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Philippine History Part IV – Teleserye. Edsa Traffic – 2010-2016.

ASMjf3188 10President Benigno Simeon Aquino III was elected in 2010. I was not particularly impressed by him from the beginning. Also because the media understated his achievements and overstated his mistakes. There are a number of things that come to mind. Social media postings made the round among my Facebook friends about:

  • the Hongkong bus massacre which was early in Aquino’s time. Not necessarily his responsibility or fault, but his PR did not fit an emotional people.
  • the pork barrel scandal. Strangely enough many postings blamed it on the Liberal Party, even if most were not from that party and PDAF existed before.
  • the Mamasapano massacre. Suddenly the Bangsamoro Basic Law became a focus of attention – the peace process no one had cared about for many years.

There are a number of other things that came to my attention, most especially:

  • the death of Jesse Robredo. Unfortunately all I read then were the absurd speculations of GRP about a possible connection to Puno and Mar Roxas.
  • Typhoon Yolanda. Here my perception was also shaped by what I had read at GRP or Get Real Philippines. Facts later made things look different.

There is an article by Mang Juan Republic on the Top 10 achievements and failures of the Aquino administration (link). My own list:

  1. K-12 is his major achievement which can, if it is not demolished by others, bring the Philippines out of the woods. It is more than just two years more – it is a comprehensive reform.
  2. His South China Sea initiatives and even controversial EDCA as well as AFP modernization are essential for the defense of the Philippines. No contesting that for me.
  3. The stuff under Secretary Abaya – NAIA, MRT was bad. His using Purisma for the failed Mamasapano operation, then not being at the airport for those that died under what he ordered.

Yolanda is hard to judge the entire picture. Some say recovery was fast, some say it was delayed. At least DOST Project NOAH might have been an indirect result of lessons learned from then.

Yes, DOST Projects – the DIWATA satellite, the DOST Roadtrain, the DOST AGT, even the hybrid electric train that PNR is now using, DOST IT projects to automate the government. Scientists. The 4Ps to help the poor overcome poverty. Probably not enough, quickly enough to combat crime. Not enough new roads maybe, but a lot of overhauls. But that isn’t good for a teleserye.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 29. June 2016

3 comments to Philippine History Part IV – Teleserye. Edsa Traffic – 2010-2016.


    A meme is doing the rounds of FB, saying former Pres. Noynoy Aquino has left our country a legacy that is, well, far superior, or at the very least, more tolerable than what Duterte could ever dream of leaving after the latter’s term is over.
    I know it’s PNoy’s birthday yesterday (Feb 8), but a lie is a lie in whatever shape or color it is presented.
    What legacy are you talking about when the Aquino administration left a little more than 30 journalists dead in its wake?
    United Nations special rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said in a report that “100 indigenous people were killed protecting their ancestral lands and environment over the past three years alone” (…).
    This was published in Sept. 2015. The same report said, “The Aquino government has had five years to act on the highly militarized large-scale mining industry that is almost inextricable from bloody counter-insurgency operational plans such as Oplan Bayanihan. Aquino himself has long been challenged to reverse his permission of Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary or SCAA units for mining corporations. Aquino and his military attack dogs continue to miserably fail to address their atrocities, and they all must be held to account for their grave sins to the people and the environment. But the urgent people’s demands still falls on the Aquino administration even during its last, dying days: all military investment defense forces must be pulled out from the mine-affected areas. All paramilitary groups must be disbanded. Swift justice must be delivered by immediately arresting and prosecuting the Magahat paramilitary forces and their superiors in the 36th IBPA. Last but not the least, all anti-people, anti-environment, foreign large-scale mining operations, especially those with track records of human rights violations, must be stopped.”
    That was the so-called Liangga massacre. What about the incident at Kidapawan where 3 farmers died that day and at least 30 fell wounded during a “militarized” dispersal by PNP officers? Farmers asked for grain and they received bullets in return. Aquino did nothing where lumad lands and rapacious mining companies were concerned during his six-year stint as President.
    Let’s not even go to the incident surrounding the deaths of SAF44 and, of course, the bloody history of Hacienda Luisita. Are we forgetting the DAP and PDAF scandals?
    Murder by government’s unwritten policy is one murder too many. How many must die before we consider one’s administration worse than the other? This is not a number’s game.
    It’s also unfair to our sense of what is just to sweep all this under the rug just because we hate the blood lust of the current administration and its endless stupid ranting.
    True, Aquino and Duterte are very different presidents.
    Let’s not forget, however, that they share one thing in common, whether by sin of commission or omission makes no difference: both their hands are stained with the blood of innocent Filipinos.
    Thus, that stupid claim to a bright and shining legacy is no better than used toilet paper.


