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All eyes are now on Noynoy Aquino. After an intense campaign period, the first fully-automated elections, and his celebrated proclamation, we look back at his trail of promises.
Population and Environment
Aim: Encourage sustainable use of resources; plan alternative and inclusive urban development where people of varying income levels are integrated in productive, healthy and safe communities.
Noynoy will promote ecotourism by mobilizing grassroots communities into environmental preservation efforts and sustainable tourism programs. He will also establish a national sanitation program that will provide access to sanitary toilets, thereby protecting bodies of water from domestic waste contamination.
Government Resources and Population Dynamics
Aim: Uphold clean governance by enforcing transparency and accountability in government allocation and spending. Establish a truly impartial system of institutions that deliver equal justice to rich or poor.
Noynoy caused quite a stir when he assured Filipinos that he would not impose new taxes or increase current tax rates. He will augment the deficiency in the national budget through efficient tax collection and implementing higher customs duties. Noynoy is optimistic that the whopping $6 billion that gets squandered yearly in corrupt dealings will be used to increase the ranks of the middle class through micro financing and to revitalize the economy. He supports the Freedom of Information Bill and plans to review the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement. Noynoy also guarantees that tax evaders and smugglers will be brought to justice.
Population and Food Supply
Aim: Invest in farms and rural enterprises to achieve food security, sustained productivity and more equitable economic growth. Support and modernize the agricultural sector.
Noynoy sees “freedom from hunger” as a means to empower the Filipino people. He plans to provide jobs that will enable our countrymen not just to feed themselves but to elevate their quality of life. Noynoy will also boost industries, including agribusiness, and enhance productivity in the agricultural sector through policies and programs.
Population and Housing
Aim: Provide adequate housing and uphold every Filipino’s right to a decent home.
Noynoy’s government will focus on area upgrading and in-city resettlement through the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) and award land to poor families though the Comprehensive Land Use Plans of LGUs. Noynoy guarantees enough housing funds by means of the Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Financing Act (CISFA) and by mobilizing LGUs, NGOs and private sectors. He will also put an end to illegal evictions and provide quality housing with sufficient basic services and opportunities for livelihood.
Population and Education
Aim: Reduce poverty and build national competitiveness by prioritizing and investing in quality education.
Noynoy plans to work closely with the LGUs to build more schools. He also proposes a 12-Year Basic Education Cycle with a universal pre-school system so every child will be a reader by Grade 1. He also supports UNESCO’s tried-and-tested formula for mother tongue instruction from pre-school to Grade 3. Noynoy’s basic education agenda will strengthen science and math curricula for global competitiveness. Madaris education with subjects in Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education will also be integrated in the public school curriculum as additional subjects for Muslim Filipino children. No less than accurate and quality textbooks will be used and Technical Vocational Education will be offered as an alternative in senior high school.
Population and Health
Aim: Establish universal health care and push for the Responsible Parenthood bill.
Noynoy will ensure access and equity in health care by making health services and basic medicines available to all Filipinos. He will streamline health infrastructure and ensure a holistic and comprehensive Health Care System. Philhealth benefits will include outpatient health care. He has also promised to quit smoking.
Population and Employment
Aim: Empower the people and provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty. Generate jobs and better opportunities for Filipinos. Ensure the welfare and protect the rights of OFWs.
Noynoy will launch major and labor-intensive public works programs that will create jobs. He will also ensure that workers will avail of SSS and other benefits. His government will encourage full-employment and global competitiveness, as well as entrepreneurship and pro-poor tourism.
The Aquino government also aims to implement reforms in the Judiciary; revive peace talks in Mindanao while pushing for its development; and promote equal gender opportunity in all spheres of public policies and curb gender disparities.
A lot of these are sound policies. But like what Noynoy said in an interview with Lila Shahani for Philippine Graphic, “The Philippines already has decent laws. What is far more critical is the implementation gap.” So can he deliver all these? The Filipinos will once again play the game of wait and see.

