“Daang Matuwid” and “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” were two prominent campaign slogans of P-noy. And now that he is the president, we expect him, his cabinet and other functionaries to live up to these promises.
One year after P-noy’s inauguration as president of the country, I could say with confidence that there is a conscious effort to fight corruption, although, efforts at the national level are yet to trickle down to the local levels.
And while there were black eyes (the most prominent of which are the handling of the Luneta park hostage-taking incident; the Leviste “escape” from Bilibid Prisons; and, P-noy’s purchase of a Porsche), I have three first person experiences of change under this new administration that impresses me and provides a glimmer of hope for the future:
WANGWANGS: In less than a month after the “no more wang-wang” statement of the president, I could only hear wangs-wangs when an ambulance or a fire truck pass by. Before the “no more wang wang” declaration, even barangay vehicles ran around with wang-wangs on. You can only curse and shout expletives as everybody and his mother who can claim connection to the powers that be either counterflows or crosses red lights with sirens wailing.
The “no wang-wang” is a good example of how a simple act delivers a message so strong and so symbolic of what change means under the Aquino administration. It defines every citizen’s expectation of other government officials. It sets the tone of how those in power should handle themselves, at least, in public.
LOG BAN: At least in Quezon province, hardwood and other timber are getting scarcer. Logs brought by the rivers to the sea during heavy rains and swollen rivers are now few and far between. A supplier of timber and cut logs from the mountains of Sierra Madre recently went to me to ask for advice on other types of businesses he can venture into. He told me that it is now very difficult to get timber from his usual sources in Sierra Madre. A year ago, his clients can simply tell him the quality and quantity of timber they want to order. With the right price, he will even deliver these to Metro Manila.
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE : I have several business contacts and consulting clients who have either increased their current exposure in the country or have invested for the first time in the country. Most of them are Filipinos. This is consistent with the official statistics which shows that investments rose 76% to Php162B in the first quarter of 2011.versus the same period of 2010. Moreover, Php140B of that amount came from Filipino investors — a leap of 211% from Php45B in the first quarter of 2010.
The business sentiment is one of optimism that the playing field will be more level in this administration. Bureaucratic red tapes at the national levels appears to have abated, although in some towns and cities in the country getting business permits still takes forever to finish.
To me, the past 12 months were mostly foundation work, cleaning up, and reviewing. I hope that we will soon see a Comprehensive Development Plan – something that puts in writing the socio-economic targets we will work at achieving in the coming years. Definitely, we expect more action in the coming years, as the cleaning up and reviewing should give way to more action. Then we can judge whether he had become the type of leader we want him to become.