PNoy's 1st year: Pros and cons

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 30 2011 09:08 PM | Updated as of Jul 01 2011 03:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Allies of former President and now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are not the only ones panning the first year performance of her successor, President Benigno Aquino III.

Different groups like the Kabataan party-list, Bayan Muna, Anakbayan, and Migrante in separate statements gave Aquino failing marks for his job.

In reference to "The Transformers" movie franchise's third installment, Kabataan Party-list called  Aquino "the Decepticon" for supposedly "being a deceitful copycat of former President Macapagal-Arroyo and for failing to fulfill his promise of change on his first year in office."

"Decepticon" is a reference to the shape-shifting villains in the Transformers movie and animation series.

Kabataan Party-list secretary general Athena Gardon claimed that Aquino could be worse than Arroyo, noting that the current President is still continuing in different forms the policies of the Arroyo administration.

"President Aquino merely repackaged the same policies of past administrations especially that of former President Macapagal-Arroyo. With the rate things are going, President Aquino could turn out to be even worse than Arroyo," he said.

Anakbayan, in a separate statement, called Aquino a "loser." "'LOSER' si Aquino dahil wala talaga itong nagawa sa unang taon pa lamang niya. Sa halip na magpatupad ng tunay at pangmatagalang reporma, 'sa isang kurap, dumami lalo ang mahirap' sa ilalim ng kaniyang panunungkulan."

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño said Aquino betrayed his own mantra of 'daang matuwid' after the administration failed to ensure the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill. "In fact, it was the President's men who put up the road blocks for its immediate passage, in cooperation with the loyalists of the previous administration," he said.

Migrante International, meanwhile, said that Aquino's first year in office is "arguably the worst year for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)."

"Since Aquino took his oath, it has been especially more grueling for OFWs and their families. Policy-wise, there are no indications that things will get better. Through these all, it has become more apparent that Aquino is no different from Arroyo. Pareho lang sila negosyo sa halip na serbisyo, koleksyon sa halip na proteksyon para sa mga OFW," Migrante chairperson Gary Martinez said in a statement.

Migrante took Aquino to task for his alleged ineptitude in dealing with OFW problems in the Middle East, drug trafficking cases in China, legal assistance for OFWs facing cases overseas, alleged corruption in the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and higher fees for OFWs.

Labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)  gave Aquino a failing mark, specifically for allegedly making the Philippine Airlines (PAL) "the flag carrier" of his labor contractualization policy and for perpetuating the country’s pro-capitalist economic policies.

PM Chair Renato Magtubo said, "PNoy failed labor the very first day he assumed office and he continues to do so by making labor contractualization his major policy stand."

The group called on Aquino to work on the following: regular jobs, not contractual employment; public employment program for the jobless; health care coverage for all; and, moratorium on demolitions, evictions, and foreclosures.

The Associated Labor Unions (ALU) tried to be more constructive.

ALU national vice-president Gerard Seno said they want to see Aquino succeed in all his policies and priorities that will "enhance Filipino workers' rights and their capability to cope with the ever rising costs of basic commodities and services."

Palace defenders

Malacañan, meanwhile, is not lacking defenders.

House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III said, "Let us be fair. PNoy should be measured based on what he set out in his first SoNA (State of the Nation Address)."

Tañada, spokesperson of the Liberal Party (LP), said people rating the President should also place themselves in his shoes.

"P-Noy inherited the biggest budget deficit, the 'land mines' in the different departments and line agencies, the corruption that was embedded. This is the reason why his 2011 SoNA should now be bolder in laying down the road map. The 2010 SoNA is basically a 'where we are, what do we have, how can we address the land mines," he said.

"The President wanted to be measured based on what can be done and actually be measured," he added.

Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said, "The President might need some adjustments with respect to his public relations skills, and his communications people might need to work harder to bring across the message of reform which is the core foundation of the Aquino administration. But overall, the President has done excellently well in achieving much of his campaign commitments."

Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento said, "(Aquino) has done extremely well both as President and as an icon of  good governance. I think that despite all the criticisms thrown at his administration, nobody, not even the opposition, can dispute that fact that things are getting better for our country and for our people."

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, "In the span of a year, we have seen several upgrades in our credit ratings, landmark policies and laws for economic and political reform, increased private domestic investments, hundreds of thousands of jobs generated leading to a decrease in unemployment, and other indicators of our country's steady march toward progress. These are all proof that our people's optimism is well-founded."

"No amount of naysaying will derail us from the straight and righteous path. If anything, these orchestrated attacks against the accomplishments of this new system of good governance only strengthen our resolve to continue building on our successes of the past year," he added.