Noynoying he is not, and neither is he going to get into a fight over it.
President Benigno Aquino III made that clear when asked by reporters what he thought of the claim by activists that he was simply “Noynoying” in his job—a stab at his supposedly “carefree” style of addressing pressing problems. Noynoy is the President’s nickname.
Chatting with the media on Sunday night at the Mansion—the President’s official summer residence in Baguio City—Mr. Aquino said his critics’ latest swipe at him “does not merit attention.”
“How can one show something to a person who does not want to see, or make him listen when he does not want to listen?” said the President, who spent the night in Baguio after attending the graduation ceremonies of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 2012 at Fort Del Pilar.
“But for me, I have all the statistics,” he said.
Mr. Aquino said that in a talk with the PMA graduates, he told them that a “ready test” to show the economy was improving would be the number of people in the mall carrying packages as against the number of people simply “malling.”
Another indication was the booming construction industry as shown by the building activities in Metro Manila, he said. He also pointed to the strong showing of the stock market.
“I’ve been in office for 21 months and the record was broken 21 times,” Mr. Aquino said, referring to the stock exchange index.
The President said he could not do anything if some groups would not believe in the efforts being made by his administration. “I will just try to do what is right and what I think would give results,” he added.
“When we started out, given the enormity of the problems, we thought two years minimum before you start sensing things are changing. But I think it’s [already] happening,” the President said.
Running out of issues
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a text message he believed the Noynoying type of protest would lose its relevance as the public became aware that the protesters were resorting to personal attacks against the President.
Noynoying first drew media attention last week when protesters at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City simply lounged around the steps of a building, trying to look bored or giving the impression of doing nothing. Organizers said the protest was intended to portray a “do-nothing President.”
“I think they are just trying to attract the attention of a public that has been ignoring them. With the reforms being introduced by President Aquino in anticorruption, poverty reduction and jobs, they are running out of issues to rally around,” Abad said.
Netizens at it, too
Abad said resorting to personal attacks showed that the militants had run out of criticisms against the President.
“They are seriously in danger of drifting into irrelevance. That is why they have now degenerated into launching baseless ad hominem attacks against the person of the President,” Abad said.
Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino said Abad was “out of touch with reality.”
“Noynoying will be ignored by the public if it doesn’t have basis. But Noynoying is no longer an activist initiative, it has been readily embraced and popularized by the public, especially netizens,” Palatino said.
“If Abad isn’t aware of it, (it is) the public, not us activists, who (are) responsible for the popular usage of the term.”
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said Abad should not “arrogantly dismiss” Noynoying and those who coined it.
“These organizations are merely expressing the growing discontent of the public regarding the President’s performance on economic issues. It has gained currency with the public because it perfectly captures their frustration with P-Noy’s lack of action on rising oil prices. Mark my words,” Tinio said. With a report from Gil C. Cabacungan