Editorial: Message not delivered

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

IN THIS post-modern age of communication, the victory goes to the ones who are able to get their stories across.

Based from the comments generated by President Benigno C. Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address last Monday, someone is an obvious loser – the president.

There are so many should’ves and could’ves the Sona is generating. We can understand why.


Had the President kept his ears on the ground, the greatest drumroll and drumbeating when it comes to Mindanao should be the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. That is because, let’s all admit it, there is not much happening here that is initiated by the national government. But he preferred to skim through it, not even stressing what he wants done by the Senate and the Congress and why. He was playing safe, too safe. While he committed for the Law to be passed, he wasn’t about willing to commit to what the framework was. That’s sad because the CAB is one of only two Mindanao issues he raised in the one hour and a half speech he made. The other was the Zamboanga Siege. But, then, the Zamboanga Siege was ordered by the government, they are duty-bound to replace what they have caused to be burned. Nothing there except a promise of another year’s wait.

Maybe it is true that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority did train 223,615 beneficiaries of which 66 percent or 146,731 graduates now have jobs. Taken within the context that the Philippine population had just hit 100-million the day before his Sona, 30 percent of which are below the poverty line (that’s a cool 30-million people, very young and very old included), 223,615 is but a tiny drop in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Maybe, it is true that his administration has fully paid the P40-billion balance in the P50-billion obligation to recapitalize the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas during President Fidel V. Ramos’ term, where only P10-billion has been paid since until this administration.

Maybe it’s true that poverty incidence is now down three percentage points from 27.9 percent in the first semester of 2012 to 24.9 percent in the same period in 2013, but then, the poverty index has always been argued – the bureaucrats setting a minimal daily income needed as against the real income needed for families to provide for all basic necessities.

But by just skimming through a very important achievement like the CAB and capitalizing only on the almost non-existent rehabilitation efforts in Zamboanga and the areas damaged by typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas, the president lost his hold on two-thirds of his audience. True, the Luzon people can applaud him, and his friends in showbiz can praise him, but the greater majority whom he should be serving is left wanting, and that sense of wanting is what can spell the doom.

Yes, there may be a lot of good stories to tell, all backed up by facts, but this President is obviously failing in delivering the message. It doesn’t help that those always ready to defend him are rabid loyalists who throw muck instead of explain facts, it doesn’t help that his spokespersons would most always ride the high horse, sneering at those who dare raise their issues, rather than place themselves in the shoes of their suffering compatriots. In this post-modern age of communication, those who are able to tell their story well are the victors. Obviously, someone is losing, big time, and his cohorts are making sure he does that with flair.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 30, 2014.


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