A year into office and Aquino has yet to concretely show the Filipino people where he intends to lead them in his six years as president. If his second State of the Nation Address is any indication, we seem to be no closer to that “promised land” than we were a year ago—but not so much for lack of trying to move as it is for the absence of concrete standards by which we can measure our progress!
Yes, it’s a “vision” that Aquino has been lacking ever since he took the reins of government in June last year. He did have a very populist metaphor for his plan of governance when he faced the nation in Luneta and swore to do be its humblest servant—and we have to give it to him, his “anti-wang wang” drive resonated well with the public. He obviously did not hesitate to harp on it again this year.
A lot of people–including Inquirer columnists Conrado de Quiros and Professor Winnie Monsod–have said that this “no wang wang” rhetoric is vision enough for them. That is well and good–but while Aquino has done right in making a transparent, graft-free bureaucracy his administration’s primary goal, it must not be the only thing he should set his sights on! That’s just one side of social justice he is focusing on–what about unemployment and hunger? Will we be producing petrochemicals and steel (basic industries for industrialization) in five years’ time? Will we be self-sufficient in energy? When will we be able to dissolve the Department of Agrarian Reform because land reform has finally been realized?
In popular literature, villains are the foremost visionaries–because they always go at great lengths to achieve whatever it is they have set their sights on. True, some of them are just the lame, just-to-antagonize-the-protagonist types, but some believed in things bigger than themselves, whose being “evil” was borne out of a desire to effect a major change in the status quo. Take Voldemort for instance, he wanted to achieve immortality for himself, and be the most powerful wizard in all history, but he also saw that wizards and witches–who have been in hiding since the institutionalization of a Statute of Secrecy in 1692 due to Muggle persecution–deserve a higher place in the world order. He wanted to bring them out of hiding and take the reins from the Muggles, because he believed they were a “superior” race. This was his vision, that “Magic is Might”, and he employed all means necessary to achieve it–he allied himself with the most grotesque creatures known to wizardkind like the Giants and the Dementors, and tortured and killed many people who got in his way. Unfortunately though, the good side had a vision as well–Dumbledore, who himself once subscribed to the “Magic is Might” ideology, fought relentlessly against Voldemort and saw peaceful coexistence with Muggles as more preferable.
Marvel’s Magneto is also one visionary. Like Voldemort, he believed that mutants are a superior people, and that they should invert the world order to put “lesser” mortals in their rightful place. He had to part ways with Charles Xavier, who, like Dumbledore, followed the “peaceful coexistence” line. His rhetoric was so seductive that Mystique, who grew up with Charles, was forced to join him and scorn Hank (Beast) for being ashamed of his mutation. As we all know, the X-Men saga would follow Professor X and his students as they try to stop the Brotherhood of Mutants (founded by Magneto) from wreaking havoc in the name of their “Mutants and Proud” cause.
The bottom line is, it wouldn’t hurt Aquino to dream BIG. He is wasting so much political capital by not doing anything to rally the people around a grand vision! He would do well to take a leaf out of these villains’ book, because they never once hesitated in going all-out to achieve their vision. They were able to gather supporters not only because they coerced them into doing so (although in Voldemort’s case this tends to be the rule rather than the exception) but because these supporters actually believed in their causes.
If we would remember, the most applauded part of Aquino’s SONA was when he asserted the Philippines’ claims on the Spratlys. I think that’s just a mere gleaning–I think Aquino would be surprised to see just how much Filipinos can give in the name of country.