Wednesday, June 22, 2011

PNoy: 4 H and the E-Gen

During the last Presidential elections I had this to say as I announced my support for Noynoy Aquino:

I belong to what I call 4H and E-Generation. I am one of those who want a President who brings Honesty, Humility, Honor and Hope to his job. I am one who is deeply concerned with Education, Economic growth (employment, entrepreneurship, equity expansion), Electronic media or communications, Environment, Empowerment, Enlightenment, Energy Independence, Excellent Health Care, Electoral Reforms and Effective Security Force.

My horse has the breeding I want. From Cory, he inherited Honesty and Humility. From Ninoy, he got Hope and martyrdom. From both, he will bring Honor to his country. On the reforms needed to satisfy the E-Generation, he has a built-in Platform of Government. It is a product of the People Power revolution, written by wise men personally chosen by CORY, and approved, ratified and therefore, co-owned by the Filipino people. It is clear, brief and concise. It is executable, enforceable, mandatory and supreme. It is backed by implementing statutes, adhering legislation, accompanying executive orders, regulations and jurisprudence. It is protected and defended by the Armed Forces and police agencies as well as adhered to by every executive, legislative and judicial officer. It is the CORY CONSTITUTION. Others are encouraged to adopt it too but at this point of our history, the best person trusted to execute, enforce, obey, protect and defend it, is Cory’s son, NOYNOY.”

Noynoy is now PNoy – a name that carries major responsibilities, endowed with tremendous powers and resources but requires the greatest, noblest and an almost infinite, indefinable commitment.

Indeed, the hopes and aspirations of an almost desperate people lie on a leader who is perceived as honest, humble and honorable.

Such hope and expectation was reflected initially in a favorable rating so high it is impossible to hold. After about a year at the Presidential helm, understandably his ratings came down to 64%.

The political critics or what my barber calls, “negativists” focused on the fact that it came down - from “extremely high” to “very high”. The latter differs from a “positivist” who claims that based on the latest survey, the chances of a politician improved from “none” to “slim”.

When President Barack Obama announced the killing of Osama Bin Laden, his favorable went up to 52% after a few days. The Democrats and his political consultants were ecstatic. The media was predicting Obama to be unbeatable in his re-election campaign.

PNoy gets 64% and his critics say he is failing? Viewed another way is, with ratings like that, his chances of failing changed from none to slim.

PNoy’s presidency did not really start in full gear from Day 1. He had to form a team beset with initial problems caused by intense lobbying and pressure from all sectors and interest groups. He also had to deal with a bureaucracy and a judiciary that were installed and nurtured by the corrupt previous administration and protected by civil service and other laws.

The first few months were mostly learning experiences that generated good achievements. He formed a team composed of mostly honest, humble, honorable and dedicated men and women. His Justice team led by Secretary de Lima is incorruptible; his Finance and Economic team of Secretaries Purisima (Finance), Panderanga (NEDA), Abad (Budget) and Domingo (Trade) are all men of unquestioned integrity and honesty; his Infrastructure team of Secretaries de Jesus, now Roxas (DOTC) and Singson (Public Works) also have a record of honest and untainted performance; his Local government team led by Secretary Robredo, a Magsaysay Awardee has a reputation for honesty and integrity; and his Social Services Team of Secretary Soliman and PCSO Chief Juico are also known as dedicated and honest public servants.

Of course, his Education team of Secretaries Luistro (Education) and Licuanan (CHED) are undeniably competent and honest. Even the Chair of COA (which is an independent Constitutional Commission) Heidi Mendoza  is a courageous and honest fighter; the team in PCGG composed of idealistic young lawyers is led by incorruptible Dean Bautista.

I do not know the other members of the PNoy team personally but if those that I mentioned are any indication, I trust that they are of the same caliber.

But my point really is, with a team like the above, there is a greater probability of achieving the goals of “Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap”.

Let us look at the economic front under PNoy. Former NEDA Secretary Cielito Habito under the Ramos Administration coined the word “Aquinomics” to describe the economic situation under Aquino. He says that “economics of business confidence” is currently driving the economy under Aquino’s leadership. Over the past four quarters, growth in private domestic investment has been consistently surging, based on the quarterly National Income Accounts. This investment surge comes after many years of relative stagnation.........What is remarkable about the investment growth we are seeing lately is that it comes in the face of a significant drop in foreign direct investments (FDI). And yet, overall investment has jumped 37 percent, implying that domestic investments must have jumped by much more, far overcoming the foreign investment decline. What makes it even more remarkable is that the public component of domestic investment (government construction) also suffered a deep decline of 37.3 percent. Again, private domestic investments must have increased so much that not even this steep fall prevented total investment from surging the way it did.”

Habito, who was a very successful Economic Secretary of Ramos further says that Aquinomics could also stand for “economics of fiscal responsibility”. He went on to explain that Aquino’s government has been on an “underspending” spree resulting in a rare budget surplus instead of the usual budget deficit. “They have found that they don’t have to spend as much as the former government would have, to accomplish as much. He specified Secretary Rogelio Singson’s Public Works and Highways department as “one of the biggest culprits in underspending. For one thing, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has significantly reduced allowable “indirect costs,” including contractors’ profit margins (and quite likely the so-called “bukol”), in public works projects. Coupled with a strict policy on transparent public bidding, the agency boasts of more than P2 billion in savings from 2,797 projects over the past year.”

While other departments are reducing costs, the Finance Department of Secretary Cesar Purisima through the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs have increased their collections in record numbers since almost a decade.

A substantial number of tax evasion cases and investigations have also been filed and /or initiated.

You cannot but conclude that these initial achievements are the results of good and honest governance. I hope to be able say, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet”, but only time will tell.

If the 4Hs (Honesty, Humility, Honor, Hope) continue to permeate body and spirit of PNoy and his team in the next few years, “Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap”, could happen sooner than we expect.

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