Boracay's white beach

Boracay's white beach
Taken infront of Seawind Resort (2001)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This was written by an uncle of mine.

100 days silly
Leandro V. Coronel

The practice of grading a nation's President after 100 days in office is a silly idea. To ask for "concrete" results in that short time is loony.

But this practice continues here. President Aquino has just finished his first 100 days in office. And everyone and his uncle have graded him, many of them giving the Chief Executive a failing mark.

But how could any executive or leader produce results in three months? That is why this practice is silly which, by the way, we adopted from the Americans. It was originally a "honeymoon" period to give a new officeholder breathing room to get settled in his or her new job.

PNoy's (his pop-culture name) critics have gone to town declaring him to be a failure after three months. From the Left and from the Right have come criticism. He hasn't done this, he hasn't done that. He hasn't made any reforms.

Can anyone "make" reforms in 100 days? Reforms aren't "made," they take time, years, to take form and to transform anything, this time a government and a nation.

So, is it unfair for critics to flagellate PNoy for "failing" after 100 days?

I think it's too soon to judge a leader, or anyone for that matter, for being on the job for three months. In the real world, new employees are given at least six months to show their worth. One year is probably more reasonable a time to give someone who's new on the job.

Your "Observer" thinks it's more reasonable to look for policy directions rather than concrete results after 100 days.

So, has Noynoy set policy directions that would take the country to a new way of doing things, to a new mode of governing, to a new ethic in leadership?

The answer is yes. PNoy has been able to put in place initiatives aimed at demolishing institutional and individual structures of corruption that had flourished in the immediate past. The Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs have joined hands in going after big-time tax evaders.

Aquino has gone after government-related corporations whose managers have been lavishing themselves with obscene perks and privileges, to the detriment of the lowly rank and file. The President has abolished government units that haven't been functioning well or have no legitimate claim to existence in the first place.

The new government has stopoped or is reviewing financially questionable projects or deals consummated during the previous administration.

Aquino has invited the private sector to take a partnership role with the government in pushing broader economic development.

These are policy directions that set the tone of the new government's pledge to bring down entrenched bulwarks of official corruption and set the tone for a new way of doing public business.

There have been major setbacks that marred the government's public image. The hostage-taking in August has given the Aquino government a damaging black-eye around the world. The Hong Kong tourists died tragically and unnecessarily, something more expert hands could probably have prevented.

A general aura of ineptness and incompetence has pervaded the Aquino administration. This requires immediate and decisive action by the President to get his and his people's acts together to right the unsteady ship of State. The public perception is that PNoy hasn't been firm and decisive enough in making his subordinates toe his official line. There is rumored infighting among Cabinet members this early in the Aquino administration.

Mr. Aquino has to take a reality check about what's going on in his inner circle if he wants to get his government really going. Failing to curb the squabbling and crack the whip to spur action and performance among his men will spell doom for him. It would be a long six years if he doesn't act with dispatch and with determination.

PNoy came to office on the crest of massive popular acceptance and well-wishing. He cannot afford to dissipate this unquantifiable goodwill and still succeed.

Noynoy's great asset is his honesty, personal incorruptibility, humility and simple lifestyle. This is what keeps him popular and trusted among the people.

Despite his critics' vociferousness, the people in general have given the President high marks for his performance in his first 100 days. This is in contrast to his critics' failing grade. Who is right and who is wrong?

One is inclined to believe that the people are correct this time. They're willing to give PNoy time before they hand down their verdict on his performance, which is the reasonable tack to take.

Grading someone after three months is plain silly. Setting a performance bar at 100 days is an artificial and unreasonable benchmark. The people are being more generous and commonsensical.

Is it possible PNoy has spoiled the people with his accessibility and willingness to engage in dialogue with them and the media? Aquino is a welcome relief from his predecessor who was often aloof and elusive. Is it possible his simple style and good-naturedness have emboldened his critics to be more vocal?

Mr. Aquino's first 100 days have been blustery, if not yet stormy. He has his work cut out for him. Let's hope, for the sake of the nation, he knows this and makes the necessary changes while it's still early.