Aquino can recover from his dropped ratings

Aquino can recover from his dropped ratings

It's an overused phrase, but the system creates it: "lameduck president."

It's like so many things, a takeoff from the American presidential system (not one I'm too partial to, because I believe a parliamentary system better reflects what a democracy should be and is something the next president should explore early on).

It's a phrase that becomes reality when you've got politicians whose main purpose in life is to stay in power themselves.

So it becomes harder for a Philippine president to get support as his nonextendable term ends.

The bad news seems to have been piling up for President Aquino. The Mamasapano massacre was the denouement, but things had been building up before that.

The dramatic drop in his administration's ratings in an SWS survey this week and in an earlier Pulse Asia survey shows a public dissatisfied with his performance in a range of areas, with efforts to address poverty and reduce inflation being among the areas of highest dissatisfaction, and resolving the Maguindanao massacre case with justice with a negative net of -50 being particularly worrying.

So he needs to do something about it with some urgency.

The inability to get people out of poverty is something we've raised almost every year, with creating jobs being the only real way to do it.

Whatever numbers you look at, population growth has kept the numbers in poverty almost unchanged. The high economic growth rates have created jobs, but not enough.

As I mentioned in my April 2 column ("Primum nil nocere"), there were 2.9 million Filipinos without a job in January 2011.

The 2.7 million jobless in January 2015 is a negligible improvement. It's the same as to poverty: There were an estimated 26 million Filipinos in poverty in 2010, and 25.7 million in the first half of 2014.

As these numbers show, Mr. Aquino has been unable to address the one thing that matters in a society: the wellbeing of all its people.

So, as you'd expect, people are dissatisfied. Giving all people a decent life is the only real goal of a leader.

As to inflation, that's harder. The official numbers don't justify being unhappy. Last year official inflation was 4.1 per cent. That highlights a problem we've long raised.

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