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By Oscar Franklin Tan
When President Benigno Aquino delivered his televised address on the pork barrel last Oct. 30, he probably hoped to channel US President Barack Obama’s “change is coming” speech. He fell frustratingly flat, instead recalling former President George W. Bush’s “you’re either with us or against us.”
Malacañang has only itself to blame for the massive flap it found itself in after fugitive businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles was allowed to surrender to President Benigno Aquino himself—right inside the Palace. What were the President’s men thinking? That it would burnish Mr. Aquino’s crime-fighting and corruption-busting credentials to have the country’s most wanted person surrender to him only hours after he announced a P10-million bounty on her head? That it would signal the Palace’s determination to ferret out the truth behind the festering pork barrel scandal, even at the cost of cheapening the Office of the President?
By Mahar Mangahas
The honeymoon continues. As of June 28-30, the satisfaction of Filipino adults with the performance of President Noynoy Aquino was 76 percent, compared to dissatisfaction of only 12 percent, for a Very Good net rating of +64, as reported by SWS on Sona day (“Aquino ratings rise,” BusinessWorld, 7/22/2013).
Amid criticism that the economic boom under the Aquino administration is one of “jobless growth” and not “inclusive,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan is saying that the government wants to see a “revival” of the local manufacturing sector.
I always fall into a state of disbelief every time I hear good news about the economy. Just like when news broke out that the Philippine “economy grew a stunning 7.8 percent.” Well, that could easily be taken as a good thing since that was the way it was reported. But most Filipinos probably reacted with raised eyebrows: “So?”
I imagine a mass serenade dedicated by thousands of Filipino “superold” veterans of World War II to President Aquino and his officials, regarding the long-unpaid Total Administrative Disability benefits mandated by Republic Act No. 7696 (An act amending certain sections of RA 6948 otherwise known as “An act standardizing and upgrading the benefits for military veterans and their dependents”). The serenade goes (with an old familiar tune) thus:
Three years ago President Aquino ran with the battle cry “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” (If there is no corruption, there will be no poverty). It served as the cornerstone of his “daang matuwid” (straight path) platform of governance. Halfway into his term, the President has achieved much, including the stellar economic growth that has earned the country an investment-grade credit status from Fitch Ratings.
By Conrado de Quiros
Only Cory Aquino did better, not just appearing in Time Magazine but on the cover of Time Magazine. Indeed, not just appearing on the cover of Time Magazine but appearing there five times. The first in February 1986 after the Edsa Revolution, the second (along with Doy Laurel) in March 1986 in a cover story titled, “Now for the hard part,” third in January 1987 as Time’s “Woman of the Year,” fourth in November 2006 as one of “60 Asian Heroes,” and fifth in August 2009 after her death as “The woman who changed Asia.”
No chief executive has been more frank and honest in addressing the perennial problem of power shortages in Mindanao than President Aquino is now. Just before the Holy Week break, the President told it as it is. The people and industries in Mindanao have very limited choices: Higher power rates or no electricity at all.
It’s quite ironic that while the Aquino administration has been going after former President Gloria Arroyo for the alleged misuse of PCSO funds even though it just couldn’t show any evidence to prove the crime, the present PCSO board of directors appointed by President Aquino has been found by the Commission on Audit to be misusing PCSO funds.
The truthfulness and reliability of the most recent survey results on the public approval and trust ratings of President Aquino have to be put into question. It is pretty doubtful that P-Noy has maintained good ratings in spite of an ongoing standoff in Sabah, which many believe P-Noy has been mishandling. That’s on top of the many other crises that the country is stumbling upon one after the other.
President Benigno Aquino’s handling of the Sabah situation has been dismal. First of all, how could a President lose a letter from a sultan? Was it really lost, or it’s just that President Aquino doesn’t care enough about it? But that was just the first error—everything that happened and has been happening after that just aggravated the crisis, and this is simply not acceptable.