“I am not a traditional politician who likes to give promises and deadlines…”
– President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, March 8,2001
No matter how much she denies it, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo just loves giving deadlines.
“Let’s zero in once again on smuggling… While we clean up our finances, we shall also rid society of its dregs and misfits,” the President was quoted as saying during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Incorporated (FFCCCII).
Another release posted today on the same site said the Palace will closely monitor the Bureau of Custom’s compliance to the President’s order.
Oh really? Wish ko lang!
It must remembered that on February 28 last year, Arroyo gave the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 90 days to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf. Nothing came out of that deadline. The Abu Sayyaf is still in Mindanao and an alleged ranking leader was even reportedly arrested just this month.
Early in her term–on April 2001–she “urged” the communist rebels to set October 2002 as a deadline for the completion of the peace talks. It looks like she later gave another deadline because CyberDyaryo on January 2002 published a statement by the Leftist Bagong Alyansang Makabayan reacting to a six-month deadline on peace talks.
Meanwhile, a May 13, 2003 OPS report said Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye “disclosed moves to impose on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) a two-week deadline to make a categorical stand on whether or not they want to pursue the peace talks.” A week later, while she was in the US, Arroyo denied giving such a deadline.
“Doing a Thaksin,” as Prof. Luis Teodoro puts it, Arroyo on June 19, 2003 also gave the police 90 days to neutralize big fishes in the drug business. She later clarified that it was not a deadline but just a “work program at the end of which there must be a strategic and convincing results.” Okay Very nice palusot! She must have realized that in this country full of corrupt people, it is impossible to stop those evil drug lords and pushers in just three months. To announce you could do such is just making “papogi.”
Later in the year, when Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes and his group staged the Oakwood siege, the President warned them to surrender on or before 5 o’clock of July 27. But as the BBC reported, the mutineers defied this deadline. It was of course extended. I think though, that in this particular case, such extension was justified since Arroyo wanted to prevent bloodshed.
With the President’s latest deadline, let’s see how much her new Customs commissioner could do to stop smuggling — which, according to the Fair Trade Alliance — robs the country of P174.17 billion a year!