“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.
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