The economic vision and platform of Noynoy Aquino
Thursday, 21 January 2010 09:12 PM Cocoy * Share this * Twitter * Digg * * Reddit * Yahoo * Googlize this * Facebook * * Export PDF * Print * E-mail | |
This is how change begins. The air is bristling with possibilities. Can you feel it energized by Hope and Faith in our unified Future? Before a room of 800 senior executives that make up the Makati Business Club, the Management Association of the Philippines, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines and the diplomatic corps, was Senator Benigno S. Aquino III delivering his first policy speech and when it was over: a standing ovation.
Change is off to a great start.
This is what Noynoy Aquino envisions for the Philippines: a country where taxes are lower and where markets are free to encourage entrepreneurs and enterprises to invest for jobs to be created.
Is that possible?
“As of November 2009,” Senator Aquino noted, “the deficit of the national government already reached PHP272.5B, or 4.1% of GDP.”
These are facts: * * BIR Collection fell 5.5%. * Bureau of Customs Collection declined 16.6%.
These are estimates lost to corruption: * * 280 Billion Pesos in 2009. * Over 1 Trillion pesos between 2002 and 2009.
“For the first time in recent history,” Noynoy Aquino said, “that absolute revenue declined.”
The atmosphere seems dismal. The task before us daunting and yet amidst these truths, an Aquino administration is confident that it will avoid imposing higher taxes or introduce new taxes.
Okay, that sounds crazy doesn’t it? Tax revenues have declined, and Aquino wants to lower taxes. How is he going to achieve all that?
Aquino says he will crack down on two things: * * Smuggling; * Tax Evasion.
As President, Mr. Aquino will continue with existing and successful programs such as the “Run After Tax Evaders” (RATE). In fact, Aquino said that his campaign and future administration is already hard at working hand-in-hand with reform minded career executives from the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Fact: tax collection fell from a high of 17% to 13% (update: tax effort) today.
Noynoy Aquino believes that if government can raise tax collection from 13% to 15% and that change is equivalent to PHP150B more revenues or 55% of our current deficit of PHP272.5B.
This is what we lose due to inefficient infrastructure: PHP2 Billion worth of fuel.
To solve this, Noynoy Aquino proposes to transform infrastructure project from sources of inefficiencies to “examples of cooperation and efficiency.” He envisions Local Government Units (LGU) and Infrastructure agencies to work hand in hand with the private sector “by bringing forth an agreed public infrastructure program based on a cohesive plan that optimizes the value of the entire network.”
This infrastructure program is aimed also to invigorate the economy.
Fact: administrative costs in Agriculture cost tax payers a lot such as P60M lost by the government to National Agribusiness Corporation.
Noynoy Aquino will review the Department of Agriculture’s entire current program and encourage the use of supply chain management.
“What is it that we want to change?” * * Repair the damage on our democratic institutions; * Improve the situation of our people; * Give our young opportunity to improve ; * To make government leap from patronage to development.
For far too long our government has been strangling the nation with not just high rhetoric but heavy taxes. This speech was filled with substance that critics of Aquino must now answer. The new direction in tax collection personally I find, is a welcome relief.
The present administration has been strangling the people. Everything is taxed to the point that there is nothing to be squeezed. That the high tax rate forces even more corruption to avoid paying exuberant tax rates.
The present administration has reached a point that to raise revenue it has attempted and circumvented an International Treaty that says, thou shall not tax book importation. It has attempted to raise taxes by taxing SMS.
Why is Noynoy Aquino’s plan to eventually reduce taxes good for you and me?
Translated into human terms, tax reduction opens a door to allow people to either save more, or spend in the economy. It allows people disposable income to spend on more things other than food. It raises the quality of living, and more people buying, means the economy is breathing, and money is flowing.
Just imagine that the money you earned, actually benefits you.
Mr. Aquino aims to make government more efficient. The cynical may argue that “government and efficient” used together is an oxymoron. Given billions of pesos lost to smuggling, and tax evasion, given almost three hundred billion deficit and given that current efforts to raise revenue have fallen short, Mr. Aquino’s policy speech outlining his intent is a breath of fresh air.
After nine years, the clamor is to abandon everything wrong with the status quo and to cast it off. Noynoy Aquino intends to shift the status quo of economic survival into robust economic growth. It is that firm belief that we can change the system. It is now the moment to take the leap from patronage to development.
It will be interesting to see, in the weeks and months to come, as the campaign advances forward the specifics for the massive infrastructure project that Mr. Aquino intends to accomplish.
The fight to unravel the tendrils of corruption; the great task of Institutional Reform, the massive investment in infrastructure, these are the steps needed to move forward. Noynoy Aquino and his Team understand the threats of tomorrow and clearly have a plan that is not shallow.
Today, we saw an inkling of what a future Aquino Administration could be, if elected in May. It is a promise to transform the poor Philippines into a middle class Philippines.
This is why the air bristles with possibilities. This is why Change is off to a great start. This is Noynoy Aquino’s vision in his own words:
“My vision is to transform our country into one where we have lower tax rates enjoyed by all, rather than have some enjoy absolute tax exemptions while we burden the rest of the economy with very high tax rates. I believe that markets are better than government in spotting where the growth opportunities are, and, with universal low tax rates, we will encourage entrepreneurs and enterprises to invest and create jobs in any industry. We will therefore, pursue the rationalization of fiscal incentives early in my administration.”
Finally, we have a serious presidential candidate talking about policy and real issues. That is what people have been waiting and hoping for. If today is an indication, then this election is Mr. Aquino's to lose.
"Tayo, sa halip na kayo at kami."
This is how change begins. Noynoy Aquino intends to push for a government of unity and coupled with a push to plug leaks in the system of tax collection, reduce smuggling, invigorate the economy through an infrastructure program that is about cooperation and efficiency, and lower tax rate for all. Noynoy Aquino's Economic Vision can be distilled further into these four simple words: “a Philippines that Works.”
Transformational Leadership

