By Perry Diaz


Red Flag for P-Noy


Last October 16, 2010, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) published the results of the its survey on the performance of President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III’s “national administration.” The survey drew mixed reactions. However, a large percentage of the respondents were dissatisfied with his “national administration,” specifically on the issue of “Resolving the hostage-taking of Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza.”


The SWS survey conducted from September 24-27, 2010, showed that 41% of the respondents were “dissatisfied” with the performance of P-Noy’s “national administration” while 36% were “satisfied” and 21% were “undecided.”  


This survey was actually the third that SWS conducted during the same period from September 24-27, 2010.  Makes one wonder why they were published piecemeal one week apart.


The previous two surveys are the following:


The first SWS survey was about P-Noy’s “satisfaction rating.”  The results were published on October 5, 2010, to wit: 71% of the respondents were “satisfied” with P-Noy’s performance while 11% were “not satisfied.”  That places his “net satisfaction rating” at 60%.   


The second SWS survey conducted during the same period was published on October 11, 2010.  The respondents were asked: “In your opinion, how many of the promises of Pres. Noynoy Aquino can be fulfilled?” The results were: 9% said “all or nearly all”; 35% said “most”; 50% said “a few”; and 4% said “almost none.”




While the first survey -- P-Noy’s “satisfaction rating” -- was deemed by SWS a “very good” start for P-Noy, it doesn’t look “very good” when compared to his “trust rating” conducted from June 25-28, 2010 just before he took office on June 30, 2010.  The results of that survey were: 88% of the respondents had “much trust” in him compared to only 4% who had “little trust” in him; thus, giving him a “net trust rating” of 84%.


Now, if P-Noy’s “satisfaction rating” is measured against his “trust rating” when he was still president-elect, his “positive rating” dropped by 17% and his “negative rating” increased almost three times to 11%; thus giving him a “net positive rating” of 60%.  That’s a 24% drop in three months!


Compared with previous presidents’ “satisfaction ratings” during their first 100 days in office, P-Noy’s “satisfaction rating” is higher than his late mother Cory Aquino’s 53%; lower than Fidel V. Ramos’ 66%; tied with Joseph “Erap” Estrada; and much higher than Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s 24%.  However, except for Ramos whose “satisfaction rating” was pretty stable during his first two years in office, the “satisfaction ratings” of Cory, Estrada, and Arroyo plunged during their first year in office.  


The question is: Which way would P-Noy’s “satisfaction rating” go during his first year in office? Up or down?


While a majority of the people would still be confident that P-Noy is honest and incorruptible -- thus deserving of a high personal “satisfaction rating” -- it might not hold true with his “performance rating” which was manifested poorly in the second and third surveys published last October 11 and October 16.


With 41% of the respondents “dissatisfied” of his performance and 50% believing that he can only fulfill “a few” of the promises he made in his SONA, that is definitely a big “red flag” and P-Noy should strive hard to improve his performance and program of government.

Indeed, P-Noy needs to shift from “campaign mode” to “governance mode.”  It’s time for him to digress from demagoguery and start laying the groundwork for the delivery of his campaign promise, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” (No corruption, no poverty).  His first 100 days in office are over; he should now be cranking out results. 


A lesson from history


During the reign of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, Mao managed to stay in power by keeping the “spirit of revolution” alive.  He reasoned that as long as China was in a perpetual state of revolution, the Chinese people would make sacrifices in the belief that once the revolution had ended, it would usher in an era of peace and prosperity.  That’s the farthest from the truth: the revolution ended when Chiang Kai Shek fled the mainland in 1949 and the communists took full control of the government.  However, by constantly reminding the people of revolutionary “changes,” the people remained hopeful that things were going to get better.   But nothing changed much.  The Chinese people remained powerless and poor under Mao’s oppressive “revolutionary” regime.


When Mao passed away in 1976, the visionary Deng Xiaoping became the de-facto leader.  Deng started instituting drastic and ambitious economic reforms.  His instituted “revisionist” policies – anathema to Communist dogma -- that eventually freed China from the yoke of poverty.  Today, after three decades of industrialization and blending capitalism with its socialist economic system, China is now the second biggest economy in the world, after the United States.


I am not espousing that P-Noy should embrace the Chinese brand of social-capitalism.  However, he should break away from a feudalistic – and anachronistic -- agricultural system and push the country on the road to industrialization.  In my opinion, industrialization is the only way to bring about real and meaningful economic progress in the Philippines. 


Political will


But first things first.   P-Noy has to have the political will to implement the changes he promised the people.  He needs to go beyond the “wang-wang” politics that awed the people during his inauguration.  He needs to demonstrate leadership skills and do away with “hotdog-eating” gimmickry.  While it might endear him to the “common tao” in the short run, the real challenge for him is to assert his primacy as the nation’s leader and impose his supremacy when dealing with recalcitrant and troublesome subordinates.  


He can be caring yet resolute.  He can be fair yet astute.  He can be a benevolent yet stern disciplinarian.  And he can be loved by the people yet feared by his enemies. These traits are the mark of a true leader.  That’s the P-Noy we’d like to see.