Today marks the second year of President Noynoy Aquino in office.
Looking back on the last two years is a mixed grab bag of accomplishments. The President's early months were marred by the Manila Hostage Tragedy, where a disgruntled policeman's holding hostage of a busload of Hong Kong tourists ended with the policeman and several of the hostages dead. The tragedy exposed the ineptitude of our local officials and the police in handling a deadly situation. Despite recommendations from the commission formed to investigate the debacle, the President refused to fire people pinpointed by the commission as the ones to blame.
Moving forward to this year, the President's second year was marked by the impeachment trial of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. While the perception was that the articles of impeachment were railroaded by the House, the former Chief Justice basically convicted himself when he testified that his bank accounts were not included in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN). The President and his supporters may be crowing over the conviction, but the truth of the matter is that, if it weren't for Corona's testimony, the ineptitude of the prosecution panel would probably have resulted in an acquittal.
The other major issue that confronted the President this year was the issue over the Scarborough Shoal, and our conflict with China. Admittedly, there probably were more diplomatic means to deal with the situation, but, given the fact that the Chinese appear to be dead-set in claiming the shoal as their own, even though it is clearly in our area of responsibility, the President may have had no choice but to meet the Chinese head-on. The situation is still ongoing, and I can't really say I'm expert enough to comment on the issue, so we'll just have to see how it all turns out.
Based on Social Weather Station (SWS) surveys, unfortunately, little has changed for majority of Filipinos, who still claim to be poor and hungry despite the fact that our country has received status upgrades by international bodies such as Moody's. The surveys show that the President has a way to go for his programs to actually reach the poor.
One of the problems is that President Aquino, in his exuberance or hubris, made a number of promises during the election campaign, but these promises remain unfulfilled. While it's probably true that alleviating poverty is going to take more than two years, and will probably require a massive cultural change from us, the President and his Cabinet can continue to try to make headway into uplifting the masses.
Another problem is that the President appears to be too influenced by the people around his. He has also shown partiality to people close to him, a trait which he appears to have inherited from his mother, the late President Cory Aquino. This goes against his so-called "Tuwid na Daan", his metaphor for how he and other government officials must comport themselves. If he continues to favor his friends, such as appointing one to the Supreme Court as Chief Justice, it will be ruinous for him, and show Filipinos that he is no better than his predecessors, former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (currently Pampanga Rep.) and Joseph "Erap" Estrada (a convicted plunderer).
Two years down, four more to go. The President has to show that he is actively working on fulfilling his promises, or else his huge emotional win in 2010 will be so much hot air by the time he's done in 2016.