Provinces split on President Aquino’s first year | Inquirer News

Provinces split on President Aquino’s first year

LAOAG CITY—Various sectors in Ilocos Norte appeared to be satisfied with the performance of President Aquino in his first year in office.

In an informal survey that the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) conducted among members of the academe, nongovernment organizations, religious groups and government and private sectors, most gave the President a performance rating of 3 in a scale of 1 to 4, where 4 is the highest.

Mr. Aquino, according to the PIA survey, rated high in fighting graft and corruption, transparency, investigation and prosecution of government officials linked to various anomalies.


The respondents also cited the private sector participation in infrastructure projects, the control in prices of basic commodities and the ban on the use of sirens as among the positive aspects of his administration.


Some respondents were undecided when asked how the President performed in the areas of job and livelihood generation, improving quality of education, reducing poverty, controlling the incidents of dengue, peace initiatives with insurgents and other armed groups, and efforts to curb illegal gambling.

Hostage crisis

But Supt. Sterling Blanco, Laoag City police chief, said the Aquino administration showed weakness in the handling of the Manila hostage crisis, where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a botched rescue operation by the police.

“The President should have personally handled the situation considering that the hostages were foreigners. His presence would have shown his concern for the international community,” he said.

In Nueva Ecija, Eduardo Nonato Joson, founder of the Citizen Power Movement, summed up the first year of Mr. Aquino as “failed expectations.”

Joson, a former Nueva Ecija governor and representative, said the roads which the Aquino administration are treading “are still crooked and badly need repairs.”


The continuation of the conditional cash transfer program, he said, highlights lack of economic vision and plan. This emphasized dependency rather than jobs, he added.


In Pampanga, Victoria Gaetos, Central Luzon governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Aquino administration’s anti-corruption thrust is successful, particularly at the  Department of Public Works and Highways. “But [Mr. Aquino] still has to be a hands-on leader. He still has to do the same in other income-generating agencies,” she said.

In Pangasinan, Dagupan City Mayor Benjamin Lim rates Mr. Aquino’s performance at 6 on a scale of 10.

“He has to hit the ground running. Kailangang magpakita ka ng gilas (You should show off) because you’re supposed to be different from [former President] Gloria [Macapagal-Arroyo],” Lim said.

“But if you look at [Arroyo’s] performance, she get  results fast. She may cut corners but you can see the results immediately, or in a shorter span of time,” said Lim.

To show he is serious, Mr. Aquino has to start making heads roll, even if those involved in wrongdoings are his friends or allies, Lim said.

“Eventually, people’s confidence will erode if they continue to see that the President is not doing the right thing. He has to crack the whip,” he said.

Crime campaign

He said Mr. Aquino had still to show he had done something substantial in health and education, and in reducing crimes such as the illegal drugs trade which has an impact on ordinary citizens.

Lina Melecio-Tan, chair of the Liwawa Ed Asinan Foundation, said Mr. Aquino means well to help the poor, but the success rate of his programs cannot be seen yet.

“It is good that the national government has extended its hand to the civil society groups to help, but the process is slow,” she said.

In Bulacan, Fr. Prospero Tenorio, chair of community formation of the Malolos Diocese, gave the President a passing mark of 75.

“This is his first year in office. Let us give him the chance to show his worth and commitment to bring progress and development to our country,” he said.

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Alex Meneses, a resident of Bulacan town, gave Mr. Aquino a failing grade. “After one year, only the wang-wang (siren) policy has been fully implemented,” he said.

TAGS: Agriculture, Business, Economy, Employment, Food, Prices, Provinces, Regions

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