Friday, May 06, 2011

His Excellency, Juan Tamad

Over the past few days, much has been said about President Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III's work habits largely due to at least two recent columns.

One column, written by former Senator Ernesto Maceda partly attributed the President's declining approval ratings to his work habits.
We submit that a big reason for peoples’ dissatisfaction with President Aquino is that he is not working hard enough to solve the country’s problems. Coupled with his stubbornness in refusing to reduce or suspend the VAT on oil products. 
The President’s laid-back working style is demonstrated by his short working hours, and his irregular and infrequent Cabinet meetings. In addition, only one LEDAC meeting has been held so far.
Apparently piqued, President Noynoy defended himself from the criticism that he was hardly working.  In an article published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer today, he was quoted as saying:
"For this information, this is my third engagement for the day," Mr. Aquino said of his noontime appearance at the Ecop conference. "I started out rising at 5:30 in the morning not because I have to plant some seeds, but because I have to board a plane by 6:30 to go to the wakes of two of our party mates -- one in Cebu, one in Samar."
Indeed, Mr. Aquino had a full schedule yesterday, with two more appointments after the Ecop conference, -- a staff meeting at 2:30 p.m. and a courtesy call by the Singapore Technologies Telemedia and ABS-CBN and Skycable at teh Yellow Room in Malacanang.


Having served as part of the Presidential Broadcast Staff (RTVM) during the last three years of President Fidel V. Ramos' term,  I can perhaps provide a small personal account of how hard working the President was -- and it is a well known story.

Ramos wakes up at around 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM -- no matter if he slept past 12:00 midnight.  When he wakes up, he expects to his news clippings from PBS-RTVM to be hand delivered to his quarters (or wherever he is).  He reads through them, jots down instructions to various department heads.  He goes through whatever paper work he has to go through and then goes on to his first schedule which usually is at around 7:00 AM or 8:00 AM.

Almost every hour of his day is filled with either an engagement or a meeting.  His day ends usually ends late, at around 9 or 10 in the evening.

Even when he is on the road or en route from one engagement to the next, he still manages to squeeze in work using a portable office installed in his car.

His favorite word was or still is "mutli-tasking" and what this roughly translates to is accomplishing as many objectives as possible within the same working period.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, despite what can be said about her, also kept to a tight and packed schedule.

In any case, the amount of working hours one racks up is less important than what one actually achieves.

The President is not expected to do all the work himself and what he is expected to do, really, is lead his people towards achieving the stated objectives of his Presidency.

I cannot claim to know what a President does, but I can only imagine that it would involve at least having a plan of some sort, communicating that plan to his staff and making sure the plan gets implemented, getting as many sectors and organizations to support the implementation of his plan, and such.

I guess, a year in office may be a bit too early to judge whether President Noynoy's working style actually works or will actually achieve anything.

This brings me back to the time when I first heard that President Noynoy had won the Presidential race and said, "Who knows?"

In the meantime, here are other news items that ought to be considered:

Aquino hit over corruption score hike

Our neighbors have been busy signing up new foreign investments

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