    1st SONA – July 26, 2010 Some issues before the SONA: Opening of the 15th Congress, calls for investigation of alleged corruption during the Arroyo administration

    For his first SONA, Aquino focused on exposing irregularities allegedly committed by the previous administration. He claimed that some government agencies were overflowing with funds, while the whole nation suffered from a limited budget.

    He specified the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, saying that agency officials and some employees were earning huge amounts of salaries and allowances. Even the MWSS Board of Trustees, he said, was also receiving huge amounts in salaries and multiple benefits.

    He also mentioned the creation of a Truth Commission, supposed to be headed by former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide. It was envisioned to investigate the alleged corruption under the Arroyo administration. Aquino said he was about to sign the week of his SONA an Executive Order creating the Truth Commission.

    2nd SONA – July 25, 2011 Some issues before the SONA: Manila hostage crisis, supposed impeachment (and later resignation) of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez

    Aquino began his second SONA by highlighting his campaign to fight the “utak wang-wang” mentality in the government, which is characterized by abuse among corrupt officials.

    He announced in his speech the appointment of former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales as the new Ombudsman, to replace former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who resigned in May 2011 before she was expected to face an impeachment trial at the Senate.

    Just like in his previous SONA, Aquino continued to expose corrupt practices under the Arroyo administration. One of these was the billion-peso budget for coffee alone by the past management of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

    Aquino also reacted to the tension between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea, and expressed interest in bringing the dispute to the United Nations (UN) International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

    3rd SONA – July 23, 2012 Some issues before the SONA: Scarborough Shoal standoff, Corona impeachment, arrest of Arroyo

    Aquino boasted about economic gains under his leadership. He claimed these gains were the result of government reforms that included cutting wasteful spending and making corrupt officials accountable for their acts.

    One of the most applauded parts of his speech was when he referred to “responsible parenthood” as a solution to backlogs in education. Though Aquino did not specifically mention the controversial reproductive bill (RH), his speech was regarded as an indirect approval and endorsement of the measure.

    He also urged Congress to approve the sin tax bill, which was eyed to generate P32 billion in revenues annually from cigarettes and alcohol. At the time, the House of Representatives had already passed the bill on final reading.

    4th SONA – July 22, 2013 Some issues before the SONA: opening of the 16th Congress, signing of the K to 12 law, signing (and delaying implementation) of the RH law

    Aquino shifted his administration’s focus from anti-corruption to “inclusive growth” in his SONA, and vowed that his government would continue focusing on improving the lives of the poor.

    Aquino discussed in his SONA the status of the distribution of Hacienda Luisita – a “favorite topic” of his critics. He said the distribution of titles to qualified farmer beneficiaries was supposed to be completed by September 2013, as reported by Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Gil Delos Reyes.

    He also singled out government officials for alleged incompetence and corruption, and criticized the performance of the Bureau of Immigration (BI), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and Bureau of Customs (BOC).

    5th SONA – July 28, 2014 Some issues before the SONA: PDAF and DAP, low trust approval ratings of Aquino, Zamboanga siege, Yolanda rehabilitation

    Under fire over recent controversies, particularly due to his defense of the hotly-debated Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), an emotional Aquino appealed to supporters, hit back at his critics, and reminded the public to choose somebody who will continue his reforms after his term ends in 2016.

