What President Aquino needs to address on July 22

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Peace is on the horizon, but will it stick?

For a man brought up in shadows cast by two presidential parents, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has managed to successfully carve his own course, becoming an out-of-the-box outlier worthy of reflection.

During the first three years of his term, Aquino took the political dynasty hand-me-down on as his own, shoring up confidence from international credit agencies, spurring a breakneck economic boom, and, most recently, coming within sight of a final peace deal with rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Yet, as Aquino admits himself, his late parents, who are today both proudly emblazoned on the 500-peso note, would expect more of him. So would the Filipino people.

When President Aquino goes to deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA) next Monday, July 22, he will walk up to a rostrum lined with plenty of palatable triumphs to line his speech with. How many of the shortcomings his developing nation, crushed with poverty, a lack of labour-intensive work, corruption and conflict, to name a few, will come off his lips is an unknown that, at best, presents an opportunity for rhetoric legerdemain to make vague allusions of the problems afoot.

Where are the jobs?

First of all, Aquino needs to address the country’s failure to adequately create jobs, which as resulted in the nation forming an odd symbiotic attachment to the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFW). At the heart of it, Aquino should announce to the public an introduction of reforms that will offer incentivised power-purchase contracts for incoming manufacturing investors to set up shop.

At the moment, the Philippines has the most expensive electricity costs in ASEAN, and its deplorable connectivity and disheartening amount of red tape doesn’t offset this much either.

Why does this country look like Greek ruins?

Beyond finding a way to get Japan and other manufactures coming in, Aquino needs to admit that the country’s public-private partnership (PPP) programme has been ashamedly unimpressive for the public. Its snail-like pace of “transformation” has only managed to pump out less than a handful of projects in the past three years, citing that the majority of the first two years was gobbled up to overhaul the entire programme. Meanwhile, the entire country must wrestle with aged infrastructure that is comparable to Greek ruins, stifling economic growth with poor connectivity, endless Manila traffic (now subject of international derision – See Dan Brown) and creaking energy infrastructure.

MILF: Peace, at last?

Undoubtedly, Aquino will want to gloat a spell on his administration’s sealing of a “wealth-sharing deal” with the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front. However, that the deal comes just 11 days before the SONA is due to be delivered conjures up questioning over political motivation. “There is no short-term interest that has been served,” an official has inevitably ensured. But the government’s agreement to allow rebels a 75 per cent share of earnings from natural resources and metallic minerals in a proposed autonomous region for the Muslim minority in southern Mindanao seems just a tad bit too generous. Mindanao has an estimated $840 billion in gold, copper and other mineral reserves. Institutionalising this deal will be just as hard as making any other reform stick.

If it must be said, then there is a chance it might. Aquino has the proven track record of overcoming such obstacles. Lets see on July 22.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Peace is on the horizon, but will it stick?

For a man brought up in shadows cast by two presidential parents, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has managed to successfully carve his own course, becoming an out-of-the-box outlier worthy of reflection.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

460x
Peace is on the horizon, but will it stick?

For a man brought up in shadows cast by two presidential parents, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has managed to successfully carve his own course, becoming an out-of-the-box outlier worthy of reflection.

During the first three years of his term, Aquino took the political dynasty hand-me-down on as his own, shoring up confidence from international credit agencies, spurring a breakneck economic boom, and, most recently, coming within sight of a final peace deal with rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Yet, as Aquino admits himself, his late parents, who are today both proudly emblazoned on the 500-peso note, would expect more of him. So would the Filipino people.

When President Aquino goes to deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA) next Monday, July 22, he will walk up to a rostrum lined with plenty of palatable triumphs to line his speech with. How many of the shortcomings his developing nation, crushed with poverty, a lack of labour-intensive work, corruption and conflict, to name a few, will come off his lips is an unknown that, at best, presents an opportunity for rhetoric legerdemain to make vague allusions of the problems afoot.

Where are the jobs?

First of all, Aquino needs to address the country’s failure to adequately create jobs, which as resulted in the nation forming an odd symbiotic attachment to the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFW). At the heart of it, Aquino should announce to the public an introduction of reforms that will offer incentivised power-purchase contracts for incoming manufacturing investors to set up shop.

At the moment, the Philippines has the most expensive electricity costs in ASEAN, and its deplorable connectivity and disheartening amount of red tape doesn’t offset this much either.

Why does this country look like Greek ruins?

Beyond finding a way to get Japan and other manufactures coming in, Aquino needs to admit that the country’s public-private partnership (PPP) programme has been ashamedly unimpressive for the public. Its snail-like pace of “transformation” has only managed to pump out less than a handful of projects in the past three years, citing that the majority of the first two years was gobbled up to overhaul the entire programme. Meanwhile, the entire country must wrestle with aged infrastructure that is comparable to Greek ruins, stifling economic growth with poor connectivity, endless Manila traffic (now subject of international derision – See Dan Brown) and creaking energy infrastructure.

MILF: Peace, at last?

Undoubtedly, Aquino will want to gloat a spell on his administration’s sealing of a “wealth-sharing deal” with the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front. However, that the deal comes just 11 days before the SONA is due to be delivered conjures up questioning over political motivation. “There is no short-term interest that has been served,” an official has inevitably ensured. But the government’s agreement to allow rebels a 75 per cent share of earnings from natural resources and metallic minerals in a proposed autonomous region for the Muslim minority in southern Mindanao seems just a tad bit too generous. Mindanao has an estimated $840 billion in gold, copper and other mineral reserves. Institutionalising this deal will be just as hard as making any other reform stick.

If it must be said, then there is a chance it might. Aquino has the proven track record of overcoming such obstacles. Lets see on July 22.

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