Editorial: PNoy’s meandering ways-A A +A
Thursday, October 31, 2013
A DAY after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Bohol and Cebu last Oct. 15, President Noynoy Aquino visited the two provinces to assess the damage and oversee relief and rescue efforts. That visit was marred by accusations of politicking and of PNoy’s failure to specify the kind of help Malacañang could provide to the victims.
He returned to Bohol a few days later, this time with less fanfare and with an apparent resolve to connect with the quake victims and to help systematize seemingly chaotic after-quake relief efforts.
Yesterday, PNoy spoke on national television supposedly to place in the proper context national issues that have cropped up in the wake of the P10-billion pork barrel scam. But the speech was portrayed by the opposition as a sort of damage control following a dip in his popularity ratings in surveys.
What these presidential actions show in relation to PNoy’s leadership style is that he seems to meander before finally getting it right.
In the case of the earthquake relief efforts, he needed to have two visits to Bohol to find his groove. As for his speech yesterday, he tarried for long before finally presenting a comprehensive defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the President’s Social Fund.
It was a speech he should have delivered immediately after the DAP issue broke out and when efforts were made to characterize the social fund as presidential pork barrel.
Instead, PNoy seemed content in having Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Malacañang spokespersons explain piecemeal the DAP and the nature of the President’s social fund.
By refusing to take the bull by the horns earlier, the President missed the chance of coming up with a comprehensive explanation of Malacañang’s stand before people could form their own opinions on the issues. He allowed the accusations and misimpressions to prevail before turning aggressive in his response.
As a result, one can say that his speech yesterday would have been effective had it been delivered when public opinion had still to solidify. As it is now, people already have their own views on the various issues that cropped up and it is doubtful if PNoy’s speech could prod them to revise those views.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 31, 2013.