President Marcos on his second year

THE CORNER ORACLE - Andrew J. Masigan - The Philippine Star

This is the second installment of my assessment of President Marcos’ performance as he approaches his second year in office.

Last week, I compared Marcos’ policies against those of former president Duterte in the realms of managing the Chinese threat, managing the economy and in overall governance. Marcos is clearly the better leader in these fronts.

But I cannot leave it at that, as the picture remains incomplete. Sure, Marcos may be the better leader between the two but that bar is low. We should really be asking these questions: Is Marcos working to eliminate the country’s structural and legal weaknesses to future- proof the country? Is he the transformative leader we need? Good leaders leave positive impacts that transcend generations.

While Marcos has done well in foreign policy, in capacitating the military and in pushing for investment-led economic development, he remains deficient in addressing the state of Philippine education, in addressing malnutrition and stunted growth and in correcting our defective political system. These issues are fundamental to the long-term well-being of the country.

If Marcos is truly serious about setting the nation on the right path, then he should confront these issues no matter the political and personal cost. If not, then this will be another six years wasted.


We all know the statistics. Filipino students are in the bottom 10 percentile among 87 nationalities in reading, math and science. They rank lowest in critical thinking, information literacy and problem solving. This is a fact confirmed by PISA and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

As it stands, the next generation of Filipinos are unable to compete in the world of tomorrow where STEM-based skills and innovation are the currencies for success. They are condemned to be the blue collar workers of the world. Worse, it assures inter-generational poverty as those belonging to the bottom rung of society remain incapacitated to improve their circumstances.

Despite these realities, Marcos has not confronted the education crisis squarely. Instead, he is using it as a political tool. He appointed the Vice President as Secretary of DepEd as a consolation for the UniTeam partnership, knowing full well that she is grossly ill-equipped. True enough, two years have passed and the Vice President has barely moved the needle in improving education. In many ways, it has even deteriorated.

Marcos is not recognizing the educational crisis for what it is – a national emergency. This should worry us all. The DepEd needs a leader who represent the best and brightest in the field. It needs full state backing in the implementation of reforms. The sorry state of Philippine education ultimately falls on the shoulders of the President, not the VP. He is accountable.


Stunted growth occurs when children are deprived of sufficient nutrition, health care and mental stimulation. Children who suffer from stunted growth are victims of delayed brain development and this leads to poor mental performance. One out of three Filipinos under five years old is a victim of stunted growth. No surprise, Filipino children are the region’s least intelligent, having an average IQ of only 86 compared to 108 for his Singaporean peer.

As for malnutrition, some 19 million Filipino adolescents are underweight while 5.8 million suffer from low weight-to-height ratios. Malnutrition is directly correlated to poverty. Some 2.3 million Filipino households suffer from severe hunger while 11.2 million households suffer from moderate hunger, having skipped at least one meal a day.

Despite these appalling statistics, malnutrition is not even in the forefront of Marcos’ political agenda. Last year, the DSWD’s appropriation of P196 billion was a measly 3.7 percent of the P5.27-trillion budget. Compare this amount to the collective pork barrel fund of Congress.

Political system

Our political leadership is not composed of outstanding leaders but of members of political dynasties. The majority are incompetent and corrupt, many are convicted criminals. In the Senate, 19 out of the 24 members belong to dynasties, as are 70 percent of Congress’ members. In local governments, 73 out of 82 provinces are controlled by dynasties.

Statistics show that the average incidence of poverty in provinces controlled by dynasties is a staggering 29.15 percent, while those not under dynastic rule stands at only 18.91 percent. Political dynasties exacerbate poverty.

The evils of political dynasties are vast. When members of the same family occupy multiple positions within a city or municipality, most are likely to consolidate power in a pseudo monarchial manner. Political dynasties are more likely to utilize their budgets doling out scholarships and funeral aid rather than in socio-economic programs. Dynasties perpetuate unfair elections. Dynasties are able to wield influence and use their political clout to corner lucrative government contracts. Dynasties worsen economic inequalities and re-enforce a culture of dependency between the elite and the poor. There exist no check and balance in dynasty-controlled political domains.

The Constitution is clear in its intent. It provides that “the state shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties.” Congress has had the duty to enact an enabling anti-dynasty law since 1987 but failed to do so for self-serving reasons. There have been 32 attempts but not one has passed the committee level. Meanwhile, dynasties have entrenched themselves in our political system to our great peril.

If President Marcos is indeed sincere about future proofing the nation, then he would demand the passage of the Anti-Political Dynasty Law, even at the expense of his family’s and friends’ interest.

Being a transformative leader is not easy. It requires one to sacrifice personal and political advantages for the long-term good. I would like to think that Marcos’ commitment to the Filipino people is greater than his personal convenience.

*      *      *

Email: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @aj_masigan

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with