Unity in government

Published July 2, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid


Dr. Florangel Rosario-Braid

This column was written before the inaugural of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Thus, we are not privy on his plans to flesh out his campaign theme of “unity in government” which had prompted his older sister, Senator Imee Marcos to advise him to do a “Lincoln gesture” and include a “team of rivals” in his cabinet. 

Thus, we hope that in the next 100 days, he would pursue this promise by fleshing out his “unity” program of governance that he and his Vice-President had committed to undertake. 

I thought that after the President’s singular victory, the people would be expecting significant reforms in days to come. 

I have listed perceived priority problems that are in the minds not only of the more than 31 million Filipinos who voted for him but from most of our countrymen. Thus, these questions and concerns: 

 What does the President and his “unity team” propose to do for the short and medium-term as a response to these concerns? His strategic plan must include participation by various sectors, a prioritization of goals, especially focusing on underserved – indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, women, children, migrant workers. 

Since we must think global, multiculturalism, multilateralism, and understanding of the rapid changes in our “connected” world is necessary.  Too, since participation is now an essential element, how can the new government establish a “listening government,” fight impunity and discrimination, close economic and social gaps? 

What would be a realistic plan in combating climate change, establish an economic strategy based on a “sharing economy,” humanize the work environment, revolutionize education by adapting models from other cultural settings, ensure adequate preparation not only for the job market but also for instilling love of country? 

How can he and his team restructure government to make it responsive to unity and the common good? More specifically, how can we train our young to become good citizens, restructure civil service to make our officials fit for government service? How do we institute a system of rewards that promotes excellence and the right mindsets for servant leadership? And here are some of the priority development concerns: 

  1. Poverty, and unemployment. Control of inflation and hunger. “Endo.” 
  2. Growing control of economy by oligarchs and political dynasties
  3. Endemic corruption 
  4. Constitutional change – Role of local government, cooperatives, federalization, industrialization 
  5. Education – Drastic restructuring of system towards critical thinking and life skills acquisition 
  6. Drug war and extrajudicial killings.   How to end impunity
  7. Anti-terrorism and red-tagging 
  8. Sovereignty, national security and the West Philippine Sea. Joint exploration with other claimants; cooperation with US, China and other countries
  9. Erosion of democratic space and growing populism 
  10. Human rights and social justice –closing social, income and gender gaps, rights of children and minority groups
  11. Challenges in our knowledge and information society and digitalization  
  12. Disinformation and fake news
  13. Electoral and constitutional reforms 
  14. Ensuring lasting peace 

The above is a brief summary of some of the opportunities and challenges in Philippine society today. Every administration has faced these challenges. They are not new. But we have to search for the missing element that explains why we failed to strike home.

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