Of Votes and Speeches

Exactly six years ago, it was Noynoy Aquino’s inauguration as the new President of the Republic. I had goosebumps then when Charice sang the national anthem. And I was teary-eyed as the Madrigal Singers sang Bayan Ko especially when I saw the crowd in their symbolic “L” hand gestures.

Six years down the road, another inauguration, another fresh start for the nation. While most of the people are now looking forward to the realization of President Duterte’s idealistic yet encouraging promises, very few are looking back at the Aquino administration’s achievements.

Political analysts and the common people were all amazed by President Duterte’s inaugural speech. But can anyone still recall right on top of their head at least three key things that PNoy promised back in 2010? Not easy, right? So, at the end of the President’s term, it is not really the specific promises in the inaugural speech that we tend to use to measure his/her achievements. Rather, it is the transformations that bring the country one step forward or backward that remain in our thoughts.

Asking if PNoy did well as a President equates to asking ourselves if we voted wisely in 2010. After all, it was the majority among us who believed in his capabilities to transform the country.

We now satiate ourselves at the rate that illegal drug eradication seems to be happening, recognizing President Duterte’s influence even before he officially reigns. But do we still remember how thankful we were when PNoy eliminated the “wang-wang” (VIPs being given priority lanes on any road) from our streets right on his first day of office? It may not seem very relevant these days, but imagine yourself caught in stand-still traffic and one luxury car being escorted by police motorcycles would go counter-flow and leave you in disgust and frustration.

Many will always remember PNoy for his failures in SAF44, road congestion, unreliable mass transportation, and lack of major infrastructure projects. Hopefully, there will also be many who will remember how PNoy moved our economy to become the second strongest in Asia, increased our dollar reserves, recovered more than 75 billion pesos from the Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth, modernized the Armed Forces, and as a result, earned very promising economic outlook among global financial institutions and analysts. Indeed, Asia’s sleeping tiger has awakened!

All inn all, I guess PNoy’s biggest accomplishment was winning back the trust of the people in the government.

There is no perfect government. And there is no perfect administration. Nonetheless, the past six years have been much better than the previous 12 years before it. I guess the Filipino people have learned how to vote wisely.