Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Aquino and the promise of Change: 3 out of 10 Pinoys believe in him

Three out of ten Filipinos expect their lives to improve in the next 12 months. That's based on a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS). The survey firm got the responses of a segment of the 50 million registered voters. Translate that to what they call "net optimism score" and you get a very high 26%, the net difference between 35% (those who are optimistic) and 9% (those who are pessimistic). This score is considered "high" considering previous low optimism scores.

Look at this figure and compare that with the segment of the voters who voted for Aquino--it is the same--35% to 40%. That clearly suggests that president-elect Noynoy Aquino's support base are Filipinos who really wanted change and saw the possibility of it being done in him.

The mandate, therefore, of Aquino is very clear---he must sustain the high support, convert this optimism into a potent force for change and eventually work hard to get the approbation of the  remaining segment of the population who clearly does not know if they have to be optimistic or pessimistic about his administration.

The next ninety days of his administration, therefore, is very crucial indeed. People will be closely monitoring his movements, precisely due to initial doubts and fears that the same old faces who were appointed to previous administrations, are again poised to occupy sensitive positions in the new administration.

People's expectations are higher than previous administrations because of Aquino's promise for change. When leaders say they are prepared to change things for the better, the Filipinos view this call as "complete change", meaning, a substantial change.

One of the key policy changes the people expect from Noynoy is his anti-poverty reduction program. He should address this immediately and be foreright about it.

Another one is his appointment of persons in his official family. Preferably, these appointments should be a mixture of old and new, with "new" faces dominating that of the old.

Aquino should limit his promises to a few, possibly three or four, goals that he thinks is doable. He should not do what Arroyo did in her previous pronouncements, promising a "perfumed existence" through her "enchanted kingdom" blah-blah, and instead be forthwith on what his administration can do and cannot do.

One thing should be certain---he must involve the people through their representatives from the civil society, NGO's and POs in policy making and research. He must implement an Executive Order placing representatives of legitimate non-government organizations and people's organizations in the decision-making boards of line agencies and other governmental bodies. He should also tap the academe and involve them in governance, especially in policy-making.

One last thing--Aquino should also solicit the support of Filipinos overseas. Filipino expatriates and those living abroad should be transformed into a potent and leading force for change. They should intensify their participation in the new government. The Filipino Overseas should lead the charge for change.

Fact is, every single Filipino out there who really want change to happen should get involved in this change entreprise. This administration should transform government, from being a private entreprise of a corrupt few, to a participative and engaging government for the majority.

The governmental bureaucracy should be changed, from a bottom heavy one, to a responsive change agent. Streamlining the bureaucracy will do the trick.