‘Don’t blame media’

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III should not blame media, or anyone else for that matter, for the drop in his approval rating. In the first place, the drop in the figures is not that much, and is actually expected.

Instead of blaming anybody, the President should focus on doing something good and on improving the lives of the people. This was the advise of Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila.

The bishop came into media’s defense after the President men chided media for reporting negative stories more than the positive gains the new administration had in the past months.

There’s something familiar about the President’s statement. Former presidents Gloria Macapagagal Arroyo, Joseph Estrada and, in some instances, Fidel V. Ramos used the same line when something goes wrong in government.

Bishop Pabillo hit the nail on the head when he said media is an important part of the accountability process and should be regarded as society’s watchdog.

The negative reports should be a challenge for Aquino to work harder on its projects, and not to work against those whose job is to report what they see or hear around them.

The latest Pulse Asia survey showed the President’s trust rating dropped by five percentage points, from 85 percent in July to 80 percent in October. The President agreed that the botched Aug. 23 hostage crisis in Manila might have contributed to the lower figures.

Bishop Pabillo said the continuous detention of 43 health workers suspected to be communist rebels might have also contributed to the decline in Aquino’s ratings. And then there’s the extrajudicial killings and the agrarian reform issues. The Aquino administration has been perceived to have done nothing on the Hacienda Luisita and Morong 43 issues.

On the other hand, Aquino has nothing to worry about the slight drop in the figures. Other presidents before him had the same experience. The President cannot just expect to maintain his high approval and trust ratings. People expect to see and feel the change he promised during the campaign period.

There is still a lot of things to do. The fact that the drop in the ratings is minimal only shows that the Filipino people still expect that the new administration can still do something different. The people are looking forward to the President doing something concrete, maybe something for “noche buena” this coming Christmas.

A good Christmas gift for leftist activists is the release of the so-called Morong 43; for farmers, land distribution in areas already declared by the Agrarian Reform department as part of the agrarian reform program; for the rebels, an informal dinner maybe with peace negotiators; for the military and the police, some good shoes; and for government workers (especially the casual employees), the release of their long-delayed salaries.

So instead of blaming the negative reports and the noisy  media, the President should start kicking the asses of the people around him who might be too slow to implement the “straight path” promised to us during the elections. Joe Torres


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