PolWonk is a conjugation of three words policy, political and wonk which, in various aspects have been associated with the career and training she had over the years. PolWonk sums up her interests and advocacies. It is a weekly column, appearing every Fridays, in The Lobbyist

PolWonk is a conjugation of three words policy, political and wonk which, in various aspects have been associated with the career and training she had over the years. PolWonk sums up her interests and advocacies. It is a weekly column, appearing every Fridays, in The Lobbyist.
 

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been on eight foreign trips in the seven months of his term. As the country's Top Salesman, it is one thing to make a pitch for the country and discuss his plans to foreigners. But it is another thing, albeit most important, to create a policy environment in support of opening the economy of the country. This can only be made with a certain, stable and predictable policy regime that makes clear to all potential investors the governing laws prevailing in the country, with impacts and unintended consequences measured and assessed, respectively.

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EVERY Filipino voter would want to have a successful president because his success is the success of the nation, which means a better life for all. But success is hard to come by if basic stomach issues are not attended to by a president who designated himself as his secretary of agriculture. Even the importation during harvest time came late as it is, even as Nueva Ecija was flooded causing an early harvest.

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THE economic team of the Marcos administration gave stability and coherence to a Philippines exposed to Covid and VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). That it was the first to be named and members of which were suggested by then BSP governor Benjamin Diokno was a very bold move. All talking in one language, rowing in one direction with agreement readily had was welcoming in the light of the need to reboot and rebuild, not from where we were before but toward a new direction and hopefully, a better development model for the country.

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WHY should we worry about a strategic first strike by the United States? Why should the country be drawn to a scenario of preventing a competitor from achieving parity with or surpassing the US in economic, technological and military terms? Why should we be alarmed of the US conducting a preventive war? We all have lessons to learn from Ukraine, NATO and encircling Russia and threatening its survival. We all know that the number of deaths are not NATO forces or Russian but more and more Ukrainians are at the core of the destruction. So these questions of why are material to any talks on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Why should we fight the war of the US? Is it in our interest to do so?

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LEADERS will have to take hold of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in light of the recent Basilan and Cotabato ambushes because the perpetrators are said to be young recruits of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with which we have a standing peace agreement. This does not augur well since we are already on the last mile if you will go with the implementation of the peace process. Still, the list of codes passed by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, or BTA, will have to be subjected to a midterm audit, which should have been done first before rearranging the composition of the second parliament of the BTA which was inaugurated last September 2022, with the President himself going to Cotabato City for the ceremonial opening.

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THE peace process for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was settled in 2017 with the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (Republic Act [RA] 11054 or BOL) and the plebiscite in 2019. Then RA 11593 extended the transition to 2025.

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IN this day and age of technology and digital platforms, community feedback is important to feel government's care for constituents. Before even considering digitization for the whole bureaucracy, it is critical that a feedback mechanism be in place. Complaints and feedback are a community engagement hub; without it, the people/taxpayers who are customers are not part of governance. With the hub, it helps government understand what is working well, whether changes need to be made and makes the people/taxpayers feel that they are important to the administration in power.

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AFTER divisiveness in the latter part of the Aquino-Binay term and years of antagonizing the chief ex-ecutive officer of PH Inc. from 2016 to 2022, it seems that in the first 100 days, a common working front is felt. We can see cooperation and teamwork between President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (PBBM) and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio (VPSZDC). The VP knows her place and there is no upstaging happening in the first 100 days.

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WHAT is the plan of the country in reopening the economy? Is it tourism? Or maintain the perennial drivers: OFW and BPO? Do we remain a service economy, a creative economy or do we decide to provide first for the 110 million Filipinos with life sustenance before we even dream of being an industrial nation.

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The Presidential Communication Team, composed by the attached agencies of Office of the Press Secretary, has a crucial role in cascading the vital information to different government agencies from national to local level. Its communication apparatus is weakened by the advocacy of prioritizing vloggers than mainstream. Thus, the government network must fulfill its primal duty for the people: to deliver information and provide updates, especially during calamities as trust and accountability are valuable assets in communication.

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IN a landscape of toxicity and mistrust, how do you begin to govern? First is putting together a team of professionals whose sole purpose in recruitment is to be of assistance to the leader, to provide systems and approaches to solve problems, to work as a team so the leader can attend to the macro needs while the details are ironed out.

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THERE are several loose ends in the sudden decision of the Senate blue ribbon committee to end its inquiry into the sugar importation mess. Its committee report — released last September 8, with 14 of the 17 members signing the report and a dissenting vote from Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel 3rd — recommended the filing of anti-graft, anti-agricultural smuggling charges and a count of usurpation, against the four individuals who signed the questionable SRO 4. The sudden reversal of what appeared to be a mess left some critical loose ends: delegated authority issued by the executive secretary last July 15, 2022, the demurrage, the status of Agriculture undersecretary/chief of staff Leocadio Sebastian.

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