The first 100 days of the presidency of Bongbong Marcos continues to be a hot topic of newspaper editorials, opinions of columnists and political observers as well as self-styled analysts, with some saying “so far so good,”
Others are claiming it was a big disappointment because of the unannounced trip of President Marcos Jr. attended one weekend in Singapore to watch the F1 Grand Prix without any announcement.
But, Santa Banana, does the first 100 days make a President when all he did was appoint his economic team, which the business and economic community said was “so far, so good”?
BBM’s economic team, imperative and very crucial, cannot be any better with his choice of the best minds in economy and finance.
My gulay, who can question the choice of Benjamin Diokno as finance secretary, Felipe Medalla as governor of Bangko Sentral, Alfredo Pascual as trade and industry secretary and Arsenio Balesican as socio-economic planning secretary.
There were, of course, some resignations which could be expected early enough, like the resignations of Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez, who was involved in that controversial importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar fiasco.
There were early resignations among those involved in the sugar mess from the Sugar Regulatory Administration, and later on resignations of Rodriguez himself from the Marcos, Trixie Angels as press secretary and former Solicitor Jose Calida as chairman of the Commission on Audit.
But, that is only natural at the start of any administration.
For one thing, it gave a chance for President Marcos Jr. to name former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Lucas Bersamin, a perfect choice, as ES (Executive Secretary) whose job it is to see to it that nothing goes to the President without Bersamin’s say so.
With Bersamin as ES, and with his long experience as a member of the bench, BBM is assured that every paper that goes to him is legal and judicial.
As I said, the first 100 days does not make a President. Marcos Jr. has to start from the bottom, like in building a skyscraper. That’s precisely what Marcos Jr. did in going to Indonesia and Singapore to make the Philippines as a tourist destination and as an investment destination.
All the investment pledges amounting to billions of pesos will certainly create jobs to stop the rising incidence of poverty which remains the biggest problem of all presidents.
And with President Marcos Jr.’s trip to the United States and his speech before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), BBM made the country well known, Santa Banana, to the world as a “rising star” in Southeast Asia.
With BBM’s bilateral talks with many chiefs of states, especially his one-on-one talk with US President Joe Biden who confirmed an “iron-clad” commitment of the United States to come to the defense of the Philippines in case of war, Marcos Jr.’s first 100 days is a tremendous success.
In building the foundation of the Philippines, a President knows only too well that there are many things still to be done.
These include addressing soaring inflation that is giving rise to high prices of all basic commodities and also attending to complaints of both the government and private sector on the need to address low wages, the need to address rising incidence of poverty, making the country peaceful and orderly, stopping criminality, continuing the war on illegal drugs, focusing not only on the small fry that can only promote EJKs (or extrajudicial killings), my gulay.
There is also the need to address graft and corruption in government and many more headwinds that will come that will challenge his presidency.
As I said earlier on, the first 100 days of any administration does not make a President.
The very fact that BBM has to prioritize an economic change for the six years of his administration should be enough for all Filipinios to expect more good things to come.
And BBM certainly needs all the help he can get, especially from the people, to make our dreams, which are also his dreams, come true.
What was beneficial during the first 100 days of BBM was that a Pulse Asia poll survey enabled him to know and understand the foremost concern of the people, my gulay, that he must prioritize, like when the surveys said 7 out of 10 Filipinos, Santa Banana, were most concerned about inflation and escalating prices of basic commodities.
Coming close to the foremost concern of the people is the need for higher wages for both public and private workers are getting.
Among the other concerns of the people, according to the Pulse Asia survey, are crime and criminality, illegal drugs and graft and corruption.
Also included among the concerns , the survey said, were the shrinking earnings of jeepney drivers, bus drivers and taxi drivers because of continued increase of fuel prices, like gasoline and diesel and kerosene.
There have been comments that Marcos Jr. failed to connect himself with the masses unlike his predecessor, President Duterte, who resonated with the masses when he promised then that he would eradicate illegal drugs within 30 to 60 days upon assumption of office, and also eradicate crime and criminality, together with graft and corruption.
But, my gulay, did Duterte succeed with all his promises? Clearly BBM does not want to be a Duterte.
The most incisive and to the point comment on the first 100 days of Marcos Jr. came from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was also Speaker of the House of Representatives, and now Deputy Speaker, who said, and I quote:
“I think a president’s first 100 days serves two purposes: first, to give the nation and the world a message to inspire confidence; and second, to give the Filipino people an idea of the leadership style of the president.
“In President Marcos Jr. ‘s case, in the wake of the pandemic and global tensions in Ukraine and Taiwan, the adverse economic impact of these crises is topmost on most minds. President MarcosJjr. reassured everyone by assembling an impressive economic team that has been universally praised.
“For the second purpose – again, the president has projected himself well as a calm, thoughtful leader who is true to his promise to promote unity and be a president for all.”
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Once again, I would like the Senate to replicate “The Media Welfare Act” that some members of the House of Representatives are pushing to enact as soon as possible.
The bill would like to make all members of media, both print and broadcast (radio and television), to be like all workers in private and government who are regular employees, having all the perks and benefits like overtime pay, retirement benefits and coverage by the Social Security System, with retirement pay upon reaching the age of 65 years and have a pension plan, unlike now where many members of media are underpaid, with no retirement benefits and pension plan.
Take my case , where I have been a journalist for over 75 years.
Santa Banana, would you believe that the only pension I have been getting from the SSS for working for 75 years is only a little more than P3,000 a month.
Big deal, my gulay. It simply means that some of my employers or media outlets that I had worked for in the past years have not been complying with their responsibilities to provide me with a retirement and pension plan.
I am now 95, perhaps the oldest living journalist in the Philippines.
I am now writing this not for my benefit, but for all those who will come after me as journalists and media workers.
I hope that all members of the media, from editors, reporters and those who write and are qualified as journalists to be given what is due to them, like regular employees, considering that journalists, who are after the truth, are becoming an endangered species.
We are killed because we tell the truth.