100 days too short to gauge Marcos presidency

US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first to use the term “ first 100 days “in reference to his presidency.

In a radio broadcast, he said: “… we all wanted the opportunity of a little quiet thought to examine and assimilate in a mental picture the crowding events of the 100 days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal.”

Through the years, the phrase “the first 100 days” gained traction and significantly became the benchmark of measuring the success or failure of a presidency in the US. And as usual, being the copycats that we are of anything American, we adopted it here in the Philippines to gauge the achievements or their absence of our own President in his first 100 days.

Traditionally, the first 100 days is also the period within which members of the mass media hold their horses in putting the presidency under a magnifying glass. It is at this time that the President is at the height of popularity and people’s acceptance. Such a cycle when the Fourth Estate purposely avoids criticizing the President is called the “honeymoon stage.”

More often than not, the political opposition, as well as the critics and detractors of the newly elected President, ignores the so-called honeymoon period and slams the Chief Executive at the slightest perceived omission, mistake or irregularity. They blow it up, ride on it, and squeeze every political juice they can get from it.

In the President’s Night, organized by the Manila Overseas Club in Pasay City, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. gave his own take on his first 100 days. He gave his own assessment of it by stating the following:

“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 number of growth, the numbers of our different measures, and the different metrics we are using for the economy. “

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

“ I think all of those, at least in the higher positions of 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.”

“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.”

For his part, the newly appointed Executive Secretary, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, gave his thumbs up, describing the 100 days of his principal as “inspiring“ and lauding the President for not allowing himself to be distracted by his detractors, saying:

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

Expectedly, the President’s cousin, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Martin Romualdez, chimed in: “The country is on the right track, and sprinting steadily… Our country has bounced back from the ravages brought by the global pandemic and already has reached the first stage to full recovery… I think he has done very well. They now know the Philippines is open for business and the Marcos administration is ushering in a whole new environment for business and investments and would augur well for the economy especially during these times.”

Truth to tell, the first 100 days is too short to gauge the success or failure of the Marcos II presidency.

It will be unfair to rate it as failing just because until now major appointments to head vital departments like the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, and the Office of the Press Secretary have not been made. Or that there appears to be an increase in the incidents of crime and illegal trade of drugs. Or that the prices of basic commodities are scaling up, or that the solution to the energy crisis is nowhere in sight. Or that there is yet a concrete plan to reduce the rate of poverty and unemployment. Or that so early in the days of the administration there have been scandalous controversies involving the former Executive Secretary and the erstwhile Press Secretary that eroded the political capital of the President.

Neither is it correct to say that the BBM presidency has a rosy start, or that it has taken off to fulfilling its promise and commitment to continue with radical changes commenced by former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Or that the state visits to Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States have brought huge economic benefits to the country for they still remain in the realm of possibility. Hopefully, they will bear fruit.

What is evident is that the administration is laying the groundwork for its noble and grandiose social and economic plans for the nation. It’s also learning from its mistakes, as every administration does.
Let’s give this President and his administration more time before we put them under the litmus test.

A caveat to those who engage in untimely praises: “Praise undeserved is libel in disguise.“ And to those overly critical, chill it.

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