Bea Jane Serna

Since President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.'s inauguration on the 30th of June last year, he has already been seated as the chief executive of the country for a year as of his State of the Nation Address (SONA) today. 

Cartoon by John Dave Poot

However, almost all plans of action that he stated prior to becoming president have turned out to be false hope and concocted goals of delusion, raising the question, “What has the Philippines really become 365 ¼ days with BBM as President?”

The 10-Point Agenda: Idealism or Reality?

According to Marcos’ office’s official website, he took into consideration a 10-point agenda “for economic renewal and long-term growth” that aims to restore “prosperity” for all Filipinos. Despite this, such a plan can be deemed idealistic, as there have been little to no steps taken by the national government toward the achievement of such an agenda. 

Debts and Deficits

To start off, he encourages the improvement of the efficiency and collection of taxes by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC), as well as prioritizing targeted spending to further manage debt and narrow the budget deficit. An ironic move, given that it has been 26 years since the Supreme Court ruled out how the Marcos family owed the government ₱23 billion in estate taxes as reported by CNN Philippines in 2022. Since his inauguration, the administration has already reported a 13.9% increase in the amount borrowed as of January 2023

BBM’s desire to establish efficient government processes is quite timely, urging transparent and efficient authority. For instance, promoting transparency and even limiting the opportunities for corruption, even with the recent signing into law of the controversial Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), which has gained traction due to how such sovereign funds are mostly sourced from excess in state assets and surplus from the national budget. Unfortunately, the Philippines has no such excess or surplus funds, thus, it is expected that the seed money to further such a law would come from debt and nothing else. 

In Resuming Normalcy

The President also pushes for the resumption of face-to-face classes nationwide while accelerating the reopening of travel and the economy to restore and create jobs. Although stated that quick actions shall be done on vaccine procurement and roll-out in case the pandemic re-emerges, measures should already have been taken to ensure and eradicate the risks of such possibility. 

Coined to be the “National Reopening,” it is evident that despite the attempts to fully resume to full-blown face-to-face modality of learning, the mere lack of resources in the education system bars such efforts. This also goes to show that the president’s goal of having “Future-reading Filipinos” by equipping them with quality education will remain to be a future that shall never come as we can see the lack of educators, learning materials, and digital tools in student environments. 

Agriculture Stagnation

Concerns about one’s necessities such as food security have also been discussed as part of his priorities, yet with himself being the Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary as well, the goal of increasing the productivity of agriculture and fisheries has no significant progress so far, especially with the country previously under agricultural turmoil with the skyrocketing of prices of onions, the wrong step of importing sugar, and even his dead promise of lowering down the price of rice at P20 per kilo. 

All FOUR What?

Overall rating – 4/10. Considered to be unlucky due to how it sounds much like the word for death in East Asian countries, the Philippines is also unfortunate with a president that presents concrete plans, yet stops only there. What more can we expect in the next 5 years to come? 

Edited by Khezyll Galvan