By BENJIE OLIVEROS
What was perhaps intended as a form of protest that would land at least a photo in newspapers and a video clip in the evening news became viral locally and internationally. Noynoying is trending in Twitter, and, according to an article in ABS-CBN News online, it has 3,685 likes on Facebook so far. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article on it. And it has landed a page in Wikipedia.
At first, Malacañang tried to ignore it with President Aquino saying he would not honor it with a response. In any case, for two consecutive days after, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published photos of the president working. But now the president appeared miffed. He said he has the statistics to prove his accomplishments but it is difficult to let people see it if they do not want to see.
Noynoying caught fire because President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is not known to be a hands-on, hard working president. It would not have worked with former president Fidel V. Ramos who was known to be a workaholic or even with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was prompt to visit typhoon struck areas.
Aquino’s performance as a member of the House of Representatives and then as a Senator is, at best, average. This was reinforced by the president’s slow response to the massive disaster and flooding caused by typhoons Pedring and Quiel. He convened the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council five days after Pedring wreaked havoc on large areas in Luzon and he made a hurried visit to affected areas much later, justifying his non-inclination to visit by saying that he is not fond of photo opportunities.
However, it is not accurate to say that President Aquino has been “noynoying” (coined to mean procrastinating and lazy) on all issues affecting the country. Let us name a few issues where he reacted immediately and those where he appeared to be procrastinating.
President Aquino has been quick to justify the oil price increases, but has been sitting on proposals to control prices and provide immediate relief to the suffering majority.
He swiftly rejected proposals for a legislated P125 daily wage increase and was also fast in approving the outsourcing of services of the Philippine Airlines, but has been blind to attacks on labor rights and killings of unionists.
President Aquino has been quick to promote the mining industry and is even willing to engage local governments passing ordinances banning mining operations in their jurisdiction, but has been slow in responding to the environmental issues being raised against it, such as the pollution of water systems, the destruction of farmlands, and the spread of illnesses in surrounding communities.
He is aggressively enticing mining and BPO companies to invest in the country, even offering incentives such as sovereign guarantees for mining companies, but is turning a blind eye to the difficulties of small to medium Filipino-owned enterprises.
President Aquino has been decisive in commanding the Armed Forces of the Philippines to guard mining operations after the New People’s Army attacked three mining companies, but ignores the increasing number of anti-mining advocates who have been killed and indigenous people’s communities being displaced by mining.
He has been pushing for public private partnership projects, which displace the urban poor, but is slow in providing suitable and liveable relocation sites.
President Aquino has been quick in welcoming the deployment of more US troops in the country, but the government has been stalling in the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
He has been aggressive in trying to find ways to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines and in providing incentives to soldiers but remains deaf and blind to reports of human rights violations and is not doing anything to provide justice to the victims.
President Aquino was quick in ordering the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona for corruption and protecting the interests of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but is not doing anything to make Arroyo accountable for the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances committed under her administration.
He has been following the prescription of the IMF-World Bank to reduce the government deficit religiously, but has been ignoring calls to allocate adequate budgets for education, health, and other social services.
President Aquino has been quick in asserting that his family deserves “just compensation” when the Supreme Court issued a decision ordering the distribution of the land of Hacienda Luisita, but has not been acting on calls for him to influence his family to turn over the land to the farm worker beneficiaries.
So as far as the US, the local ruling elite, and big business are concerned, President Aquino has been quick and decisive in passing measures to promote their interests, but if you ask the majority of the Filipino people, he is, at the minimum, “noynoying” or worse, passing laws and policies that are against their rights and welfare.