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Opposition, Mindanao civil society give Aquino low marks

11 July 2011 No Comment

Posted on June 30, 2011 11:39:10 PM

OPPOSITION GROUPS and civil society leaders in Mindanao yesterday criticized President Benigno S. C. Aquino III for failing to deliver on his campaign promise to end corruption, ensure passage of key legislation and lay down a definite road map for the country during his first year in office.

“The President’s centerpiece program against corruption is becoming a centerfold for being bare propaganda,” House Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman (Albay, 1st district) said in a statement.

The opposition bloc cited a survey by Hongkong-based Political and Risk Consultacy, Ltd. which states that corruption rating has even worsened to 8.9 from 8.25 on a scale of one to 10 in a survey covering the period from November 2010 to February 2011.

“The President’s major campaign sound bite of Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap[If there is no corruption, no one will be poor] has become a relic of partisan sloganeering and faulty premise,” Mr. Lagman said.

The progressive bloc in the House also expressed discontent over Mr. Aquino’s performance.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro A. Casiño, Jr. scored the President for failing to ensure passage of the Freedom of Information (FoI) bill which will require all state offices to be more transparent in public documents.

“A government that prevents its passage is a government that does not want transparency and accountability. Just like the previous administration, the Aquino government does not want a genuine FoI bill. It wants a watered-down version that will allow public officials to hide crucial information from the public,” he said in a separate statement.

For their part, party-list Reps. Antonio L. Tinio (Act Teachers) and Raymond V. Palatino (Kabataan) both gave Mr. Aquino a failing mark for not adequately addressing the worsening crisis in education.

“The previous administration’s legacy of gross shortages of teachers, classrooms, textbooks, and other resources has been dramatically worsened by this administration’s implementation of universal kindergarten without adequate funding and preparation,” Mr. Tinio said.

He described the Department of Education’s deployment of up to 40,000 kindergarten teachers, who will be paid a mere P3,000 per month as volunteers, as a “serious attack on the rights of teachers.”

Mr. Palatino, for his part, said Mr. Aquino merely repackaged the same policies of the past administrations especially that of former president now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd district).

“Privatization is now public-private partnership. Corruption and bad governance now come in the form of KKK (kaibigankaklasekamag-anak or friend, classmate, relative),” he said.

In Mindanao, Vicente T. Lao, Mindanao Business Council chairman, said the President needs to do more even if he did have “some achievements.”

“He should be more assertive with his Cabinet secretaries. He should demand performance with specific timelines,” he said.

Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, head of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao, said the President’s performance is aptly symbolized by the Porsche sports car amid the prevailing poverty incidence.

“It’s still elitist governance, not much different from past administrations. He made anti-corruption as campaign slogan yet corruption is still rampant as before… It’s a big disappointment,” Mr. Zarate said.

Rodolfo Olamit, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)-Davao City, gave a “very low” assessment.

“In the peace process, he didn’t follow through on what he promised,” he said.

The government is ironing out kinks in the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF, while at the same time holding separate talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Malaysia.

Carlos Omar A. Vargas, one of the construction industry leaders in Davao City and former president of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Associations, said the economic indicators show a high unemployment rate and low foreign visitor arrival.

“So much was expected but very little was done,” he said.

Jerome R. Soldevilla, president of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Industries, said he expects improvement in development policies.

“While we have high confidence in his sincerity…, the articulation of his policies and blue print to achieve economic targets and reforms is very much wanting,” he added. —Noemi M. Gonzales and Joel B. Escovilla with L. G. Dumas and A. S. Mawallil

(Source: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=Opposition,-Mindanao-civil-society-give-Aquino-low-marks&id=34034)

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