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Unsolicited advice to President Noynoy Aquino

April 6, 2011 1 comment

President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III

 

Unsolicited advice to President Noynoy Aquino

by: Harvey S. Keh

 

Much has been said about the declining trust and satisfaction ratings of the President but aside from it being a case of not being able to communicate the administration’s accomplishments properly, I feel that President Noynoy Aquino should also come up with a landmark program or policy that would help define his administration as early as now. An example of which are three main things that are much needed by our country, the passage of a Freedom of Information (FOI) Law, the impartial implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with reforms (CARPER) and lasting peace and development in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

 

Pass the FOI immediately

 

Aquino ran on a platform of good governance, transparency and accountability that is why many were very surprised when he didn’t make the passage of the FOI as a priority measure for our Congress to immediately act upon. The FOI will enable ordinary citizens to demand information from our government officials and agencies especially those pertaining to how public funds are being used. In fact, I am surprised that much more attention has been given to the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill which has been a divisive issue in our society whereas the FOI Bill is a more important piece of legislation that is clearly less divisive now. The only Filipinos who will most likely oppose this bill are those who have many shenanigans to hide such as the cases of former AFP Generals Carlos Garcia and Jacinto Ligot. The Department of the Interior and Local Government led by Sec. Jesse Robredo has already asked all local government units to publish their budget and expenses for their constituents to see. This activity which Robredo himself has done during his 18 years as Mayor of Naga City will help in curbing corruption and ensuring that public funds are used efficiently to deliver basic services to the people.  I hope that the President will be able to see the importance of having an FOI law as one of the main foundations of his fight against graft and corruption in our government.

 

Hacienda Luisita

 

Many are still waiting on what Aquino will do with the case of Hacienda Luisita which has hounded him ever since he declared that he would run for President in the last elections. This will be a test case for the President since many big landowners can also try not to surrender their properties to the Department of Agrarian Reform since they can always say that it should be the President  who should first lead the way. Leadership by example is the most effective form of leadership since as they say talk is cheap. With the growing prices of food in the world market, the challenge for self-sufficiency in rice and corn production will be very critical in our fight against poverty. Just by going to the provinces, one can see that a main problem that our country continues to face is the many idle agricultural lands that are not being used. If all of these agricultural properties would be effectively distributed to farmers then I am sure that our rice and corn production would increase dramatically. By distributing and providing support services to the farmers of Hacienda Luisita, our President can showcase it as a success story in land reform.  Similar to his no wang wang policy which is now followed by all government officials, landed families will now have no choice but to also follow his example in supporting CARPER.

 

Postpone the ARMM elections

 

Finally, there is the perennial problem which is the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which has always been ruled by corrupt and traditional warlords turned politicians. The past administrations have never been able to make a dent in terms of bringing lasting development to the region. Worse, the previous administration even turned a blind eye to what was really happening in ARMM which eventually led to the tragic Maguindanao Massacre perpetuated by the Ampatuans. This culture of fear, harassment and patronage politics in ARMM are the main reasons why even if you push through with the upcoming ARMM elections, you will still end up with having the same kind of leaders in the region. This is the reason why I am fully supportive in the moves being done to push for the postponement of the ARMM elections.  How can there be genuine democracy if people cannot go out and vote for the right leaders because they fear for their lives? Another big issue is the official voters list that still needs to be cleaned up for an election to be truly representative of the real sentiments of the people. Free elections in the ARMM cannot happen if political and electoral reforms are not implemented first. It may not be the Ampatuans who will win out if elections do push through but it will be another family who will again use the funds of the ARMM as their own personal bank account while many of our Muslim brothers and sisters continue to live in hunger and poverty.

 

The Ateneo School of Government and the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership is open to accepting volunteers, interns and OJTs for this summer. For those who are interested, please send your resume to harveykeh@gmail.com .

 

Comments are welcome at harveykeh@gmail.com .

 

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Never again to another Maguindanao Massacre! Support the petition to postpone the ARMM Elections!

March 31, 2011 5 comments
Without the much needed political and electoral reforms in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), warlords in the region will win again in the upcoming elections. Genuine reforms are needed before an election that truly represents the sentiments of the people is held. Support the postponement of the ARMM Elections! Let us not allow another Maguindanao Massacre to happen again!
Make your voice heard now by signing up here:


http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/postponearmmelections/

This is an initiative of I am for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPaD-Mindanao), a coalition of Mindanao-based civil society organizations. For more information about IPaD-Mindanao, you can visit http://www.ipadmindanao.org/
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