Marcos feared ‘settling for mediocrity’

Even before he closes his first 100 days in office tomorrow, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has already taken pride in assembling a “functional” government composed of the “best and the brightest” Cabinet members.

Marcos said that through “unity,” he was able to bring people together in his Cabinet regardless of their “political color.”

“I think what we have managed to do in the first 100 days is put together a government that is functional and which has a very, very good idea of what we are targeting in terms of strict economic targets.

For example, in terms of the numbers of growth, the numbers of our different measures, the different metrics that we are using for the economy,” Marcos said.

Mr. Marcos issued his take on the so-called “honeymoon period” of his administration with the public during the President’s Night organized by the Manila Overseas Press Club in Pasay City on Wednesday night.

He thanked his Cabinet members, particularly his economic managers, for working on the country’s transformation into a post-pandemic economy.

Marcos admitted that he was worried about his government settling for mediocrity, yet he managed to “galvanize” public officials by reminding them of the urgency of working for the betterment of the nation and country.


“I try very hard to put an impetus into government. ‘C’mon, let’s go. We need to do these things. We haven’t had very much time. We have very many difficulties. We cannot count on other countries to help us in ways that they used to be able to help us so it is up to us,’” he said.

“I think all of those, at least in the higher positions in government and even slowly, it’s filtering down to the rank and file. (They) are beginning to feel that there is a point to government, there is something that we need to be doing,” Marcos explained.

Putting out fires

His Cabinet, however, still lacks a permanent Health Secretary amid the Covid-19 pandemic, more than three months since he assumed the presidency on 30 June. Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire is only serving as Health officer in charge.

For Marcos, his government focused on “putting out fires” in his first 50 to 100 days in office.

“We were just trying to make things work because suddenly… the problem with sugar supply, the problem with fertilizer. We were having to look to different — what we now refer to as non-traditional sources,” he said.

During his recent state visits to Indonesia, Singapore, and the US, Marcos promoted agricultural cooperation and encouraged trade investment in key sectors. He pushed for renewing and forging contracts with countries he visited during the first 100 days of his presidency.

“The nice thing is the Philippines has many friends around the world and these contracts and friendships we have been able to renew (are proof of this),” he said.

With his attendance in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City last month, Marcos said he was able to show the world that the Philippines is “standing on its own two feet.”

Standing on feet

“We have been able to show that the Philippines is standing on its feet, that the Philippines continues to have its aspirations and its dreams, and we are willing to do our part in making those dreams come true… Partnerships once again are going to be important and we invite you to join us,” he claimed.

He dubbed his latest engagements overseas as a “coming-out party” for the Philippines.

“This is the coming-out party for the Philippines and we are able to explain what the Philippines is now, this is what the Philippines looks after two and a half years of crisis,” he said.

“This is what the Philippines is doing, and this is how we can help each other because not any one country is going to manage this transformation by themselves and we would need each other’s help.”

The President may not release an accomplishment report covering his first 100 days in office, newly appointed Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin said in an interview with reporters last Tuesday.

Bersamin said Marcos was “ambivalent” about producing the report, questioning its necessity.

Despite this, although he is relatively new to the Executive branch, Bersamin described the first 100 days of the Marcos Jr.’s administration as “inspiring,” especially when the President traveled to the US for the UN conference.

He also lauded the President for not getting affected by his detractors.

“He never said anything against those who attacked him. They mounted a vicious attack against the President, but he did not respond to these attacks. That’s his true nature,” Bersamin said. “That’s not made-up; that not scripted.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Martin Romualdez expressed optimism that the country’s future looks “brighter” under the Marcos administration as businesses continue to ramp up, which results in generating more jobs.

The country, according to Romualdez, is “right on track” and “sprinting steadily” during the first 100 days of Marcos Jr., whom he lauded for doing “very well” in engaging the international business community happened during the latter’s most recent trip to Singapore.

“Our economy has bounced back from the ravages brought by the global pandemic and has already reached the first stage to full recovery,” said the Leyte solon.

“I think he’s done very well. They now know that the Philippines is open for business and that the Marcos administration is ushering in a whole new environment for business and investments and that would augur well for the economy, especially during these times,” Romualdez said in a chance interview with reporters Thursday.

With Edjen Oliquino

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