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Dear PNoy,

Anniversaries in office are both nice and terrifying. Nice because they’re a way to mark time, distance and measure gain—as well as wrap ourselves in warm memories. Terrifying because they remind us of unmet expectations, of goals slowed down by political realities and a leader’s limitations.

Remember, Mr. President, how it was a year ago, when you were swept into office by an overwhelming vote. You caught the public’s imagination, fevered by your mother’s death, she the icon of democracy.

You were a reluctant candidate, pushed by name and circumstance. You brought with you your years as legislator but you had no experience in running an executive department.

But, gradually, to our amazement, you connected to people, electrified audiences with your simple speeches, your real self (no makeovers!), from the thinning hair to the ill-fitting pants, loose on the waist and tightened by a belt.

You did not cialis brand have the instant charisma of your father, his sharp wit and natural confidence. But you carved your own personality, self-deprecating and humble, and you spoke flawless Tagalog.

People passed around coin boxes and bottles, donated campaign paraphernalia, from stickers to ribbons, and volunteered time and money to help you make it to Malacañang.

Suffering from corruption fatigue, the public welcomed you as a contrast to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. You captured the mood with your slogan, Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap. You went a step further and made a connection between poverty and corruption. You did not treat corruption just as a sin unto itself. You linked it to our foremost problem.

The joint session of Congress proclaimed Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III president-elect on July 9, 2010.

I wonder how you felt during that time, Mr. President, when you were declared winner. You must have been elated. But, at the same time, anxious and worried about the big problems that awaited you. Perhaps you felt alone, too, as out there, the wave of expectations reached a high and you canadianpharmacy-toprx knew, deep inside, that, when at the top, it would just be you making the decisions that would really cialis 5 mg once a day matter.

Remember, too, Mr. President, about the difficulties on the campaign trail. You had a divided team. The suddenness of your decision to run for president left your supporters with little time to mesh. All of them rooted for you but they went their separate ways in choosing a vice cialis generic president. From the beginning, as you were thrust into the epicenter of the election campaign, the fault lines among your followers were clear.

But somehow, for a brief moment, we set aside the country’s pressing woes and your team’s disunity when you took your oath of office that sunny day in June last year. There was genuine happiness in the air and it was as if the sun brought shafts of hope—for a new period in our politics, a new turn in our more than a hundred years of building a nation.

It’s been a year since then. I’m sure you’ve learned lessons on leadership, especially in this time of 24/7 media, when news seems to travel faster than light. It’s a harsh reality—mistakes are magnified,

privacy is alien—that many leaders have to live with.

You’ve been a politician and public figure for many years, but you may not have been prepared for the attacks from your opponents who, of course, paint you in a bad light. Sometimes, the criticisms are silly but you’ve still got to address them. Even Barack Obama was not spared; he had to make his birth certificate public to prove that he was born in the US. Similarly, you felt you had to deny your nocturnal affinity with a video game.

I know, Mr. President, that you don’t want unsolicited advice but that’s unavoidable in public office. Let me just say that this is a time to take stock and to separate the valid criticisms from those just meant to disparage you. These are the ones that hurt because they’re true. Those that merely irritate, you can dismiss.

There is little doubt that you mean well for the country. But sometimes, your personal preferences and relations collide with the public interest. This is evident in some of your appointments. Your power to appoint is vast and can spell the difference between success and failure, excellence and mediocrity. It’s hard to detach from friends, those who do not serve the common good—only if you don’t have the country’s interest at heart. This is a supreme test of leadership—to put country above self—and you are not alone in this world faced with such a challenge. This is a constant tension among leaders. So please don’t feel that you, alone, have this burden.

Communication is crucial, as you know (Bill Clinton once said that it’s 50 percent of online pharmacy in quebec canada the battle in the information age), so you would need to unify, rather than divide, your communication team. You would also need to tell us where we’re going, Mr. President. You’re adept at details but we can all get lost in them. We’re with you in this journey but where is our destination?

You may not be a fan of President Fidel Ramos but he got his message through: he repeatedly told us where he was taking us. Remember Philippines 2000? It was boring to hear the same thing drummed into our heads. But we got it. And he made us look outward, talked to us about global competition and the need to catch up with our neighbors.

Bill Clinton gave this advice to Tony Blair when the latter was just a month old as prime minister: “Say it once, say it twice and keep on saying it, and

Of Skin looking the It like for inflammation clippers continue so me,.

when you’ve finished, you’ll know you’ve still not said it enough.”

Overall, Mr. President, you’ve changed the tone of leadership. But that should only be the beginning.

CATEGORY: Blogs, Marites Dañguilan-Vitug
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  1. Ian Pestelos says:

    one brilliant piece! I hope PNoy gets to read this.

  2. Evangeline Eriksson says:

    I have enjoyed what you have said Marites.

  3. Jun Villacorta says:

    What did you expect?

