People's Domain

[Opinion] Falling on the same trap

Boyet is one among the many who campaigned to vote for Noynoy Aquino in the 2010 elections. An urban poor most of his life and who earns a living as a jeepney driver, Boyet was convinced that the election was a good opportunity to support a candidate with untarnished integrity in public service.

For Boyet, Noynoy is not corrupt and will never engage in corrupt activities. If ever he will participate in corrupt dealings in government as an elected president, Ninoy and Cory will rise from their graves, he shared jokingly.

There are many Filipinos who have expressed similar points of view like that of Boyet. His opinion was not only limited to his sector but also shared by those in the middle and upper economic classes of our society. There was indeed a mixture of people coming from different backgrounds and with different ideologies that somehow shared a common support for Noynoy. This alone can illustrate the broad support that Noynoy has gathered.

Last Monday, I incidentally bumped with Boyet after President Noynoy Aquino delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA). Boyet was fresh from his “SONA experience” after he watched the live coverage over television in a nearby carinderia. Me, on the other hand, was able to view bits and pieces of the address and opted for an emailed copy of the SONA.

Aware of his support for PNoy, I asked him about his positive assessment points of the Pnoy’s speech. Surprisingly, I did not receive the same intense reaction of support and instead got some statements of disappointment. Indeed, after victory are great expectations. Excluding the drive against corruption, many could not point out the distinct characteristics the Aquino administration possesses which make it different from the previous one. Its economic priorities alone reveal a pattern of continuity from the strategy of Mrs. Arroyo especially that it follows the same fundamentals comprised mostly of international competitiveness and providing the lead role in the private sector.

This is illustrated in PNoy’s adoption of the “seven winner industries” formulated by the Joint Chambers of Commerce of the Philippines and integrated in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP). The PDP outlines the Aquino administration’s priorities from 2011 to 2016 and which highlights that with international competitiveness, investment and employment growth are achievable. These so-called winner industries are business process outsourcing, agribusiness, mining, foreign-oriented tourism, manufacturing for exports, creative industries for exports, and infrastructures.

In the regional level, I was able to participate in the regional consultation for the formulation of the PDP and could not help but notice its inclination to favor private businesses through the Public-Private-Partnership. At the outset, the one who participates in this kind of processes will realize that the PNoy administration is moving towards the same path undertaken by Mrs. Arroyo which provides importance to gaining confidence of the private sector rather than addressing human development issues.

This framework will put to the backburner the people’s domestic needs for food, clothing, shelter, educational materials, medicines and health services. With the export of labor policy at the forefront, I believe that the so-called ‘winner industries’ cannot fully stimulate a real start to full employment of our people.

The nine-year rule of Mrs. Arroyo was characterized by a government conceding its role of economic development to the private sector. What it did was to put government in a position disadvantageous to the people as government become facilitator or regulator of private business.

This is the reason why one year into the Aquino administration many of our marginalized sectors and the likes of Boyet could not feel that we are moving forward or that, we, as a society, is moving an inch closer to progress. If the same policies will prevail then we are anticipating more statements of disappointment from the likes of Boyet in the coming days.

If PNoy will implement the same plans; we are expecting the same old results. The same policies will yield the same miseries. Are we falling in the same trap? (Misreadings, The News Today, 28 July 2011)

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