Dateline, Manila- In an unprecedented move, President Aquino announced today that he will be dismantling all of Government . This will involve laying off 1.5 million people in the bureaucracy.
Budget Secretary Abad explained: ” With zero-based budgeting we realized we could actually have a zero-based Government”.
Polls conducted after the President’s SONA confirmed this finding. Despite the lack of any content in the speech, the public gave the President an 88% approval rating. “This validates the proposition,” said Presidential spokesperson Lacierda, “we don’t actually have to govern; we just have to tell the people we are. We can run this Government just on messages.”
The Administration will replace the bureaucracy with a virtual Government concentrating exclusively on communication. The theme will be “ Perception Is Reality : How To Successfully Run A Government Without Really Trying.”
All activities requiring a physical presence like national security and foreign affairs will be outsourced as part of the announced private sector partnerships.
The nucleus for the new paradigm is in place with the formation of a three-legged Communications Group (the Group) in Malacanang. The first leg led by Sec. Carandang will concentrate on messaging. The second leg headed by Sec. Colona will supervise the Government’s media assets and relations with the press. The third led by Sec. Lacierda will act as spokesperson for the President.
While likened to a three-headed hydra, the Group is really one entity with Carandang as the brains, Colona as the body and Lacierda as the mouth.
The Group held a conference to explain the structure to media. After a three hour session the press still did not get it but that may be just a matter of time.
Similar communications units will be established in the 19 Cabinet offices with each having its own spokesperson.
When fully operational, these spokespersons will form a Communications Cabinet, a shadow Cabinet if you will, that will in time replace the current Cabinet.
The National Communications Development Authority has been established to replace NEDA with the President as Chairman and Colona, Carandang and Lacierda as members. Alternates to the latter three are, respectively, Maria Montelibano, Charo Santos of ABS-CBN, and any relative of Butch Abad.
The virtual cabinet will meet on Facebook every Monday to promote transparency in Government and save on premises and snacks. (In due course ads will be sold on the Cabinet home page as a revenue measure).
Lacierda explained : “There is no need for the bureaucracy when we can govern with Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. We can work smarter, work faster, work smaller. Without a bureaucracy there will be no corruption. In social media there are no middlemen. Our only currency is the message and you cannot make money on that”.
The Truth Commission is one of the models for the new Government. It looks good, it sounds good, it has the Mandela aura of probity. It plays well in the court of public opinion if not in the real courts. It is legally impotent but no matter. It is all about the message and the people love it.
Lacierda explained the other features of the new Government:” Eliminating the bureaucracy will immediately turn our budget deficit into a surplus. This will allow us to pay our debt, lower taxes, create jobs to accommodate the Government layoffs and invest in education, healthcare and infrastructure. With this program I see the President’s approval rating rising to 120%”.
The Group has been pushing its plan to the public. Lacierda on his own has already held more press conferences than all Cabinet officers combined, the President included.
Current Cabinet officials are, predictably, unconvinced. A group known as the Peninsula 11 (the Hyatt Hotel having closed) has threatened to resign en masse if the new plan is implemented.