From a President who tolerates corruption… to a President who is the nation’s first and most determined fighter of corruption.

From a government that merely conjures economic growth statistics that our people know to be unreal… to a government that prioritizes jobs that empower the people and provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty.

From relegating education to just one of many concerns… to making education the central strategy for investing in our people, reducing poverty and building national competitiveness.

From treating health as just another area for political patronage… to recognizing the advancement and protection of public health, which includes responsible parenthood, as key measures of good governance.

From justice that money and connections can buy… to a truly impartial system of institutions that deliver equal justice to rich or poor.


From government policies influenced by well-connected private interests… to a leadership that executes all the laws of the land with impartiality and decisiveness.

From treating the rural economy as just a source of problems… to recognizing farms and rural enterprises as vital to achieving food security and more equitable economic growth, worthy of re-investment for sustained productivity.

From government anti-poverty programs that instill a dole-out mentality… to well-considered programs that build capacity and create opportunity among the poor and the marginalized in the country.

From a government that dampens private initiative and enterprise… to a government that creates conditions conducive to the growth and competitiveness of private businesses, big, medium and small.

From a government that treats its people as an export commodity and a means to earn foreign exchange, disregarding the social cost to Filipino families… to a government that creates jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity; and when its citizens do choose to become OFWs, their welfare and protection will still be the government’s priority.

Government Service

From Presidential appointees chosen mainly out of political accommodation… to discerning selection based on integrity, competence and performance in serving the public good.

From demoralized but dedicated civil servants, military and police personnel destined for failure and frustration due to inadequate operational support… to professional, motivated and energized bureaucracies with adequate means to perform their public service missions.

Gender Equality

From a lack of concern for gender disparities and shortfalls… to the promotion of equal gender opportunity in all spheres of public policies and programs.

Peace and Order

From a disjointed, short-sighted Mindanao policy that merely reacts to events and incidents… to one that seeks a broadly-supported just peace and will redress decades of neglect of the Moro and other peoples of Mindanao.


From allowing environmental blight to spoil our cities, where both the rich and the poor bear with congestion and urban decay… to planning alternative, inclusive urban developments where people of varying income levels are integrated in productive, healthy and safe communities.

