The Remaining 20 Months

Recently, the Aquino cabinet met to have a compact that they will work doubly hard in the next 20 months.  They called it a Performance Pledge.  

Recently, the Aquino cabinet met to have a compact that they will work doubly hard in the next 20 months.  They called it a Performance Pledge.  Why do we feel its all part of propaganda? Because Performance Pledges are often made at the beginning of an administration such as in Indonesia and Singapore, where it all started.  In our case, why don’t we just have an honest to goodness CSW in the last 20 months so that decisions are based on efficient processing of needed information to arrive at sound decisions instead of half-baked ones like the energy “crisis”.

Twenty months is like November 2014 to June 2016 when actually its just 2 months in 2014, 9 months in 2015 before the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) scheduled on October 2015 or a total of 11 months and we are being kind since by practice, work ends by 15 December almost every year.  That really leaves the Aquino administration 10 months of focus on real work.

What issues/policies will define this period? We have the pending FOI measure passed in the Senate but still floundering aimlessly in the House.  Will the House leadership and the BSA3 look kindly on the Disclosure Bill of Rep. Leni Robredo instead? Or would the House act on the Senate version to get FOI enacted?  There has been no political reform approved by the 16th Congress.  Anti-Dynasty was positioned as a way to obliterate DAP but again it is pending in the legislative maze.  The BBL is another hot button issue since one of the legacy of BSA3, peace in Mindanao, is dependent on the passage of BBL.  The competition measure is another crucial policy needing speedy action. 

Then there is Tacloban and the areas ruined by Yolanda where rehab has been moving in a snail phase.  There is Bohol, which is still in rebuilding phase after the strong earthquake. The energy crisis has been contained, thanks for technocrats reading scenarios correctly.  And of course, the most watched biddings or re-biddings such as: MRT3’s rehabilitation and maintenance, CALAX, among others. Then there is the court case by SM Prime Holdings Inc. against the government over the LRT-MRT common station, the delayed NLEX-SLEX connector road, the port mess and add to that the basics: peace and order, traffic and floods, vehicle plates, colorum vehicles and so much more.

Again by tradition, every major decision is on hold after the filing of the COC.  Campaign kicks in formally by February to May 2016 thus the last State of the Nation Address of BSA3 will be on July 2015.  As we inch towards Elections 2016, more and more we will see full blast politics considering the Liberal Party (LP) has not yet made hay way with its sentimental favorite, Mar Roxas.  Would LP have an open convention and embrace its sentimental favorite? How would BSA3 endorse his candidate? Would it be an actual announcement? Will he barnstorm for his anointed one? Will he allow the use of government money, machinery and PCOS to ensure the victory of his anointed one? Would the US intervene just like in 2010?  So much questions and indications point to a messy 2016.

Meanwhile, the Nacionalista Party (NP) of former Senate President Manny Villar is doing the damaging attacks on Vice President Binay.  Learning from the attacks Villar got in 2010 and led by its two young members, supposedly their vaunted stars, Senators Cayetano and Trillanes, one wonders what is the game plan of NP.  Already, Cayetano has floated the idea of a LP-NP partnership in 2016.  But that means the Marcos side of the NP will have to agree.  Interestingly, Villar is also a survey-guided politician and if the numbers of Binay does not breach the 25% mark, how would NP play their cards?  Right now, they are the ones on a win-win situation with attack dogs (Cayetano and Trillanes) unleashed to do the shooting down for the LPs and another NP (Gov. Johnvic Remulla) being tapped as spox for Binay.

Unless we have a burst of real property bubble happening by 2015, our economy appears to have been detached from the daily political snipping and this is not because of the so-called “lost decade” reference made by BSA3.  In fact, the reality of the situation is that BSA3 is reaping the seeds planted by GMA.  Good thing former Finance Secretary Gary Teves showed to all where BSA3 kept denying himself of the reality under GMA.

Teves said “the Arroyo administration and Department of Finance had initiated several positive reforms that are now benefitting the Philippine economy until today.” When the Fitch Ratings upgraded the Philippines credit rating to BBB- from BB+ in March, 2013, it noted that it was “improvements in fiscal management” started by GMA that made general government debt dynamics more resilient to shocks.

Teves said the former president should be credited for her prudent management of the national government debt and the passage of legislation in support of financial market development.  Arroyo absorbed severe public criticisms when she pursued the passage of the reformed Value-Added Tax (VAT) that contributed to the strong fiscal performance of the country and eventually, resulted into credit outlook upgrades from negative to stable during the Arroyo administration and positive shortly after July, 2010, when GMA stepped out of Malacañang.  The former CEO of the IT and Business Processing Association of the Philippines, Oscar R. Sanez, also came out in public to assail Aquino’s “lost decade” accusation against Arroyo. Sanez further stated that Arroyo was the driving force behind the success of the BPO industry.

The last 20 months will also tell us how this administration will deal with the 3 Senators in jail and GMA herself.  Of course, the much awaited ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) on the reconsideration of the DAP is taking too long to make for an “overreaching SC.”  We should not coast along like what some are doing.

About the Author
Malou Tiqiua is the Founder/General Manager of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. A noted political management expert in the Philippines and Asia, she brings over 20 years of professional experience in public, private and the academe combined. Author of the comprehensive book on electoral campaigns in the Philippines, "Campaign Politics", Malou is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Political Science degree and a Master of Public Administration. She completed her second master's degree (MA in Political Management) from the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University.
Other Articles