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And the winner is……

  • Written by Ignacio Bunye
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 201

Speaking Out

“AFTER twelve rounds, we now go to the judges’ score cards!”

We often  hear those familiar words from international ring announcer Michael Buffer at the end of an exciting boxing event. Buffer then reads the individual judges’ scores.

Depending on how the judges saw the fight that has just gone the distance, the result could be a unanimous decision, a split decision,  a majority decision or a draw.

Every now and then, the score of two judges would turn out to be  poles apart, leaving the spectators to wonder if the two judges were in fact  watching the same event.

The divergence is explained by the fact that judges are seated at different vantage points around the ring and that the judges could actually have different perceptions on how the fight went.
The recent “scorecards” submitted by “judges” grading President Rody Duterte’s first 100 days, in a way,  mimic the boxing judges’ scorecards.
Judge No. 1 (and, here, I am referring to the surveys -- both SWS and Pulse Asia )  gives President Rody excellent scores in terms of  both approval and trust ratings. In fact, observers point out  that  President Rody’s ratings are higher than those of PNoy du­ring a similar period.
Judge No. 2 (Eg. former President Fidel V. Ramos),   on the other hand,  considers Duterte’s performance a disappointment.
Why the big disparity in the ratings? Let me just venture a guess.
The two judges used different criteria!
Judge No. 1 measured  President Rody against his campaign promises. And, bereft of all those expletives,  he just had a very short list of promises -- an unrelenting fight against drugs, criminality and corruption. He was voted overwhelmingly  based on this campaign. Very visible to the Judge No. 1 is the war on drugs, like no other, which started even before Duterte assumed office. Crime statistics, according to the police, have actually gone down. And while there have been no dramatic changes yet  as far as the anti-corruption drive,  improvements are expected  by Judge No. 1 over a longer term (certainly, not 100 days).
Judge No. 2, on the other hand,  used a longer list of performance measures. It is true that fighting drugs, criminality and corruption are important. But they are not everything. Yes, we need to address tactical gut concerns. But we also need to address strategic concerns whose benefits could only  be felt in the future, eg. environment, climate change, inter-connectivity  and cooperation in a highly globalized community. Because of the reality of interdependence among nations,  we can not afford to be parochial. We need to think globally. We need not alienate old allies while expanding our circle of friends.  We also need to discard “20th century thinking” and to embrace the realities of the 21st century.
So, did our boxer win or not?
To borrow from the well-read column of  my Bulletin neighbor, former press secretary Chito Villanueva:
“You be the judge!”

Congratulations are  in order for Secretaries Bebot Bello (Labor and Employment),  Sonny Do­minguez (Finance), Al Cusi (Energy), and Martin Andanar (Presidential Communications), who recently hurdled the Commission on Appointments. 
Bello, aside from his labor portfolio, has been named by President Duterte as one of the key members of the peace panel negotiating with the National Democratic Front. Ever since, Bello has logged  thousands of miles traveling between Manila and Oslo. In a text message, he said he would “exert his best efforts” to bring home the bacon.
Dominguez, one of the anchors of the economic team, was a former secretary of agriculture and also a former minister of natural resources. As then agriculture secretary, Sonny and I (as then mayor of Muntinlupa) were co-respondents in a criminal case filed by a cooperative which enjoyed  a virtual 50-year lease of the Alabang public market. The then Municipality of Muntinlupa  cancelled the lease for having been done beyond the period allowed by law and without public bidding. The cooperative manager, who just lost his golden hen, went to the Ombudsman.
Cusi, a former PPA general manager and former GM of the Manila International Airport Authority,  aims to ensure a reliable, steady and affordable power supply. He is very much open to revisiting the use of nuclear power.
Andanar, a former TV-radio anchor,  has his job cut out for him. He is called upon to  effectively communicate the messages of the Duterte administration to the public.
Note:  You may email us at totingbunye­2000@­gmail.com. You may also like us on Facebook at “Speaking Out.”