  4. Ian and Evangeline, thanks for the feedback!

  5. Ian and Evaneline, thanks for the feedback!

  6. philip suzara says:

    very insightful and circumspect, marites.
    this should be a very welcome unsolicited advice.

  7. Johnny Lin says:

    Nun eleksyun meron siyang kaeskwela sa Ateneo, sabi nya si PNOY nung nagaaral ng high school ang ugali nya nais lang masama sa in crowd. Psychological profile yun, kaya hangga ngayun di niya mapaghiwalay ang sinumpaang niyang tungkulin sa Pilipinas at pakikipag-kaibigan. Kaya ayaw ni PNoy magbigay ng controbersyal na desisyun kagaya ng Marcos burial na no brainer. Matagal na niya dapat nadessisyun yun. Parati niyang sinasabi pagaralan muna kapag nasangkot sa karumaldumal na gawain ang kaibigan nya, Puno, Torres, Diokno?Marami ng umabuso sa puwesto sa kanila, bulag at bingi pa siya. Pareho mo Marites, maraming Pilipino suportado ang layunin ni PNoy. Hanggang saan? malapit na ang gilid ng bangin sa landas na tinatahak nating umaasa. Marami na rin mga tao ang pareho natin, INIP NA! Kaya walang destinasyun, nagbyahe si NOYNOY na ang alam lang nya maglalakbay siya sa kagubatan pero d nya alam gamitin ang dala nyang compass kaya pinagkatiwala sa KKK. Saaayang, sayang, saaayang!

  8. Warren Concepcion says:

    It looks like that we have a mission but we do not have any vision.

  9. This is very simply written but is so powerful. Thanks for writing it. I do hope it will have its intended impact.

  10. very well said…i hope the administration and friends of this administration will read, understand and have action…

  11. nonieza says:

    very well said…sobrang frustrating ang pagkainefficient and ineffectiveness ni pnoy. and hirap ilarawan ang kabagutan at kadismayahan sa gobyerno at pamumuno ni noynoy…

  12. pnoy’s slogan KUNG WALANG CORRUPT WALANG MAHIRAP speaks well for himself MAHIRAP is everywhere and the CORRUPT is always being tagged by him to the previous administration NAKAKASAWA NA everytime he is on the rostrum walang ibang sisisihin kundi si gloria but the question is WHAT HAS THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION DONE TO ALLEVIATE THE BURDEN OF THE FILIPINOS ? wake up PHILIPPINES !!!

  13. Jesus Mary Hao says:

    The President should read this letter. Nakakataba naman po ito ng puso Ma’am Marites. Sana mabuhayan ng loob si Senyor Presidente.

  14. Jesus Mary Hao says:

    Medyo may kulang po sa sinabi pala ni Senyor Presidente kahapon sa Kawit, Cavite. “Ang Pilipinas ay hindi pa malaya. Hindi pa malaya sa kahirapan.” Ang kulang po dito ay,”Hindi pa tayo malaya,hindi pa malaya sa korupsiyon na ugat ng kahirapan.”

  15. Rvl Gimenez says:

    I read the much vaunted Executive Order 43 that a few claim to be one that lays out where we are going and how we should get there. To my disappointment, I quickly realized that far from being a road map, it contained no more than generalizations and generous helpings of campaign trail bombast. What surfaces as the only thing clear is that the Executive Order, rather than being a master plan, is no more than an order that creates committees (“clusters”, as they are called), thus, if it succeeds at all, it shall only be with respect to its primary objective: the creation of committees.

    Like they used to say, “It sure ain’t no way to run a railroad.”

    As for the apparent communications foul up, I don’t really see any. I only see an absence of a forward-looking message which accounts for the president’s having to always look back at the past.

    While he may sincerely want to uplift the lives of the poor, it is a good guess that he has no idea how to do it, thus, he can’t talk about it except in the most general terms. He avoids going into specifics, because he might have to give credit to his pet peeves (GMA and company) some of whose ideas he has expropriated to be made his own(e.g., those dole-outs, etc.) and remain the driving philosophies of his economic agenda. God forbid that he should laud GMA and company!

    So without a message that PNoy can really call his own, his people cannot be expected to do much.

  16. Johnny Lin says:

    Early this year, in one posting on another related article, I predicted that, if by the end of 2011 there are no visible meaningful results from PNoy administration, he should say goodbye to his fantastic approval ratings. I was wrong! Based on the comments here, his honeymoon with the people is over. Pandora’s box of people frustration on his performance was opened by Ms. Marites. It wont be surprising that in the next SWS survey his approval rating would dip below 50%. Hoping against hope is near futile. Time to start searching for another knight with anti corrupt stance, possessing determined adult leadership, without adolescent mentality!

