MANY days have passed since the inauguration of President Noynoy Aquino but the excitement is still around. Filipinos are expecting a change, especially in the economy.
"We must make the change from bare economic survivor to robust economic growth," says the president about his economic policy. He says that the Philippines lacks a government committed to transforming society from overwhelmingly poor to overwhelmingly working/middle class, so this is what he wants to implement in his term. After all, most developed countries consist mostly of the blue-and-white-collar folks.
In contrast, ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's policies had been geared toward "shortcuts". While there were GDP and GNP growths during her administration, almost all came from oversees Filipino workers (OFW) and business process outsourcing (BPO) which includes call centers.
This situation, economists say, is risky because the Philippines is dependent on other countries. What if the demand for work stops and business deals fail? Imagine how many OFWs and BPO call center agents will lose their jobs.
In this global economic crisis, the president acknowledges the need to avoid those "shortcuts." Instead, the Philippines must rely on the power already here - the youth.
"Through education, they can be empowered to rise up and improve their lot in life," said the president.
The government can only do this with a new approach, starting with the Department of Education, to effect changes that do away with double shifting, erroneous textbooks, and substandard nursing schools.
Now, these policies are still to be implemented. But words are powerful, and the president's promises give hope to everyone who has suffered through the last several years.
Maybe all of these will happen next year. Maybe in two years or more. Whatever the case, Filipinos will wait and look forward for it. Hilarion Antonio L. Damiao