In the 2010 Presidential elections, we can expect candidates to come up with all sorts of motherhood vision statements as well as platforms and plans. Or put it in another way, they'll tell everybody about their general and specific election promises.
One stupid arguement I got into was whether a motherhood vision statement was worse than a platform and plan, whether a general promise was worse than a specific promise. I don't know if there was a debate, but both general and specific promises are worthless if they remain promises and can be seeds for uprisings of all sorts if they're broken.
However, there is one point I salvaged from the morass of almost pointless arguements and it is this, specific promises can be accounted for and general promises are most likely fulfilled by tricking it out with all sorts of semantics.
I think what is really worth discussing is not whether a motherhood vision statement is better or worse than a platform and a plan, but how to figure out which candidate can be believed.
Obama mouthed motherhood vision statements, one was "Hope" (not his brand of cigarettes) and "Change" (not barya or a bunch of coins). But he also spoke about a lot of specific directions that his administration, if voted into office, would take like cutting the outsourcing of jobs in the US, coming up with a bail out plan for the US financial system, getting the US out of Iraq, and others.
Most Presidential candidates in the Philippines will most likely have general and specific promises on what they will do. I will make a prediction about what those general and specific promises will be like. They will center around claims of having solutions to the perennial problems of the Philippines. They will center around so-called gut issues or issues that have to do with the provision of basic necessities. Why? Because these are the concerns of more than 80 percent of the voters in the Philippines because most of them are poor or think of themselves as poor.
These problems or issues are:
1. Poverty and the problems arising from poverty.
3. Unemployment and increasing under employment.
4. Agriculture or the country's capacity to produce its own food at an affordable cost.
In addition to these problems and issues are higher level issues, if you can call it that:
1. Climate change. Which is the spiffier term for enviromental preservation or conservation.
3. Disaster prevention and mitigation. This is now being connected to climate change.
4. Charter change and other modes of political reform.
5. Population control or population management. Can you tell the difference?
I don't know how many will vote for a Presidential candidate on the sole basis of better crafted general or specific promises.
Ideally, if this were true, I'd probably hear our neighborhood's designated street sweeper (and he doesn't have a blog but drinks Bilog -- slang for gin) tell me that he is rooting for a candidate because of his or her stand on a move to legislate a minimum wage increase. This would be a big step for somebody who just asks everybody for money whether he sweeps their street or not. He'll probably vote for anyone who buys him his next drink, that is, if he is actually a registered voter and wakes up on election day to cast his vote.
Besides, it ain't a competition on who can come up with the best thesis for solving everything that ails the Philippines. Not that it shouldn't be.
I still think that Filipinos choose who they will vote for as President based on likeability.
If the 'Hello Garci' tapes didn't surface, perhaps we would have reason to say that this isn't true. Because then, there would be no doubt that more people voted for someone they didn't like as a person and less people voted for a beloved action star whom everybody in the Philippines grew up watching in movies.
And this is the problem that Mar Roxas, Manuel Villar, Loren Legarda and yes, Dick Gordon will all have to overcome. Ordinary people wouldn't find them as likeable as, say, Piolo Pascual, Manny Pacquiao, or my favorite actor, Tom Hanks.
If you had been listening to Mar Roxas in the Senate's hearing on the Legacy financial scam, you would have probably heard him say, "Tignan niyo ang mga mukhang ito, ang mga mukhang inargabiyado ninyo. Kaya, ito ang sasabihin ko sa inyo, hindi ko kayo titigilan." All words delivered to the effect that he was championing the cause of people who had been taken advantage of.
Who wouldn't like a guy like that? Besides, even when I was still working FOR him, I really found him to be very likeable. He's a great guy, really goes out of his way to see how you're doing and will even swap jokes with you.
The whole hearing seemed to be climaxing to the designed effect of showing Mar as a champion of the poor. That was, after of course, one of the people he had hauled into the hearing missed her line and instead of saying that she had made claims to the Securities and Exchange Commission, had blurted out that she filed claims with the Comelec. Was it all scripted or what? That really ruined the whole thing for me.