Noynoy Aquino, a modern liberal
June 18th, 2010 by Abe N. Margallo
For the many who have enthusiastically supported or joined EDSA II, myself among them, the final push was almost certainly the failure of the constitutional process (the remedy of impeachment) to hold then President Estrada accountable for charges of multiple impeachment offenses. (President–elect Noynoy Aquino himself has threatened to go directly to the people the EDSA way had the people’s will in the last presidential elections been tampered with by massive cheating.)
We know now of course that the Supreme Court has in effect legitimized the great public disorder of 2001 by holding that what actually occurred in EDSA II was not really an uprising of sorts but speechifying, yet intense enough to force the beleaguered Estrada into “constructive resignation.” As a result, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a latecomer to the EDSA II movement, was voted in by the Court only because the incumbent was booted out in the EDSA fashion (Arroyo now claims she was “thrust” into the presidency apparently by operation of the law on constitutional succession). There was then no opportunity for the Filipino people to learn or demand from Arroyo the unfurling of her philosophy of governance for prior public vetting.
My own enthusiasm immediately petered out on the very day President Arroyo delivered her first policy speech upon being swept into power. Arroyo made no grand promises of reforms (or, for that matter, transformation) following what everyone but the Supreme Court believed had been a rebellion, except for her to govern the country business as usual, i.e., to keep the status quo.
“During my administration, democracy and the market will be the guiding principles of my domestic and foreign policies,” she announced. The vision articulated no doubt had a calming effect on the Establishment. In the same speech, Arroyo made the further assurance that her “administration will resist the temptation to adventurist initiatives and directions for the sake of appearing to be innovative.”
Like Barack Obama, Noynoy Aquino was elected president on a promise of great change. But while Obama acknowledged that change would not be easy, Noynoy during the presidential campaign confidently asserted that it is “extremely possible” because “the solutions have been there all along.”
I have come to believe early on that a Noynoy presidency can be transformational (and by it I really meant liberatory) drawing support for such a belief from the published platform of the Liberal Party and at least from two of Noynoy’s key legislative proposals, Senate Bill No. 1370 requiring businesses to grant annual productivity incentive to all workers in the private sector amounting to no less than 10% of the company’s net profits and Senate Bill No. 2036 amending the Wage Rationalization Act by increasing the penalties for non-compliance of the prescribed increases and adjustments in worker’s wage rates.
On the other hand, the Liberal Party economic program includes the promise to: break up monopolies in public utilities; mobilize Filipino capital towards a vigorous program of industrialization and employment creation; target high value-added industries to accelerate the country’s development process; build industrial partnership by ensuring every employee’s right to participate in business decisions and by promoting the concept of employee co-ownership.
By contrast, Arroyo apparently concerned about a change for the worse has avowed to shun adventurism and innovation for their own sake, something that fits her well into the mold of a prototypical conservative in the ideological spectrum whose publicly professed vision is to conserve aged-old traditions and institutions such as market democracy. If Arroyo were to claim to be a reformer at all, it would be fair to say that she, having been a president for nine long years, is at best an incrementalist.
I have posed this question before:
If [Arroyo’s] accession to presidency has been justified by Chief Justice Davide on the principle ofsalus populi est suprema lex, reliance upon the market and formal democracy alone without social justice and stewardship on the part of the nation’s patricians would look like a policy disconnect to the rhetoric of advancing the welfare of the Filipino People. For, social justice, the main tool for the advancement of its cause being state intervention through “the humanization of laws and equalization of social and economic forces,” is traditionally antithetical to free market that follows, first and foremost, the dictates of “rational self-interest.”
At the other end of the spectrum is liberalism which comes in different formulations, one of the most acceptable of them being “liberation or freedom from traditions.” Someone who believes that change for the better is “extremely possible” and is willing to experiment on a new governance paradigm is quintessentially a liberal (in the modern sense).
Modern liberals (as distinguished from classical liberals) believe that guarantees of individual rights are meaningless where individuals are bereft of the wherewithal (such as suitable education and gainful enterprise or employment) to exercise or benefit from those rights. Whereas classical liberals demands limited government and emphasizes freedom from restraint or negative liberty, modern liberals requires greater government involvement especially in matters of economic affairs to promote positive liberty. Classical liberalism which seeks to empower the commercial class and forms the basis of laissez-fairecapitalism has somehow metamorphosed into conservatism.
This earlier post of mine I hope will help differentiate the one ideology from the other:
In political life in general, there are as many individuals or groups of individuals doing their best to transform our political habits, practices and institutions as there are others at the opposite end trying equally hard to conserve those habits, practices and institutions.
