"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Expectations from a Noynoy Aquino Presidency.

There is no school for presidents. – and nobody ever comes fully prepared into the presidency. Even the most schooled in related academic disciplines needed in the exercise of presidential powers cannot know everything about being president. The most experienced as well in peripheral positions cannot confidently say that he would best know how to act as president because the perspective he would have is that of one looking in from without rather than the critical view of the one looking out from within as the sitting president . This is more so in a presidency like that which currently obtains in the Philippines which has not fully shed the plethora of powers gathered into the office during the martial law years.

From the moment of his apparent victory to June 30, 2010 when he takes his oath of office Prez-elect Noynoy would be in a vacuum like netherworld where he is in the process of embracing the role and set of decisions that will soon be his own as president while not yet fully grasping the scope, the significance, and the minutae of it all. From this viewpoint it would be understandable to have a lot of pressure being thrust upon Prez-elect Noynoy from various groups that surround him and have access to him as they outbid and compete with one another to have the more significant ‘first’ imprint on the putative president’s mind.

While we may not give unsolicited advice, we can tell our President-elect Noynoy what we would expect from him as consumers and users of Presidential leadership. Most of these expectations are rooted mainly in the messaging content of the campaign he waged as well as expectations inspired by the public's beloved remembrance of his revered parents.

"Walang Mahirap kung walang Kurap".

These words have reverberated throughout the campaign. Related expectations were further hightened by Noynoy's subsequent pronouncements after the elections where he said that not only would he not steal but he would go after thieves. With these messages the expectation is that a President Noynoy would attack a main cause of poverty which is corruption in government.

Poverty being quite acute would be expected to bubble up as the principal urgent concern of Noynoy's presidency. Various sstatistical sources estimate that about 25 to 32 percent of the Philippine population live below the poverty line. Data from 2007 showed that the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has ranked the Philippines 34th on a scale of 0 to 100 among 84 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI). The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with zero being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. The IFPRI report has tagged the hunger situation in the Philippines as "serious." It has also been reported that from 2003 to 2005, about 16 percent of Filipinos were undernourished; 20.7 percent of children were underweight in 2002 to 2007, and the under-five mortality rate was at 2.8 percent in 2007. By most anecdotal indications this hunger situation has only worsened rather than improved as of the present.

Hunger and vulnerability to natural calamities of most people living in informal settler settings is another indication of acute poverty. The devastations of the recent typhoon season created a vast need for relief clothing that has not yet been satisfied for most of these people. The incoming typhoon season will again create further needs on top of those that were unmet before. Most people would like to see President Noynoy address this immediately as well perhaps in a more pro-active manner than the outgoing administration.

Another major pronouncement made by President-elect Noynoy is about the Bureaucracy. He said he will pare it down and eliminate unnecessary positions. In the pattern of an incoming CEO when taking over a corporation one makes initiatives in either the cost side or the revenue side or both. Paring down the bureaucracy would be an effective cost cutting technique and it could also positively impact his crusade against corruption.

The connection between the 1.4 million government workers in the Philippines and the poor is easily made. It has been pointed out that the salaries of these government workers are lower by as much as 75 percent when compared with equivalent functions in the private sector. Obviously this situation cannot continue and paring this bureaucracy down and bringing up the salary levels of employees in core government services that will remain is the right approach and we the consumers of presidential leadership will expect Prez Noynoy to deliver on that.

Furthermore, the low salaries in the bureaucracy gives rise to petty graft and provide larger predators of our public coffers the support matrix that allows them to launch larger scams leading to huge scale losses for government and the public. The situation has become aggravated since 2001 under GMA when studies showed a large growth in the number of consultants and advisers that enjoy the title and authority without the accompanying accountability. A 'ruling class' orientation' rather than that of 'true public service' pervades in our bureaucratic structures and a Palace linked calling card is considered useful in opening up doors. It would not be easy for Prez-elect Noynoy to change that.

Threats to achieving the goal of a lean and mean bureaucracy can also come from the allies and supporters of the Prez - elect. For one turf wars that usually accompany accommodations required to pay off political favors immediately after an election create resistance to the process of streamlining the bureaucracy. This is true both at the ordinary employee level as well as in the top layers of the government executive structure. And pressures towards bloated bureaucratic layering is added if the Prez-elect is not able to resist pressures from the proliferation of one peso a year consultants who would be 'volunteering' their services for what is supposedly their patriotic fervor to serve the people. However difficult we would expect Prez Noynoy to stay the course here and we as a citizens group have to devised means through which we can exert pressure to buttress Noynoy's political will in this regard.

A further complicating factor is the minority position that at the moment the Prez-elect allies have in the Congress. An effort to build majority coalitions may lead to transactional arrangements that could sabotage the 'Pagbabago' that candidate Noynoy has promised in his campaign.The snide remark ' Balimbingan na naman sa baryo balimbing' will be often heard in the coming days. We expect Prez Noynoy to deal with that and prevent his agenda of change from being hijacked by the balimbings.

Related to the balimbing phenomenon is another major pronouncement of Prez-elect Noynoy about the Garci problem of 2004. He said that he would go after these cheating syndicates that has plague COMELEC. He announced that he would seek closure to the Garci affair in the process of cleaning up the election process.

While most of the facts about Garci are known the Lintang Bedol operations and its after effects of producing a Zubiri senatorship through rigged Maguindanao votes at the expense of the legitimately elected Koko Pimentel is not. Currently Koko Pimentel has shown with incontrovertible facts that he legitimately won as senator in the 2007 elections. Zubiri has countered with a frivolous counter-protest which has no aim except to delay the early resolution of Koko's protest and stay on in his usurped senate seat.

This is a back-burning issue that a Prez Noynoy should handle with care. Today Zubiri the unelected senator is making noises about leaving the Lakas-Kampi party preparatory perhaps to jumping into the Liberal party of Noynoy. Perhaps with their congressional linkages the Zubiri dynasty may seek concessions in exchange for supporting a Belmonte speakership.

The people would expect that in the process of cleaning up the Aegean stables of the COMELEC syndicates a Prez Noynoy should also make sure to use the moral suasion of the presidency to enable the peoples legitimate choices to emerge as in the case of Koko Pimentel. This should hold true as well for the electoral protests that will emerge from the recent election. Early resolution of electoral protest should be something that Prez Noynoy should encourage. Justice delayed is justice denied. In electoral protest this becomes more so since our people's sovereign will is effectively frustrated by the forces of evil.

The month of June is a month of destiny. A new president for the Philippines takes the mantle of leadership... and much is expected of him.

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Gil R. Ramos Ph.d. finished his Doctorate in Monetary Economics and Masters in Population Economics at the University of Hawaii. He did his AB Economics and also a Masters in Urban Regional Planning both at the University of the Philippines. He currently teaches MBA students at the (New Jersey City University) NJCU in Managerial Economics, Corporate Financial Management, and Managerial Information Systems. He runs his own consulting firm GRR Analytics based in the New York / New Jersey area.

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