DESPITE the litany of achievements that he enumerated in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, President Benigno Aquino 3rd has not been able to significantly lower the country’s poverty level, according to Ramon Casiple, a political analyst.
“His economic program, despite bringing growth, did not yet make a dent on pervasive poverty. Inclusive growth has yet to make its presence felt even as those who benefited the most are the richest sectors of society,” Casiple noted.
He said the President should lay down the groundwork for his legacy now that he has only two more years in office.
“He has already entered what, in a basketball game, is referred to as the last quarter. In the next two years, he has to finish his reform targets, lay the firm groundwork for the work of the next President and establish his lasting legacies,” Casiple added.
Aquino, he said, is faced with “the inexorable march of time.”
Casiple conceded that the President is still a “work in progress” despite the successes he supposedly achieved during his four years in office.
He issued the statements in reaction to the President’s fifth SONA where Aquino boasted about his many accomplishments, such as in spurring the economy and negotiating peace with Muslim rebels and other insurgents.
But the analyst said these “achievements” cannot be considered as Aquino’s legacy.
“The accomplishments cannot yet be termed collectively as his legacy and, of course, do not yet make for a historical President.
“In the past four years, he notably failed to undertake political reforms, which ironically, are supposed to underwrite all other reforms,” he pointed out.
Casiple noted that in Aquino’s inaugural speech in 2010, the President stressed that his role is to ensure that the benefits of democracy are brought to all Filipinos.
This, however, cannot be done, he said, without strengthening democratic rule, including the wider participation of citizens in democratic governance processes.
Casiple cited delays in the peace process and other pending political reform bills in Congress, including the political party development bill, the anti-dynasty bill and the freedom of information bill.
The President, faced with a flagging popularity, lowered expectations and weakening support from his constituency, Casiple said, can opt to take the road of convenience as another traditional President, or as “a historic President who the people will long remember for realizing genuine democracy in the motherland.”
“Political will says it all. The Aquino ship of destiny, the President’s metaphor, will only reach the safe haven when in firm and determined hands,” Casiple stressed.