What’s next after the honeymoon?

Two days from now, is President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s 100th day in office, having taken over the mantle of leadership from predecessor Rodrigo R. Duterte last 30 June.

Traditionally, both Congress and news outlets give presidents a bit of a break at the start of their terms, so that they can ease into office. It is during this period that new leaders enjoy the most latitude with the goodwill surrounding them the ones highlighted.

Researchers have found that this translates into political power early in a Chief Executive’s term. Elected by a landslide on a platform of unity, Marcos Jr. appears to have tiptoed his way to an even higher level of popularity among Filipinos during the so-called political honeymoon given to new leaders.

In possibly the only survey conducted last June before he assumed the presidency, the 2022 Pahayag second quarter poll of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. showed that 68 percent of Filipinos expect Marcos to perform ‘well’ or ‘very well’ during his first 100 days as Chief Executive.

In over three months of his presidency, Marcos Jr. has shown that he is more of a systematic leader compared to his predecessor whom many contend was driven more by passion during his term.

In theory, public opinion polls are the best source of information about a leader’s favorability, but they are too infrequent and methodologically inconsistent to use in studying political honeymoons.

So much so that if we are to believe his erstwhile press secretary, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, Marcos Jr. has been doing very well and people are just starting to see what kind of leader he is.

In the short span that he had the opportunity to show his stuff, Marcos emerged as deliberative, science-based, and very professional in dealing with issues. He is more systematic and efficient in his response to problems concerning the nation.

Marcos Jr., like his father, likes things well planned so much so that according to Angeles, he collects each department’s plans and gives them almost immediate feedback.

“He has been doing basically — getting all of these plans, all of these assessments, and then moving forward, he responds quickly,” Angeles was quoted to have said.

The erstwhile press secretary said that his boss always keeps tabs on all of the Cabinet Secretaries and is aware of all their activities, even pending the formal presentation of their own particular roadmaps.

In his week-long sojourn to the United States to address the United Nations General Assembly last month, Marcos Jr. bared his ambitious plans for the nation, sought support for a seat in the UN Security Council, and reiterated the country’s policy of being a friend to all and enemy to none.

He expressed confidence that the Philippines will be “moderately prosperous” by 2040. He urged industrialized countries to do their part in resolving climate change issues and how the small countries are the ones suffering from its effects.

He lamented how inequality and inequity among countries still exist, evident during the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

Ultimately, Marcos Jr. brought his call for unity to the world stage and called for an end to racism and Asian hate that skyrocketed during the height of the pandemic.

After his first 100 days, what’s next for Marcos Jr.?

With his ordinary appeal to the man on the street, many Filipinos look up to him as a savior, believing he can usher in the rapid economic growth that characterized the early era of his father’s rule.

These are the very same supporters who expect the new administration to lower the prices of basic commodities, create more jobs, continue the war on drugs and find solutions to the country’s deep-rooted corruption.

Will he be up to it? We just hope so, after all, he ought to, honeymoon or no honeymoon.

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