  17. Johnny Lin says:

    Early this year, in one posting on another related article, I predicted that, if by the end of 2011 there are no visible meaningful results from PNoy administration, he should say goodbye to his fantastic approval ratings. I was wrong! Based on the comments here, his honeymoon with the people is over. Pandora’s box of people frustration on his performance was opened by Ms. Marites. It wont be surprising that in the next SWS survey his approval rating would dip below 50%. Hoping against hope is near futile. Time to start searching for another knight with anti corrupt stance, possessing strong firm adult leadership and will power, without any trace of adolescent mentality!

  18. Pnoy got an avalanche of sentimental votes last year that fortunately saved us from another Erap term. Providential that may be, and good intentions notwithstanding in Pnoy’s case, kulang pa rin. We need the planning expertise put together by Marcos and the implementation skills of GMA’s team. Both leaders succumbed to corruption, God forbid naman that this one will flounder because of mediocrity, not his own but that of the people he chose to surround him…

  19. luciferfxwatchers says:

    And Mr. P-Noy, we voted for you! Yes, we voted for you because of your battlecry of “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap!” We voted for you because you promised in your campaign to prosecute the big fish in smuggling and tax evasion who are, as you said, facelss to you. We kew tha in your mind foremost was the corruptor Beho Lucio Tan and Lucio Co, especially the much bigger Lucio who made tax evasion a by-word in every home. Now, why are you not doing anything to prosecute Lucio Tan anew? Undying rumors in the hotel that he acquired by fraud have it that he succeeded in “contributing” hundreds of millions to you in last elections through your “KKK” crooked Ochoa and “Mr. Padyak” Roxas. Where do we go, P-Noy? With this top Beho corruptor around stringing you, what “Tuwid na Daan” you said that we’d go?

  20. Hi Marites: well said and with grace. How can anyone take offense? Wish I’d written it!

  21. So… where do we go from here? Maybe, the better question is: where are we? Change has been promised. Are we at the threshold of a radical departure from the past? The economy, political order, education, bureaucracy, social services, local governance and the environment demand a much different way of seeing problems than before. The new leadership must disabuse itself of the same thinking that created and protracted them. Does Pnoy offer that leadership? It is not enough to beat the straight path. More important is that the path goes where we want to go.

  22. Krista Aquinas says:

    Will P-Noy be awakened by this masterpiece article from his “tutulog-tulog-ness?” We pray, otherwise his parents will rise from their graves. He should dispose his Porsche soonest. He has serious national problems to solve as president. Even here, far away from our country, we hear about his gang of “kakampi, kaklase at kabarilan’s” acquisition of a plush house in La Vista as their “safe house” where they troop to after “work.” There, according to the wind that whispers to our ears here, they have booze, women and computer games to leisure on, ala-ancient Rome. Please check this information, Ms. Vitug. Check also the plush hotel, owned by Ochoa’s brother-in-law, somewhere in Timog where P-Noy is said to bring in women and men in the dead of night. His Porsche was said to have been in a minor accident, with him driving, one evening after his “Sodom and Gomorrah” pleasure in the hotel. It was before his Porsche came to the knowledge of the public.

    But women for P-Noy? We wonder why at his age, he has not married yet, unlike Kris who have scores of marriage already. Mon Tulfo subtly suggested that he is a “both-sides-now,” not a real man, and because of his staying single at that age of 50 plus, we tend to believe so. Who shuld be his “darlings?” Despite shouts for him to fire the crooked duo, Ochoa and Puno, he won’t let them go. So, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap?” We don’t hear him say so anymore.

  23. The article as well as the comments are all very well said. Indeed there is nothing glorious abour being in a state of developmental stupor. PNoy’s slogan has always been more than a campaign ruse rather than a policy. It shows. . . .especially under the present state of affairs. In the end, wethe Filipnos deserve the President that we voted for. I didnt vote for PNoy and I have no regrets. . .especially now that I have seen what he is capable of and what he cannot forego in exchange for the oath that he took. God bless the Philippines. I hope we can choose better on 2016

  24. What a gracious way of saying things that matter a lot. So full of respect and dignity – this is how the 4th estate should criticize the government. I always admire Ms. Danguilan-Vitug’s style. Keep it up, Ma’am.

  25. Well said Mr Lin.The people are getting impatient and rightly so. Hopefully PNoy’s next 5 years as President will be a lot better.

  26. Daang Tuwid po and message niya. Kung pupunta lang ang mga pera na nasa budget sa dapat kapuntahan-at habulin ang nagkasala at ibalik ang ninakaw na yaman ng bayan-Sapat na mensahe na po iyun.

  27. i’ve always thought that people who demand instant gratification or results have adhd…lol

    para sa akin, before you can have a clear destination, you need to clean up the mess first. and we all know how the previous administration messed up our institutions big time.

    i have no problem with Pnoy repeatedly mentioning the shenanigans of the previous administration. after all, we all need to know just what happened with our money. kailangan din ulit-ulitin para naman di maibaon sa limot, which i think is an ailment that has plagued this nation for a long time. and which is why we never learn our lesson.

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