“Slogans Ring Hallow”

Good Morning Philippines
For Wednesday/ Nov. 2, 2011

A first week of September SWS survey released a couple of days ago showed that one of every five Filipinos have experienced hunger or not having food to eat in the last three months. That translates to about 4.3 Million families going hungry “often” in the last 3 months while those that experienced hunger “once or a few times” in the same period numbered 3.6 million families. The 4.3M families going hungry “often or always” represents the 21.5% recorded by the SWS survey which is 7.5% higher than the average 14% of the last 13 years, or the administrations of Erap and GMA combined. This reflects badly on the contentious issue of the very costly Conditional Cash Transfer program of the Aquino government aimed at alleviating poverty among the poorest of the poor. For those that were hesitant to endorse that dole-out program but decided to give it a try, they are now most likely to have a change of mind. These figures, coupled with a projected year-end growth of 4.3%, a looming world wide recession emanating from both Europe and the US, and for the LGU’s, a 4.3% reduction in their IRA’s for the coming year, paint a gloomy picture for the Philippines in 2012. Parallel to that is a political divide among Filipinos that seems to have grown even wider due to the perceived persecution of his predecessor and his refusal to allow the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, contrary to surveys that show a majority of the populace in favor of a “hero’s burial,” and a Congressional Resolution signed by 2/3 of the members of the Lower House urging the President to allow the controversial burial.

In addition to these foreseen woes waiting to descend upon this administration is a developing schism between the military and the President as a result of a perception by the military rank and file of a Commander in Chief unsympathetic towards the recent massacre of Philippine soldiers in various parts of Mindanao, Basilan, Zamboanga and Cotobato specifically, where a total of about 30 soldiers have been killed in a span of only two weeks. All of these point to a coming end to the honeymoon between the Palace and the majority of Filipinos and the start of a more critical populace demanding more from the President after more than 500 days in office.

Newly coined slogans coming from Malacanang spokespersons and the President himself are ringing more hallow these days because there is nothing to substantiate these messages. The economy is faltering, the twin NPA/MILF insurgencies have become more robust, and corruption is still very much part of the daily grind of people in dealing with government. The President has raised the bar in good governance, accountability, and transparency and so far, has only managed to set himself up for a big crash landing if things don’t change for the better sooner than later. There is no better time than now for P-Noy to shed the symbolic yellow ribbon constantly pinned on his shirt, and decide to become President of the Philippines and not just of his “yellow supporters;” the number of supporters will surely be dwindling in the coming months the way it had happened to his late mother as more people became disillusioned with the lack of progress brought about by her Presidency.


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