    Aquino apologized for delays in the relocation program for people displaced during the siege of Zamboanga City in September 2013, and lauded government response during the onslaught and in the aftermath of, Super Typhoon Yolanda. He also confirmed he had approved rehabilitation plans for affected local government units – close to 8 months after the super typhoon.

    Aquino also boasted that his administration had awarded 7 public-private partnership projects (PPPs), more than the number of projects implemented by the previous administrations.

    [BIR] Commisioner Kim Henares spared no tax evader. 380 cases have already been filed against those who attempted to evade taxes.
    We were told that there are enough classrooms, but it turns out, there are four shifts of classes. Some come to school before dawn and other go home from school past dusk. But all of them were left in the dark because of insufficient class hours.
    There are those who say I have blinders to the people who have long been with us on the straight path […] Am I the one with blinders or those who see only the ugliness [in our efforts]?
    The criticism of those who oppose us say we are slow [on change], that if they become president, life will surely be better. For those older, our answer is, ‘Ah ganoon,’ while raising our eyebrows. For the youth, there is a different answer to the statement, ‘Eh ‘di wow.’
    At [my mother’s] wake, someone approached and suggested that I run for the presidency. My response: I am not a masochist.
    I believe Commissioner Kim Henares is kind, but those she filed cases against have a different opinion. She has not spared any tax evader. She has also established an efficient tax payment system and made sure everybody is aware of their duty to contribute to the country’s progress.
    There is something wrong with giving one corrupt family or individual the opportunity to keep themselves in power. That thinking, too, is the reason why when there were those who wanted me to keep my post – even for just three more years – I objected. We cannot be sure of those who will lead next have good intentions, or if they just want to rule forever for their own interests. It’s time to pass the Anti-Dynasty Law.
    There are people still asking, ‘Where are the results of the [Pantawid Pamilyang Program]?’ Our answer to that: Do they think that the [program] is like a magic tablet that if drunk by [kindergarteners], they will be in college in few hours? Let’s help them count […] K to 12 is 13 years while my term is only six years. It’s obvious who are those [who need help counting].
    We have seen the worst example in November 2009 when 58 Filipinos were slain in Maguindanao. Just thinking about it is wrong. Bu [the Ampatuans] did it anyway. But the worst thing is, they believed they can get away with it because they are in government offices.
    I will let history be the judge. Just like in the wake of my mother, I quote from the second book of Timothy chapter 4, verse 7: ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ My bosses, we came from a situation where our country was blanketed by darkness. We were not sure if light would shine again. [Now] we are greeted by the sunrise of righteousness and opportunities.


      ..First among the problems identified by the World Bank post-Yolanda was that, “with the scale and impact” of the typhoon, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) was “not an appropriate vehicle for coordinating a response, rehabilitation and recovery effort.”..

      ..So the Philippines needs to establish a national disaster risk reduction and management agency with a “stronger mandate to coordinate, plan, finance, implement and monitor all DRRM interventions—prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, risk reduction and resilience, and rehabilitation and recovery,” according to the World Bank..

      ..It also did not help that “coordination issues in the response, rehabilitation and recovery interventions were glaring,” especially between the national and local governments, according to the lender..

      ..It blamed the “severe delays” in the implementation of rehabilitation and recovery projects on a “national-centric” implementation system.

      “The national government agencies were mandated to implement all recovery projects in the affected areas without additional staff complement and funding. This task was on top of their regular agency mandates and deliverables,” it said.

      To solve implementation bottlenecks and speed up recovery, the lender said it was necessary to adopt implementation arrangements that allowed local governments and communities to actively participate and implement reconstruction projects with technical and financial support from national government agencies..

      ..The government also “[lacked] basic guidelines on how emergency procurement is applied,” while “an integrated public financial management system caused delays in the procurement and implementation of rehabilitation and recovery interventions,” the World Bank said.

      “The Philippine Procurement Act and its implementing rules and regulations provide a general provision for negotiated procurement or emergency procurement in times of disasters or emergency. However, the national government agencies and local government units are cautious in applying this mode of procurement without specific guidelines for fear of the Commission on Audit sanctions and disallowance,” it said..

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