Engine of hope

Published on Blogwatch.ph

There is actually nothing remarkable about the results of the Social Weather Station (SWS)survey which showed that nine out of ten Filipinos welcome the New Year with high hopes. It has always been the case, at least in the past few years. To invoke a transitive relation between high New Year hopes and the Aquino administration’s efforts is simply too much optimism.

And that was what the Palace did. Reacting on the SWS survey, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing last Dec. 29 that the Palace thanks the Filipino people “for imposing their trust.”

“They view our government as an engine of hope that what we promised during the campaign – eradication of graft and corruption, and poverty reduction – will bear fruit. And so that is something that we are going to fulfil.”

Such comment brings to the fore two rickety assumptions: 1) the high New Year hope is a manifestation of the people’s trust to the government. 2) the people view the government as “engine of hope.”

The Palace must be overwhelmed with its excellent performance in surveys that it failed to distinguish trust ratings from the survey’s measure of New Year optimism. It should be noted the question in the SWS yearend survey was “Is it with hope or with fear that you enter the coming year?”. This alone makes it clear that Secretary Lacierda must not stretch his reading of the people’s New Year optimism to lend more credence to the government’s trumpeted gains in the past six months.

Moreso, the 93 percent New Year optimism rating holds no statistical significance if compared with results in previous years. Results of yearend surveys, at least by SWS, were more or less the same under the Arroyo administration: 95 percent in 2002, 90 percent in 2003, 91 percent in 2006 and 2007, and 92 percent in 2008. Using Secretary Lacierda’s flawed logic (and assuming that survey results are true), the Arroyo administration would then be also called an engine of hope in the past nine years.

But seriously, do we view the government as a mere engine of hope? I don’t think so. We don’t elect leaders who will only fan our ideals and aspirations as a nation until the next elections. We ideally put in place a government that will be an engine of change rather than just an engine of hope. We long for a government that gamely tackles and actively pursues land reform, wage hikes, greater access to social services, social justice, and an end to the climate of impunity.

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