Real work begins for Marcos

In his first 100 days in office, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was able to put up a functional government that has a very good idea of achieving strict economic targets.

Assembling an impressive economic team at a time when the country has yet to recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic and the Ukraine and Taiwan crises, is, after all, the best confidence booster to a nation that handed him last May an overflowing mandate to govern.

In the wake of skyrocketing prices of goods due to inflation, rising unemployment rate, and trillions of foreign and domestic debts, Marcos Jr. has projected himself well as a calm, thoughtful leader who is holding on to his campaign promise of promoting unity and being a president for all.

Having such a powerhouse economic team, according to him, gives the government a distinct advantage as it tries to transform the economy in the next two years.

While newly-installed Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin described his boss’s first 100 days as very inspiring, critics see a president who has failed to respond to the country’s most pressing concerns.

Putting together a functional government, according to them, is the bare minimum, not an achievement in itself. They were quoted as saying that it’s like boarding a ship with no direction and continuing to sink.

Progressive economic think tank Ibon Foundation has also gone on record to say that the President has failed to provide a vision for the economy in his first three months in office.

Marcos Jr.’s allies, however, beg to disagree. They say he has brought home pledges from his state visit to Indonesia ($8.5 billion), Singapore ($6.5 billion), and the United States ($3.9 billion), although the country has yet to see the benefits of these investments since they are only pledges.

Critics have likewise questioned why Marcos has yet to appoint full-time heads of the Departments of Agriculture and Health amid the agricultural crises the country is facing and the public health concern brought about by the pandemic.

While he has been given some latitude during the honeymoon period like most Chief Executives, he has also been slammed for insensitively partying hard on occasions and flying to Singapore to watch the Formula One Grand Prix.

He also drew flak for failing to put out the flames that factions within his government have created. Just last week, two of his alter egos and a chairperson of an important constitutional commission resigned or walked out of the Palace.

Without meaning to, the President may have given the opposition ample ammunition to hit hard at his government.

Just recently, Senator Risa Hontiveros questioned if Marcos Jr. is really at the helm, noting his “lack of management skills and topsy-turvy bureaucracy” as well as his “non-handling of the illegal” sugar importation mess.

She also cited a Pulse Asia survey which showed that 42 percent of Filipinos disapproved of Marcos’ lack of urgency in controlling inflation.

“We do not expect the administration to solve all the problems of the nation in 100 days, but Mr. President, we do not have the luxury of time,” she was quoted as saying.

Indeed, Marcos Jr. may have formed a powerhouse economic team, but the road to recovery from the recession is still unclear.

While it is also true that not all concerns can be addressed in the short period of 100 days, the nation is waiting with bated breath on how he intends to tackle the pressing issues that matter most.
Many urgent concerns need to be fixed and yes, he doesn’t have the luxury of time.

As Hontiveros says, it’s probably time to put his back into the real work now.

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