Starting over again

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By Atty. Taipan Millan

One Small Voice

Thursday, March 6, 2014

IT IS doubtful if anybody can enumerate, one by one, all of the campaign promises of the President, while he was still a candidate.

Especially the campaign promises of the other candidates who lost, nobody can identify anymore.

Maybe one, some will remember. Maybe two, some will remember. But not each and every single one of them, this is more or less certain for most of us if not for all of us.


To be sure, there are more of those among us who will not remember anything at all compared to those among us who will remember even just a majority.

Without a doubt, most will even wonder why these campaign promises are still actually being discussed as if they matter.

Why? Because people just forget campaign promises. There is even no attempt to recall. There is also no attempt to remember.

Why? Because people think that campaign promises are made to be broken anyway so there is absolutely no expectation of delivery. They are already accepted as plain propaganda dangled before the election and bungled after the election.

Why? Because people believe that they cannot do anything anyway to demand the fulfillment of campaign promises so there is no point to even know them, or to list them down or to memorize them all. They are merely tolerated as gimmicks designed to win votes, nothing more, nothing less.

This is where our country is at present - resigned to the fact that campaign promises are hopelessly meaningless.

This disparaging predicament can actually be changed if and when the President, even at this late time during his incumbency, himself reminds us of his own campaign promises.

The President can, once more, enumerate to all of us all of his campaign promises, one by one, each and every single one of them.

The President can start by highlighting all of his campaign promises that have already been accomplished, whether or not they were done so in full or in part. The point, or the explanation, is at least something has been done.

The President can end by downplaying all of his campaign promises that have no more chance of being implemented during his tenure, claiming that they have suddenly become impossible due to circumstances beyond his control. The point, or the excuse, is that it is not his fault.

The President can, after leveling off with the people, then proceed to use the remaining portion of his term of office to focus, concentrate and prioritize - do what must be done, whether or not they are in the list of campaign promises, but better if they are in the list of campaign promises, so long as they are what must be done.

History will judge him, not according to how complete or incomplete he has complied with his campaign promises when he leaves office, not for his popularity or unpopularity at that moment when he leaves office or immediately thereafter for that matter, but long after his term has expired, and the impact and effect of what he has done or not done have already emerged or submerged.

History will judge him according to the inter-generational reforms that he has institutionalized, if any.

History will judge him according to the paradigm shift in virtues and values that he has inspired, breaking traditions, changing cultures, if any.

History will judge him according to how he gave meaning, or returned meaning, to campaign promises to mean performance targets and governance commitments and missions accomplished, and immortalized them to become the new normal, standard and practice for all.

The President still has two years or so in office. He needs to focus. He needs to concentrate. He needs to prioritize.

The President could, and should, still make campaign promises mean something, anything, everything. This is the only way we can continue to trust words.

The President could, and should, still establish that "campaign promises equals performance targets plus governance commitments plus missions accomplished" is the basic requirement for all those who will come after him. This is the only way we can continue to have faith in politicians.

The President could, and should, still ensure, no matter who replaces him, that there will be stability, continuity and predictability. This is the only way we can continue to support government.

The President, in his last two years or so in office, must lay the groundwork for the next batch of leaders to continue the good, to discontinue the bad, and not to keep starting over again.


Comments are most welcome. Please send them to

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 07, 2014.


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