Kaya wrong grammar ang New Year’s message natin.
It is always fascinating how a Malacañang with three communications offices could fail so often at, well, communications.
Case in point: the title above is also the title of the New Year’s message of the Official Gazette, where they detail the gains of the past five and a half years with this Liberal Party government. One wonders: do they mean we are not on matuwid na daan, but that we are matuwid na daan? We are the righteous path? The correct way?
Yeah, it sounds trivial, I know. But this is also the Official Gazette that has been preaching about correct Tagalog grammar via its Wikapedia posts.
Sure they will say this is all within their mandate and creative freedom(s). At the same time one can’t help but wonder if the wordplay is not a way to distract us from what’s really going on.
Nation by the numbers
And then there are these numbers. As per the New Year’s message of the Official Gazette, the 2015 achievements of this administration may be divided into 14 categories.
Employment numbers are up, unemployment numbers (obviously) are down. Foreign direct investments are up, as is the GDP, and the PSE Index, while Inflation is down. We are now at investment grade with Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P.
The beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) were at 4.3 million in 2015. Filipinos with PhilHealth coverage at 89.42 million. The education budget is at P367.1 billion pesos, the number of classrooms built 86,478. Tourist arrivals were at 4.39 million, which in turn directly employed 4.8 million Filipinos. Tax collection was at P1.3 trillion pesos.
If these numbers are any indication, well, the five and half years under this Liberal Party administration has been the best thing to happen to nation in recent years. It’s like the great happy ending that we’ve all been waiting for, except that we are being told that it needs to continue, that it cannot end. And that there is more to be done.
And so given these numbers we must vote Liberal Party for 2016. Yeah, they don’t say that in your face, but we weren’t born yesterday.
Beyond the numbers
Because of course for some of us what we see when we are faced with these numbers is what we know about nation, and what these numbers do not show at all about how we live at this point in time.
There is for example the numbers that they have for Education, the budget they have put out, the 86,000 classrooms they have built. And yet we all know that there is an impending crisis in education that the government has yet to even address, which is the loss of jobs for our teachers given the K-12 program, the disenfranchisement of many of our students unprepared as they are as well for this shift. There is the constant fight for better wage for our teachers. And then there is just the most basic need for toilets and working faucets in our schools,.
And then check out those tourist numbers. It pretty much tells us that for the 4.39 million tourist arrivals from January to October in 2015, what this meant was the direct employment of 4.8 million Filipinos? That’s more than a one is to one ratio between tourist and local. That’s really quite fascinating, if not downright unbelievable. Though it does behoove one to ask what jobs these are that’s generated via tourism, and how sustainable these jobs are. Speaking of sustainability, one also wonders how much we’ve earned from tourism, and how much of that goes into caring for the natural and cultural heritage sites that are bringing these tourists in.
One cannot miss of course the 4.35 million beneficiaries of CCT, as one can’t help but wonder exactly what these 4.35 million beneficiaries get out of CCT, other than the monthly dole-out in exchange for making sure their kids stay in school. See, that’s another number government can take pride in – the perfect attendance and high retention rate of our public school students! After all, when a family will get some cash in exchange for the perfect school attendance of their children, you know whatever’s happening inside that school and the kind of education that goes on in the classroom really barely matters to this government.
And the 89.42 million Filipinos who now have PhilHealth coverage? One has a sinking feeling that this only means the distribution of PhilHealth cards. And the winning campaign strategy of one Risa Hontiveros.
Happy New Year
Of course Malacañang can always say that this is malicious and vicious, an over reading of what it is that they present as their reckoning of the New Year, and a way to look forward to 2016. At the same time, one can’t help but wonder if this is not a lot of time and energy spent on creating a pretty picture of government, five months before the 2016 elections.
But then again, the Official Gazette has always seemed like a cross between a PR firm and an advertising agency, and certainly in the case of a Liberal Party that has yet to even remotely look like it will win the 2016 Presidential race, well, it also conveniently functions as a campaign team.
‘Yan ang daang matuwid.