JUNE 30 MARKED the first year since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assumed office. His administration, propelled by a campaign devoid of any meaningful message other than the superficial call for unity, has achieved virtually none of the promises he made to the Filipino people.
The first year of any president is perhaps its most consequential. Following a president’s victory in the most recent election, he has all available political capital to advance his agenda and set the tone for the rest of his term. It is during this crucial period that the president has the opportunity to demonstrate effective leadership, inspire his people’s confidence, and translate his campaign promises into concrete actions that will benefit the nation. Accordingly, all congressional parties, as well as local government units (LGUs) are in tow to help the new administration execute its plans for the country. This is the period many refer as the “honeymoon period” for presidents.
It is during this honeymoon period that the administration should be at its most productive state, harnessing the goodwill and all the political capital bestowed upon it by the Filipino people. However, his first year in office has been characterized by a lack of substantial progress and an abhorrent failure to capitalize on this.. Despite a supermajority in Congress and support from LGUs, the administration has faltered in delivering on its promises.
Notwithstanding the initial optimism, goodwill, and hope that surrounded his inauguration, albeit given by many despite their family’s track record, the Filipino people today find themselves grappling with President Marcos Jr.’s unfulfilled promises and a sense of disillusionment over the future of the country. His calls for unity during the heated 2022 campaign have not translated into tangible results to bridge the great divides and foster national reconciliation. Instead, national divisions seem to have deepened and further inflamed, and the nation remains polarized on key issues that it faces.
So far, pundits have pointed to six important pieces of legislation as President Marcos Jr. administration’s successes in its maiden year. However, many seem to overlook that only three of these laws were part of the priority bills proposed by his own office’s Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC). This raises many questions about the administration’s ability to effectively push its legislative agenda and to deliver on its promises.
Moreover, the laws enacted in the past year, such as the SIM Registration Act (a pared down version of the one vetoed during the Duterte administration) and the postponement of the barangay and SK elections to 2023, though important in their own right, fail to address the pressing challenges that the Filipino people face on a daily basis. The state of the economy, job and wealth creation, along with poverty alleviation, healthcare, and education are the actual principal issues that demand urgent attention and meaningful solutions from the administration of President Marcos Jr.
His approach to governance and his priorities have also come under scrutiny. While he has embarked on international trips, some of which were deemed by experts as absolutely necessary to strengthen our ties with some of our key allies, there are still lingering concerns about the excessive nature of these visits, especially the frequency with which they are carried out. The president must strike a balance between engaging with foreign partners and focusing on the domestic concerns that affect the ordinary Filipino, not lavishing in the perks bestowed upon his sacred office.
Furthermore, the lack of accountability for public officials remains a cause for concern, one that many thought would perish following the end of the Duterte era. It is crucial for the current administration to ensure that all government officials are performing their duties diligently and that those engaged in corrupt practices or anomalies are held accountable. Transparency, good governance, and efficient delivery of public services are the foundations of any efficient administration.
As President Marcos Jr. moves forward into the subsequent years of his term, it is imperative that he recalibrates his approach and take concrete actions to deliver on his promises. The Filipino people deserve more than the empty rhetoric and superficial calls for unity. They need a leader who will roll up their sleeves andtackle the nation’s pressing problems head-on.. This is because the challenges facing the nation are too significant to be met with mere poetry. It is time for the president to demonstrate true leadership, take decisive action, and prioritize the well-being of the Filipino people above all else. The second year of his presidency provides an opportunity for course correction, but it requires a genuine commitment to meaningful change and an unwavering dedication to the nation’s best interests. After all, the Filipino people deserve a president who will deliver on their hopes, aspirations, and dreams. The time for empty promises is over; it is time for meaningful results.