Squandered 1st 100 days

The 1st 100 days in the term of a President are crucial in the sense that it gives one a glimpse of what will the rest be in his or her administration. Let’s face it squarely. In the case of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. the first three months of his term had been wasted courtesy of Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez who preoccupied Malacañang over sugar and shortages, and mysterious appointments. To make Rodriguez a Chief of Staff is not only redundant and wasteful, it elicits suspicion that, and worse, would confirm this Marcos is a weak leader.

Add to that fiasco is a stillborn announcement three weeks ago by a Senior Undersecretary of Agriculture, Domingo Panganiban, that 500 thousand metric tons of fertilizers procured on a government -to-government basis are about to arrive. President Marcos has traveled across the globe but the ships bearing those fertilizers must have sunk or sailed elsewhere. The tragedy of it all, Panganiban is no longer in sight too and had kept mum to escape accountability. The chances of a bumper rice harvest last quarter of this year is therefore doomed and you have disgruntled farmers nationwide.

Then came the order of the top cop, Rodolfo Azurin, to his men to keep their guns in their holsters while confronting criminals. Now the criminals, among them kidnap-for-ransom are back with impunity. Vice President Inday Sara Duterte, the government OIC, should hammer into the head of the PNP chief that there are no compromises in dealing with criminals and terrorists.

And here comes National Irrigation Administrator Benny Antiporda wanting to spend P800 billion on farm-to-market roads. In case you forgot, NIA’s mandate is to provide efficient, reliable, and sustainable irrigation services to farmers. You are responsible for irrigation development and management. Farm-to-market roads are basically the responsibility of the local government units and DPWH.

However, here is a clue. The present irrigation systems all over the country are not maintained properly because the irrigation fee which the farmers pay before was waived by the Duterte administration. Those fees were meant to maintain irrigation canals. Spend the P800 billion on putting up new irrigation systems and maintenance of existing irrigation canals and if you wish, to be more extra-productive than your predecessors, you can talk to power producers about the prospects of harnessing irrigation dams for power turbines.

The embankments of irrigation canals are veritable farm-to-market roads since the canals snake through the rice fields. Repair and gravel these embankments and you achieve two goals — rehabilitation of irrigation systems and a network of FTRs. Spend your money on these and also by desilting canal beds, removing grasses that deter the flow of water, and you will have an efficient irrigation system.

The first 100 days might just be an error in judgment in the selection process, vetting and drafting people in the Cabinet, and other sensitive positions in government. The next 100 days should reveal whether President Marcos has the gumption to remove the inept, the sinkers and characters who usurp powers, fake his signatures, and some who have symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Not everybody is like Juan Ponce Enrile.

Restore the NTF-ELCAC to what it was before and include the personnel for they have the experience, the tact in dealing with the NPAs, and strings of success to prove their mettle. It was really a surprise why an effectively functioning government apparatus against communist terrorists was rendered inutile.

At the risk of being dubbed a broken record, why cannot President Marcos, who is concurrently Agriculture Secretary, revive the National Food Authority back to its original functions before Sta. Corazon Aquino had it mothballed? You can never bring the cost of rice down to the P20 to P30 per kilo range without NFA. Neither can this country be rice sufficient if NFA will not buy palay at P18 to P20 per kilo. Bringing down the price of fertilizer via a government-to-government deal is a bonus. I am sorry to say this but nothing had been done along this line. In fact, there is absolutely no perceptible action as yet.

Well, what are the consolations? Rodriguez is out as Executive Secretary. With an overdose of temerity, he drafted and signed his own appointment as Chief of Staff. This did not escape vetting by JPE though. Ergo he is sidelined and PBBM has not issued any word about VR status.  In short, VR is ignored but still hangs around. So beware.

Meanwhile, PBBM was met by thousands of Filipinos in New Jersey and New York City that effectively drowned the noise of an insignificant group of paid demonstrators organized by the incorrigible pinklawan Loida Lewis.

“The next 100 days should reveal whether President Marcos has the gumption to remove the inept, the sinkers and characters who usurp powers, fake his signatures, and some who have symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

While before he, his siblings, and his parents were ostracized in the United States of America, this time Bongbong Marcos is back as President having been elected by a super-majority of Filipino electorates, rubs elbows with world leaders at the United Nations and to the chagrin of the opposition and critics, rang the bell of the New York Stock Exchange. Good starters for the next 100 days. Don’t waste it this time.

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