Horrified by the public’s eagerness to collect on his promise, made in the May 2013 election campaign, to have himself and Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya run over by a train if the proposed LRT line extension to Cavite was not completed by the final day of year 2015, President Aquino has dramatically changed his timeline for his latest fantasy or aspiration.
Inspired by the new Star Wars movie, “The Force awakens,” BS has located his new grand dream in a time far, far away—2030.
This way, he figures that most of us and maybe he himself won’t be around to check whether his grand promise is redeemed.
New dream in new year’s message
To make sure we are not again double-talked into silliness by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, I checked and counter-checked BS Aquino’s exact words.
He said the magic words in his New Year’s Day message to the nation:
“All these we achieved because of our collective resolve to follow the straight and righteous path—a path that transformed damaged public agencies into stronger, more transparent, and responsive institutions; turned a demoralized government workforce into dedicated civil servants; galvanized an apathetic populace into active, empowered nation-builders; and reinvigorated a sluggish business sector into a major driver of economic growth. Indeed, the Daang Matuwid is a roadmap that will catapult us into First World Status and make us a $1-trillion economy by the year 2030.”
Instead of leaving this hollow promise in outer space, where it can drift in a nimbus of unreality, Coloma tried to pitch it as a living program of the Administration.
He explained like a development economist that the government has adopted three main thrusts during its final six months in office for the country to attain first world status.
In six months?
Three thrusts in final 6 months
The three thrusts are:
1. Strengthening public institutions through capacity and capability building programs; performance based compensation and economic incentives; and implementation of new salary scales that will be more competitive with the private sector.
2. Continued emphasis on social protection and human development – to ensure the attainment of inclusive growth where no one gets left behind.
3. Implement fiscal discipline and sound management of the country’s macro-economic fundamentals”—to maintain the upward trajectory of growth.
For the nation to achieve first-world status, President Aquino calls on all Filipinos to choose their leaders wisely along the path of Daang Matuwid.
“As long as we bear in our hearts and minds the welfare of the people, we will realize our inherent greatness and usher in a Philippines that we can proudly bequeath to the coming generations,” the President concluded.
Alas, there is no strategy and program in place that serious executives and managers can execute.
These are last two-minutes tactics to butter up Aquino’s legacy at his term’s end.
Government executives will be delirious with joy over the prospect that their compensation will be raised up to par with salaries in the private sector.
Shockingly, as new Commission on Audit Chairman Michael Aguinaldo has reported, many government corporations and agencies have been granting irregular and unlawful compensation and allowances to top officials that COA has found unlawful and irregular.
Disallowances are flying all over the place.
‘Aspirational’ is the new weasel word
Those of us who find BS Aquino’s first-dream grandiose and other worldly, should prepare ourselves for Coloma’s prepared reply: “Be reasonable. What the President said is only an aspirational statement.”
2030 is so far, far away, the goal will fall due in the term of another president.
“Aspirational” is the new weasel word under the Aquino Administration, as multi-purpose as “honest mistake” and “good faith.”
Every promise unfulfilled by Aquino, every shortcoming of this presidency will now be defended as “aspirational.”
On June 30, 2016, BS Aquino will bequeath us a legacy of aspirational slogans, programs, initiatives and projects that withered in the vine.