‘Noynoying’ is about the kind of government we have

It's not a personal attack on Aquino but on the government that is grossly insensitive to the plight of the Filipino people

Renato M. Reyes, Jr.The problem is not so much that activists are “having a hard time attacking government policies,” but that people like Joel Rocamora and his Akbayan friends are having a difficult time seeing anything wrong with the Aquino administration despite the overwhelming evidence staring them in the face.

Noynoying” is not simply a personal attack on Aquino but rather an assessment of the kind of government that we have today, one that is grossly insensitive to the plight of the Filipino people.

Aquino represents that kind of government. He is the main articulator of its policies. He’s the one not acting when he is expected to act. More than being funny, there’s a truth to the term noynoying and that’s probably the reason why it has caught on in social media.

For one who heads the National Anti-Poverty Commission, an agency that supposedly is attuned to the needs of the poor, Rocamora apparently sees nothing wrong with Aquino’s refusal to scrap or lower the VAT on oil. Rocamora sees nothing wrong with Aquino’s rejection of a P125 wage increase–a measure that would greatly help Rocomora’s supposed constituents.

The NAPC chair sees nothing disturbing with the Aquino government’s oft-repeated response of “wala tayong magagawa,” whether it’s about oil prices or tuition increases. (Neither do we see Rocamora’s Akbayan friends protesting in the streets against economic ills, not like they used to anyway).

Rocamora attempts to explain Aquino’s different priorities at this stage of his presidency. “The bulk of PNoy’s time is spent on economic issues… but getting at GMA and Corona, earlier Merceditas Gutierrez, is necessary to dismantle the apparatus of impunity put together by GMA for her cabal”.

Unfortunately, Aquino’s performance has been found wanting on both economic issues and the issue of making GMA accountable.

“Dismantling immunity” remains all talk as Arroyo is yet to be made accountable for the bigger crimes of plunder, gross human rights violations and wholesale electoral fraud. And when Rocamora says the bulk of Aquino’s time is spent on economic issues, does he mean the “conditional cash transfer” and pantawid pasada because that’s a lot of time spent of palliatives.

What Rocamora wants us to believe is that Aquino is working hard and that it’s only the activists (national democrats) with their ideological blinders who refuse to see this.

“They see reforms as obstacles to the realization of their illusory revolution. But they cannot oppose specific reforms with massive public support. They cannot oppose the government’s victory on Hacienda Luisita redistribution, so they push for a collective title for the farmers,” Rocamora said.

A collective “Wah?!” would not be enough.

Rocamora distorts the facts in the Luisita dispute to make it appear that the activists and their struggle are threatened by Aquino’s so-called “reforms”. Why is the Luisita redistribution considered a victory of the government? Didn’t some farmers die and some still fighting for land distribution? 

If anything, the struggle in Luisita shows the limitations of the farmer’s options under the current legal processes and government programs.

There have been many in the past who predicted the demise and irrelevance of the Left, often citing “democratic reforms” as the basis. Rocamora is not the first, and probably won’t be the last. Budget Secretary Butch Abad said as much last week. (And why spend so much energy calling something supposedly irrelevant as, well… irrelevant?)

Ah, if the national democratic Left was as irrelevant as Rocamora and Abad claim, why is it that a “leftist-conceived” concept like “noynoying” gained wide currency? It’s because the NatDems are not alone in saying it. It’s everyone else who feels government is not doing enough or anything at all.

The youth activists just gave a name to a collective sentiment that was already there (and in so doing, showed they are more sensitive to the public pulse than the well-oiled Palace communications group). This is something that Malacanang has failed to understand. Indeed, none so blind as those who will not see.

The author is the secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan). This post first appeared on his blog.

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