As President Benigno S. Aquino III marks his first year in office, the Black and White Movement recommits to support him and his administration in the struggle against poverty and corruption.
We laud this government’s prudent fiscal management which has led to significant savings and higher confidence by the business community here and abroad. We commend the Conditional Cash Transfer program which is beginning to lift the poorest of our poor from the bondage of hunger while committing parents to keeping their children in school and avail of much-needed health services.
At the same time, we hope that in the coming months, the government shall accelerate the implementation of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program and start spending more on infrastructure projects to spur economic activity, generate employment, and allow the benefits of what is turning out to be a robust economy reach all levels of society, even in the midst of a global recession. Furthermore, passing the Reproductive Health Bill would provide significant help in poverty reduction.
We believe that ICT is a major engine for economic growth. Dissolving CICT, the primary agency responsible for the development of ICT through E.O. 47 and transferring its functions to DOST send the wrong signals to the ICT industry and the international community that ICT is not a priority for this government. We urge the President to rescind the executive order and restore CICT to the Office of the President to give ICT the importance and attention it deserves.
In the area of corruption eradication, we are encouraged by the cancellation of projects set in motion by the preceding administration that were highly disadvantageous to government. We are gladdened to see that there have been, so far, no hints of scandalous projects on the scale of NBN-ZTE and the Fertilizer Scam in this administration.
We support the unraveling of corruption at the highest levels of the past administration. Moreover, we urge our government to vigorously pursue the filing of cases and seeing through the prosecution of those who our people believe to be guilty. By proving that crime does not pay we can discourage corruption from polluting our future.
However, to Juan de la Cruz, corruption goes on unabated. For example, “kotong cops” continue to victimize motorists and “fixers” in major government agencies still pervade their halls. “Jueteng” lords persist in preying on the little guy looking for a quick way to hit it big, fast. Sadly, it seems the President's message of "matuwid na daan" has not cascaded down to government’s subordinate offices. It's still business as usual in so many of them.
We acknowledge that it will take time to reverse this culture of corruption that has been etched in our minds for decades. "Matuwid na daan" is a narrow road, and it is deplorable that many have chosen to keep on the wide and crooked road of dishonesty. We enjoin every Filipino to join in this crusade against corruption. Government cannot fight the good fight alone.
At the same time, we ask the President to constantly check on those within his closest ranks. Power corrupts, and it is all too easy for some to fall for the lure of instant wealth. Media has called attention to some possibly brewing scandals - these are not always products of black propaganda by the opposition.
We trust that the year just past was enough for this administration to disentangle the crooked ways of the last administration in order to lay the foundation for the straight and narrow road - "ang matuwid na daan".
And now, Mr. President, we'd like to know where that road will lead us. You told us last year that we can dream again. Share your vision with us so we can dream the same dreams.
Mr. President - "Saan ba patungo ang matuwid na daan?"