When Mr. Aquino talks of reforms and obstructionism, don’t take him seriously

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Had Mr. Aquino lived in the 12th century, he would have been a perfect recruit for the tenacious, unwavering soldiers of the Inquisition, that relentless war against the ungodly heathens. From Day One of his office till now, there is hardly any presidential function that is not devoted to his self-proclaimed duty of purging the modern-day heretics – crooks in whatever form or guise. Every public forum is used by Mr. Aquino to rally the nation for the supposed good fight against those who subvert his “ reforms.”

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Not only is Mr. Aquino the first president to act as if the presidency were about a crusade. There has been no president, before Mr. Aquino, who has defined governance (and the governed) in such stark and apocalyptic terms: the good side which he claims to represent and the bad side represented by his critics. White, which he represents, and black, which is the side of his detractors. Though his government is often called a “yellow regime,” there has never been an instant that Mr. Aquino backed out from his black or white view of the world.

Mr. Marcos’s zeal on reforming society and creating a New Society in place of the decadent one had the shelf life of a bag of NFA rice, or a Bocaue firecracker, because it was a con game designed to keep him in power. Mr. Aquino’s reformist spiel has been a five-year meme, with no final season looming on the horizon. Who was the one who wrote about “full of passionate intensity?”

From that high moral perch where he has been lobbing daggers at those backsliders–imaginary or real— trying to slow down his reform path, you would expect that something concrete undergirds the brave and moral words of Mr. Aquino. That the Everyman, at the very least, has marginally benefited from his reformist crusade. With just over a year to go in his full term, you would expect that Mr. Aquino, and his oft-cited reforms, have transformed his country in a profound way.

A leader, this is the tradition, can’t portray himself as the paragon of good governance without the actual deliverables. You can’t preach from a high moral perch without accomplishing real things.

Every judgment of leadership is parochial, viewed from a narrow, selfish interest. I am a small farmer, one of the most marginalized groups in the country. Are our lives better now—and made better by the reformist crusade of Mr. Aquino? That is a fair question to ask. After all, what are reforms for if not to usher in a regime of broadly-shared prosperity?

From the point of view of small farmers, the “ reforms” that Mr. Aquino has been talking about are any of the three:

• The reforms do not cover small farmers , which make up the largest work force in the country, and which should not be the case as a leader should start his reforms with the sector that need reforms most

• The reforms are long-gestating, and their impact on the small farming sector will be felt past 2016, with Mr. Aquino already out of office

• Or, they are tall-tales that Mr. Aquino has been spinning as of late to prevent the further erosion of his trust and approval ratings

Why are the three all gloom and doom? Why has there been no relief to the small farming sector, not even a tiny, wee, bit, delivered by the supposed straight and moral leadership of Mr. Aquino? I will answer and start with the very basic, often-overlooked data: status of farm mechanization.

If there is a measurement that perfectly showcases that small farmers have made incremental progress from their “man with the hoe” farming methods, it is the advance in their hp per ha , or simply the horsepower (the mechanized power ) that is used per hectare of farmland. You know what? The hp per ha of Philippine agriculture is not even 1.7 hp per ha. It is probably the lowest, if not the second lowest, in the original Asean.

Don’t ask about Thailand, whose farm mechanization foundation was built decades ago by agricultural engineering graduates of UPLB. Thailand’s is more than 4 hp per ha or about three times better than the miserable status of farm mechanization in our country.

Without the rice threshers and the kuligligs (this is the name of the small hand tractors), our hp per ha would drop to below 1 percent.

The miserable state of farm mechanization is a bitter indictment of the state of agriculture in the country and the equally miserable status of small farmers in the country . When small farmers do most of their work with a hoe (as I do), you are pretty sure that farmers do not get decent yields, cannot afford to live decent lives and cannot get past their “wretched of the earth” status.

We are all agreed that poverty has a rural face and its public face are the small farmers. When a government does not impact on their lives – they who represent the largest work sector in the country — all those claims about “reforms” and transforming society are hollow – just a collection of empty, pretentious words.

You know what? Small farmers tuck on improvised earmuffs whenever Mr. Aquino gives his spiel on “reforms.” They do not want to listen and they don’t take him seriously . When his two acolytes at the DA (yes, the Department of Agriculture, with all its mind-boggling incompetence, has two secretaries), talk about supposed strides in the sector, we want to commit hara-kiri.

mvrong@yahoo.com

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8 Comments

  1. REFORMS daw ba, sabi ni Penoy Dacuycoy? O, baka naman pure Jaforms?
    sat-sat doon, sat-sat dito, Sisi doon, sisi dito, patutsada doon, patutsada dito…

    O, eh para lang siyang isang “Patutot”(hihiram tayo nang mga salita ni Rizal sa NoliMe Tangere), mistulang aba’ng aba at kawawa tayo kumpara sa mga kalapit natin mga bansa sa larangan ng agrikultura, economia, industriyalisasyon,…at humingi ng tulong ayuda sa mga bansa para masustenahan ang mga pangangailangan nang Pilpinas///

  2. Venerando Desales on

    Well argued, Mr. Ronquillo, delivery of basic services that reach the middle class to the marginalized sectors, give meaning to the high moral grounds supposedly behind the spiels of reforms of Aquino. Without delivery, all these are airs! Sila sila lang na mga elitista, echa puera tayo! Please write about the middle class being systematically destroyed by government policies.

  3. Muriel Magtanggol on

    Saan ba kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha yang si Aquino to even utter the word “reforms” when he has noteven conceptualized any? Nasaan ang mga reforms na yan? Guni-guni at mga fantasia ni Noynoy? Part of his hallucinations and illusions of grandeur because he, the narcissist, think that the Aquino name is so great it can create something out of nothing!
    Buti nga, madami ng nagising sa fantasia ng Aquino!

    • Agree ako diyan, wondering nasaan ang reforms? Lalong dumami ang unemployed, poverty at taas ng mga presyo ng basic foods.

  4. Hahaha! True Mr. Ronquillo
    May I just add, what is “obstructed” are his nerves that’s why his brains are NOT functioning properly!

  5. Although there was never a report, we DO KNOW who got the coveted post after the victim’s death….

    Your guess is as good as mine… but all these fail in comparison to the glaring fact that our government officials and lawmakers are or are about to be TRAITORS to the country…!

  6. Hector David on

    Tell me one competent unbiased and principled cabinet secretary .. It was only Robredo … land everyone knows the whispers about his having documents to prove massive corruption and anomalies … By no coincidence he offices and private quarters were raided and documents confiscated … It is surprising that he is no longer with us ? The readers be the Hyde ,,, over 2 years afte his death no reports on what caused the crash

    • Kung maayos na paiimbestigahan lang ang pagkamatay ni Robledo, malamang ang mga tao ni Aquino ay masasabit!
      May nagpapatay sa kanya! nang siya ay malagay bilang DILG secretary! maraming mabubulgar kung nagtagal siya!