President 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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