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.
 

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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THE country's 17th president delivered a good inaugural, a SONA that focused more on economics, put together an eight-point social agenda, and presented a budget message to the House of Representatives when the executive branch submitted its National Expenditure Program (NEP).

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"Since the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was passed into law, achieving peace has been the ultimate goal of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. This forged bureaucratic institution, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAP), known now as Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (Opapru), oversees the peace process and development in the Bangsamoro region. The Bangsamoro people aspire to return to their state of desired quality of life, participating economically and politically. Working together to achieve peace is fundamental to attain economic and political rights for an inclusive and developing Bangsamoro region."

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MUCH has been done at the feet of political campaigns. In order to win, branding and positioning are tools of the craft that have often used to capture the imagination of the voters. The 2016 elections taught us why authenticity was important because with it, candidates became close to the voters by being themselves; less luster and brilliance but appearing or sounding like voters gave candidates the chance to open the door and leave it ajar as the campaign progressed. Problems have croppped up when candidates positioned themselves according to some preconceived packaging so that the brand could shine or be made better. But fitting it to the candidate is the challenge. That is why some would rather be presented as is with less retouching and just plain persona. That is one of the strategies of PRRD that will have an influence in May 2022: who is authentic?

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A PRESIDENTIAL candidate once said that positions should not be inherited (hindi pinamamana). This mayor thought it would be a clear contrast and an early dig at a sitting president. If you look at the Philippines and other countries, there are dynastic influences whether at the national or local levels. Dynasties also fall because the nature of elections is one person, one vote. There are good and bad dynasties too. And that is what separates Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio from the rest of the kids of politicians: she does not want to be with her father in an election contest. It's either her or the father. It's her team or none. It's her way of running things or she walks away. Clearly, Duterte-Carpio does not want to be defined by anyone. Duterte-Carpio is her own person, and that is why today, she is not a presidential candidate.

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WHAT does it take to be president of this country? Why would a Mindanaoan, the first from the island, be seen in a very different light? Is it because we have often been used to looking at our country through the lens of Luzon? We are reminded of Gramsci's center-periphery model, a "spatial metaphor, which describes and attempts to explain the structural relationship between the advanced or metropolitan 'center' and less developed 'periphery'" either within a particular country or as applied in economic development." Then, there is also the "hegemonic culture" that propagates its own values and norms so that they become the "common sense" values of all and thus maintain the status quo.

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is doing battle on several fronts for the May 2022 elections: ensuring there is honest, orderly and peaceful elections by warning that he would use the military, getting ahead of the Commission on Elections, which technically has control over the military and police during the campaign period and on election day; signing his certificate of nomination and acceptance, and making the affair public for everyone to see that he is serious about running for vice president; and releasing the names of the administration's Senate slate.

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IT has often been the case that we ask learned individuals to understand the poor more, to empathize with the poor and be with them since the class D and E in the country constitute around 60 percent of the population. More and more, those with pedigrees and advanced education are not seen as being one of them. In 2016, we saw an outlier lord it over those who have prepared for the totem pole of their careers with the garish mayor from Davao being associated with ordinary Filipinos to the point. He talked, cursed and dressed like them as a presidential candidate. His speech was totally different, and he sounded different from those from Luzon.

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THE Philippines is 123 years old and in all these years, we have often worn the Luzon lens when we talk of the country; more so of the National Capital Region (NCR). There are people from Luzon who have not traveled to Mindanao because of the peace and order situation there and the preconceived notion that Mindanao is different from the rest of the country.

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