Radicals in this contest are seen as impatient with snail-paced reforms that leave behind their tracks a great mass of distressed losers. Conservatives, on the other hand, content with trickle-down progress, are regarded as reverential to certain time-honored values and traditional authorities that are deemed to serve well the existing order and a few winners who benefit most from it. In the face however of the perceived failure to justify the perpetuation of the system in place, drastic measures would be attempted paving the way in the process for the ideology of revolutionary transformation. For instance, feudalism or the old economy based on slaveholding, having lost its reason for being, has given way to industrial capitalism, and then capitalism itself, in need of reforms, has been subjected to serious challenge mounted by rival ideologies such as Marxism and socialism.
In 1989, conservative thinker Francis Fukuyama, in The End of History?, dared to claim that the big question has been settled with the supposed triumph of “liberal democracy” which he hailed as the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of human government”; and that if at all flaws in that triumphant ideology might still be extant, they were rather due to “incomplete implementation” than “in the principles themselves.”
Ideologies are secular (not religious) beliefs in the abilities of man to establish the good society on earth. In the Western world, whether the good society for the greatest number would come in spurts or trickle is driven by the claims of two competing ideologies, one promotes the preservation of allegiances to established order and the other advocates the rupture of bonds from such order, or the values, thoughts and institutions that support it; yet both of which are all the same based on liberal democracy.
There is historical basis in the contention that liberalism grew out of the friction between government and business, with the latter asserting freedom from interference by the former. It was in that sense a negative liberty (freedom from), which insists further on continued protection by the government of such liberty so recognized. Therefore, the progenitor of modern liberalism is economic (or market) liberalism.
Before the emerging power of the merchants and manufacturers sought privileges against restraints, it had always befallen upon the government to provide for the well-being of the nation and its people and toward that end direct and control the national economy. Then, Adam Smith wrote a convincing treatise to reinvent the wheel, arguing instead for a self-regulating economy where the efficient producers of goods and services in free competition are supposed to outsell the less efficient ones and consumers as a result get better products for their bucks than when government interferes with such freedom. Smith’s postulate was the early beginning of laissez-faire economics and inter-national trade.
Democracy on the other hand is about the assumption by the people of the responsibilities of government. It is in a sense an aspect of positive liberty, of self-determination or the realization of the individual’s fullest potential. Political participation is a solemn exercise of this liberty.
Unfortunately, a large population is often too raucous to make decisive action. Democratic governance would then require the initiative of an organized group or the commitment of an elite citizenry to run the government in the name of the people. The growing complexity of modern life has also reduced the expression of political sovereignty to the practical requirement of government by representation. When the undercurrent of elitist democracy converges with the rush of economic liberalism to make up the ideology of market democracy, there is the peril that the blend could end up only in the protection and maintenance, constitutionally or otherwise, of rights and rents already vested (in those who may have attained “market power”) and deference to old habits and modes of thinking rather than in experimentation and innovation with a view to the substantive distribution of opportunities to the impoverished majority desperately aspiring to secure them, or at least the safeguard against invasion of basic rights. x x x
Indeed, democracy is threatened at any time political equality is violated (such as when the vote assigned to each particle of sovereignty is not properly counted or valued) just as in instances where political sovereignty is disregarded (such as when the will of the majority is adulterated or simply set aside post-elections through logrolling, cronyism, patronage and other political rent-seeking activities). In fact, there is as much failure of democracy when ordinary citizens lose the power of effective control over leaders resulting in utter lack of public accountability, as there is market failure when market-dominant minority engages in predatory market behavior because of unrestrained market power.
The observation that political elites are oftentimes helpless against well-entrenched economicelites who normally come out unscathed and blameless in the power play somehow dovetails with [Yale Law School professor] Amy Chua’s observation that fair, honest and democratic elections bring to power anti-market forces. Chua explains the polarity this way: “Markets concentrate wealth, often spectacular wealth, in the hands of the market-dominant minority, while democracy increases the political power of the impoverished majority.”
What’s basically being argued here is that Liberal Party’s Noynoy Aquino is ideologically a liberal over against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s stark conservatism. But even as a liberal, Noynoy’s aspirations are focused on the positive rather than the negative aspect of liberty.
As a modern liberal, we could look up to Noynoy Aquino as “someone,” as John F. Kennedy puts it, “who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people – their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties.”
We should not expect Noynoy Aquino to label himself in his inaugural address a political this and that the way his father, the martyred Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., had expressly described himself a Christian socialist. We hope however to learn further from such a momentous occasion more indicia of our new leader’s political values and philosophy by the priorities of governmental policies and programs he plans to pursue, and when and how.…...

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