used to shout “finished or not finished, pass your papers” as we hurriedly tried to cram in answers to questions during written exams in grade school. The same situation awaits President Aquino come June 2016. There will always be unfinished tasks and unfulfilled promises in a politician’s term but eighteen (18) long months away there is still time to act before the final bell rings.
President Aquino has inspired many with his honesty and sincere desire to rid the government of corruption. It is only during his term that a Supreme Court Chief Justice was impeached and erring Senators were jailed. He gets an A+ for his “Tuwid na Daan” crusade.
There are however major infrastructure issues that he should address (or at the least lay the groundwork for) before his term ends.
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#1 NAIA, my favorite pet peeve and one of the world’s worst airports
I went through NAIA last November on my way home. I could not help but stare at the P550 passenger service charge receipt I had when I was seated on the plane. I do not remember ever paying such a fee at any airport I have been to. (My company’s expense reporting system does not even have an item for such an expense!) How in the world can the NAIA airport collect $12 and still be ranked as one of the worst airport’s in the world?
Our international airports are used by at least 15 million passengers (half of them OFWs) yearly. 15 million multiplied by $12 is a whopping $180,000,000 per year. Where in the world does the money go? There is something obscenely wrong here. (The airport service fee has been levied on every airport passenger for more than 25 years!)
NAIA bears the president’s father’s name. On behalf of the OFW’s, Mr. President please have a concrete plan (not just face-lifts or structural improvements at NAIA 1) to address the situation.
#2 A Looming Power Crisis
A friend who lives in Angeles City has readied a generator just in case there is a recurrence of the circa 1990s power outages. The former energy secretary was apprised of the looming shortage of power as early as 2010. Again, there does not seem to be a concrete plan to address the energy situation. This issue has wide repercussions on our surging services industry. The emergency powers that the president now seeks to address in addressing the power crisis would not be necessary had the issue been addressed and acted on early in his term.
#3 Broad Band
It has been some years since the ZTE broad band controversy. There does not seem to be an alternative proposal to address the poor state of the government’s IT infrastructure. This is not only primordial for global competitiveness, it is needed for operational efficiency and a means to improve services to the “bossing’s” (a.k.a. Filipino people).
Bonus Points (to be earned if time permits)
Please review the performance of the people tasked with alleviating the plight of the Yolanda victims. Let us measure the results delivered by governement agencies and develop a system for addressing future calamities.
Some say that 6 years is too long for a bad president and a bit short for a good president. You have been good Mr. President, but as in grade school “finished or not finished you have to pass your papers” (by June 2016)!
The author visits his family and friends in the Philippines every year. He plans to retire in the Philippines.