Good news Philippines?-A A +A
Sunday, September 29, 2013
PRESIDENTIAL Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. told participants of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines national congress in Boracay that GNP also means “good news Philippines.”
It was the first time the country’s top practitioners held the PR congress outside
Metro Manila. Despite the rains, Boracay’s nightlife was pulsating as ever. Several participants of another event–the Geeks on a Beach–were excited participants of a Boracay phenomenon called “Pub Crawl” that gathered via the Internet nearly a hundred in a new form of bar hopping. Seeing so many tourists made me think tourism is obviously good news for the country.
Another piece of good news is Megan Young, the very first Filipino to win the Miss World Crown. Basta gwapahay, siguradong di biya ang Pilipinas.
However, the presidential communications man was obviously referring to the rapid growth the Philippine economy is enjoying.
Hmmm. Let’s see if this will hold considering that the reported growth figures reflected economic performance at a time when politicians were spending millions to buy votes. Ordinary voters had purchasing power then.
We all know that these politicians, especially congressmen and senators, expect return from their election investment from government coffers like the pork barrel system.
However, recent weeks saw a groundswell of disgust and protest against the pork barrel system. Popular anger is being fueled by revelations of the Napoles scam and involvement of several senators.
Will government heed the popular sentiment? We still don’t know.
Maybe one legislator or two might be jailed to satisfy the call for blood. But will the pork barrel system be abolished? Are the practitioners and beneficiaries of patronage politics ready to reform the corrupt system? Will they reform and rule under a system upholding transparency and real service?
After yesterday’s protest action against the pork barrel system, I now look forward to the more sober discussions on the next stage and possible alternatives that the movement will pursue.
According to Secretary Coloma, the national government’s pursuit of “matuwid na daan” has led to good governance and hence good economy. I think if the Aquino government is serious it should work for the approval of FOI and the removal of the pork barrel without conditions. Or things will just get messier.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, for instance, is obviously flinging mud at everybody else in his pathetic attempt to get out of the quicksand. The way this kibitzer sees it, Jinggoy’s antics won’t save his ass. However, the mud he threw is sticking to some of his colleagues. Jinggoy’s mud is stickier than the kind thrown by a dictator’s former disinformation man.
The pursuit of the so-called “matuwid na daan” has likewise made things worse at the Bureau of Customs. “Gubot pas lukot,” said a text message from a media friend over the weekend. I just hope the current vacuum will be filled by qualified Cebuanos who have been sidelined for so long by Tagalogs.
Discussions of the Facebook group “Maghisgot Kitag Politika, Bay” tell me that some vocal anti-pork advocates want somebody new in Malacañang. I would just like to say that the anti-pork movement is a broad configuration united by its members’ desire to remove the pork barrel. It includes many political shades. And the priority is to remove the pork barrel system.
I would have wanted to see top government policy makers at the just-concluded “Geeks on a Beach” conference in Boracay so they will realize that pursuing an IT strategy for the country should focus more on homegrown start-ups than foreign-owned BPOs.
These BPOs only generate employment but the profits go back abroad. The emerging Filipino start-up community will not only generate thousands of jobs. These start-up guys are the future Filipino Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs.
But then, except perhaps for Singapore where the government is pursuing a pro-active start-up road map, start-up communities are not waiting for government officials who don’t understand entrepreneurs and new IT developments.
Still, Filipino geeks found a sympathetic ear in DOST’s Mon Ibrahim. Listening to him during huddles in between sessions, I sensed that he understands their needs. However, I was told he plans not to stay in government long. Magtukod sab kuno siya og start-up.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 30, 2013.