It was a good thing Mar didn't say, "Putang Ina ka Celso!" as he did when he said "Putangina! Ano ba naman ito!?" at a rally against charter change in the Makati Business District.
Manny Villar has a similar gimmick and it is most often seen in the TV commercial of him holding a duck. Loren Legarda recently had a commercial pitching for 'Pagbabago' and for a few seconds, I thought it was another pitch for Lucida.
Dick Gordon, however, is pursuing likeability too but his approach is kind of traditional in a sense. He kinda thinks that if he does his job well and does something that will do people good, people will like him. He also kinda thinks that fulfilling promises and doing what you say is a likeable trait.
When he ran for the Senate in 2004, he promised to improve the country's tourism industry and just recently, the Senate and the House of Representatives approved the final version of the Tourism Act of 2008 -- a law which he authored.
Here's an article in Manila Times which explains some of the aspects of the Tourism Act.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Govt, private sector, Senate boost tourismBy Francis Earl A. Cueto, CorrespondentWITH tourism taking center stage in the Arroyo Administration, Sen. Richard Gordon said he expects the government to use this untapped sector to prop up Philippine economy amid the global financial crisis.
Gordon said tourism as the biggest industry in the world could be the principal growth engine to pull up the country’s economy.
Gordon said such is now possible with the expected signing of the Tourism Act next week, which he sponsored in the Senate.
He said: “This measure will definitely boost domestic tourism as it will provide the necessary infrastructures to invigorate local productivity. An increased productivity means more jobs for the people and more revenues for the government.”
Gordon said the Tourism Act would provide changes for putting in place the necessary regulations and infrastructure, which will make tourism more competitive in the international market.
As it happened, the World Economic Forum has downgraded the Philippines’ global ranking on competitiveness in travel and tourism to 86th in 2008 from 81st in the previous year. In its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2008, World Economic Forum reported that the country scored 3.73 points among 133 countries in the world.
But Robert Lim Joseph, chairman emeritus of National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (Naitas), said the country could bounce back, adding that the global economic crunch has opened an opportunity to boost domestic tourism. He cited the price war for the lowest fare among local air carriers and the discounts offered by hotels that make travel very affordable to ordinary Filipinos.
Moreover, Mrs. Arroyo in Boracay recently stated that the Philippine tourism industry would withstand the global economic crisis as evidenced by tourist arrivals in the country’s key destinations in the first month of 2009.
At a tour of Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa before a Cabinet meeting on tourism development in the region, the President said the government would continue to spend more on tourism improvement.
Gordon, on the other hand, said the Tourism Act, once signed, provides for the creation of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and Tourism Economic Zones. It grants investor’s perks such as a six-year tax holiday, extendable as needed, and a 5-percent tax on gross income.
However, he said the new law would promote community tourism in lieu of domestic tourism, where residents preserve, protect and promote tourism spots in their localities and are friendly and helpful to tourists and travelers.
Echoing the ideas of Naitas such as the multi-school gathering of tourism students in Letran, Gordon said now is the time to develop the culture of tourism.
He said it did not have to be costly and grand as it involves keeping the streets safe and clean for all, not just tourists. An example, he said, would be picking up litters in the streets.
As the Tourism Act aims to generate ideas from the bottom to the national level, the senator said it would empower local communities to participate in a tourism master plan.
On the private sector side, Joseph said the government could give tax rebates to citizens who patronize local tourism and to tour and travel establishment that cooperate with the government in this program.
At the same time, the government can help by building new and improving old roads and bridges in various localities.
Joseph said local tourism at the village level would create jobs and mitigate the massive unemployment that is expected to result from the economic crisis.
He said this way, Philippine tourism and travel sectors will not only survive but will be in stronger position to exploit the rebound in global travel once the recession is over.