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I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Two Top Tens

The closer we get to the New Year, the more obsessed I get with coming up with my own top 10 list. I mean, everyone’s got one, right? But I’m not really into Top 10 political crises or top 10 political scandals. That’s kinda like a vulture going back to pick over the bones of the carcasses it’s already stripped – ehrm, no disrespect to those who like those kinds of things.

Instead, I prefer to be a little more forward looking.

2008 will be the year of laying political foundations for the presidential elections in 2010. While the campaign period for 2010 will actually start in 2010, 2009 will be characterized by the emergence of definite candidates and, hopefully, the emergence of concrete platforms of government based on whatever foundations were laid in 2008. So, that’s my first top 10 list right there: Top 10 policy areas that I think politicians should be preparing platforms for.

And that brings me to my second top 10: top 10 potential presidential candidates. I know it’s waay early to tell for sure, but I’m gonna consider this is as a kind of benchmarking exercise. If I’m still around and blogging and making lists this time next year, I’ll have something to compare against.

Top 10 Policy Areas Politicians Should Prepare Platforms For.

10. Foreign Policy – With ASEAN finally coming up with a charter and trying to transition from talking club to regional-force-to-be-reckoned-with, what role will the Philippines play?

9. Crime – How will the next President bring down crime? Not just high visibility crimes like corruption, but street level crimes as well.

8. Tourism – We’ve all heard about how beautiful the Philippines is, right? We talk of Mayon, and the Rice Terraces, and the beaches. But have you ever tried to get to those places? How can we inspire tourism when the tourism infrastructure doesn’t seem to be there? Or in those places where there is infrastructure, it’s incredibly inadequate. Attracting tourists is only half of the game. The next Prez should have a credible plan to make sure we keep the tourists coming back.

7. Employment – My thinking is that it’s time to ramp down the campaign to get people to go OFW. Heck, it’s time to make it more profitable for them to stay here. Does the next Prez have a plan to do that? Or does he have an alternative plan? Take outsourcing jobs, for instance. That’s a dead end. That ties us down to just providing labor when we should be looking for a strategy to make the transition to production and industrialization.

6. The Environment – This is a crucial aspect of government: safeguarding the natural resources we have so that we can get what we need without compromising future generations’ ability to get that they need from Ma Nature.

5. Campaign finance reform – Everyone talks about how screwed up our electoral system is and by default, everyone points to automation and the COMELEC. These are crucial issues, to be certain, but even more important is what we can do to change the rules of the game itself, rather than just dealing with the referees. Campaign finance reform has the potential to minimize the impact of money on the campaign, as in if we give candidates enough money to campaign, they won’t be so beholden to vested interests and so on.

4. Technology – This you absolutely cannot ignore. With the NBN-ZTE deal effectively dead for months now, we still haven’t heard of a creditable alternative, except to say ‘leave it to the private sector.’ I think we should move beyond that and seek to develop government’s capability to run its own network. Beyond that, we still have a long way to go towards developing a truly functional e-government, and a significant e-commerce driven market.

3. Healthcare – Every Filipino deserves more healthcare than he’s getting now, which is …. practically nothing. The Philhealth card seems to be a good step in the right direction, but as we saw earlier this year, it’s a system still prone to abuse.

2. Education – No books, no classrooms, no facilities, teachers who can’t spell past high-school level, and d risng nfluens f d txt cultre ol cntrbut 2 d dgnrtn f filipino intelligence. Oh and include the upsurge of tv soap operas, demeaning game shows, idiotic local reality shows, and fantasy series that exhort: watch na u! All these degenerative influences must be counter acted by a strong educational philosophy and policy. Will the next president have what it takes?

1. Regional Development and Devolution of Powers – I would vote blindfolded for any candidate who can present a workable solution that, in the 6-years of his term, would see regional governments being strengthened, the mechanisms of transparency and accountability in those regional governments institutionalized, and many of the powers now exercised solely from Manila devolved to the regions, with Manila retaining only a very well-defined range of powers. If this comes through Constitutional Amendment, well, ok. If not, then even better.

Top 10 Potential Presidential Candidates

10. Fernando Po – the guy who claims to be a businessman but whose only business seems to be to be the last person to file a certificate of candidacy for the highest position up for grabs. He ran as Fernando Po in 2004, and as Lapola Po in the Senatorial elections of 2007.

9. Chiz Escudero – I don’t know about this, but I’ve heard some scuttlebut that this monotone thinks he can strike the right note with voters in 2010. At the very least, I have no trouble imagining him running for Veep.

8. JDV – alot of people tend to discount Joe de Venecia on account of his dismal showing the last time he gunned for the presidency. But that was a long time ago, and there has been talk of him capitalizing on the NBN-ZTE controversy.

7. Danding Cojuancgo – Sure people have been talking of this guy running for president almost every election time, but I hear 2010 will be it.

6. Dick Gordon – talk has it that he’s being so anal about automation because he wants to have some sort of landmark legislation he can point to as his own baby. Smart move, except that automation just can’t seem to find its wings – especially now that the budget impasse will prolly be used by the Comelec as an excuse why it can’t go ahead with the bidding for the AES.

5. Ping Lacson – he was totally frustrated the last time, what with having to labor under FPJ’s shadow. With no leviathan in the running now, his iron-fist shtick might just get the audience it needs to sweep him into malakanyang.

4. Loren Legarda – pure conventional wisdom. I see nothing in Loren that would mark her as being of presidential timbre.

3. Noli de Castro – because when you’re Veep, there’s really nowhere else to go but up.

2. Manuel Villar – he’s been making all the right noises, hasn’t he?

1. Mar Roxas – he’s number one only because at this point, he seems to be the only one running for sure.

UPDATE: This article floats the ridiculous idea of Erap Estrada running for President. I don’t think that’s even Constitutional. Another float is the idea of Binay running. Yeah, right. I might eat my words eventually, but I don’t see Binay as even deserving of a runner-up nod.

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Filed under: 2010 watch, politics, ,

10 Responses

  1. […] by Mar Roxas; the Nacionalista’s confirm Villar’s run for Prez. Both guys are in my top 10 potential candidates, and they will stay there until they both file their certificates of candidacy. Until then, who […]

  2. […] a first time voter in 2010, is already researching the background of some rumored candidates. Smoke suggests ten platforms for the top ten potential presidential […]

  3. I think I should tell Mar Roxas about it…

    Please check out http://marroxas2010.blogspot.com

  4. rom says:

    Kevin:that would be a good idea, kevin-dear.

  5. Hello Rom. Thank you so much for this. There are a lot of issues that aspiring leaders should present a clear program on how they will address it. On your concern about technology, I think the next president should have the e-government fund spending and projects approved properly audited.

  6. yolynne says:

    Thanks for sharing this.. I’ve learned a lot. Will start to stalk =) on probable presidentiables so that my vote on will be the result of a thorough research with added internalization and prayers. 2010 would surely be an interesting year.
    God Bless!

  7. benj says:

    Wow. Natauhan na ang ASEAN?! The chit-chat club has gotten a reality check?! hehe

  8. wilma says:

    Oo, mga kababayan. Mamili tayo ng tunay na modelo at representatiba ng Filipinos sa abroad. Si Mar Roxas ay nasa kabataan, pinoy na pinoy ang dating. At saka promotor ng call centers. pang world class employees ang produkto.

  9. kath says:

    This early, only Bayani Fernando has announced he’s running. I really hope Mar Roxas runs for President. I’d definitely vote for him. He deserves to be number one because he is the best candidate for the position. Mr. Palengke is Mr. President!

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