Briefer on the 100 Days Tradition

Prepared by the Presidential Communications Strategic Planning Office in cooperation with the Presidential Museum and Library
Marking 100 days as a milestone in a new administration is an American practice, pioneered by the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt (The First 100 Days: Franklin Roosevelt Pioneered the 100-Day Concept, US News Politics & Policy online publication, Kenneth Walsh 2009). Entering into office in the midst of the Great Depression, the unprecedented scale and scope of his legislative agenda -15 major bills passed by the U.S. Congress in FDR’s first 100 Days- was widely seen then (and since) as a historic achievement.

In the Philippines, presidents have used their inaugural addresses to outline their policies and the State of the Nation Address to detail their legislative agenda. Since Presidents were inaugurated on Rizal Day and Congress convened in January, mere weeks would pass between these two major addresses and the activities that served to put a stamp on the governing style of each chief executive.
The tradition of marking the first 100 Days in office of a chief executive began with the late President Corazon C. Aquino. During her snap election campaign, President Aquino delivered a speech before the Joint Philippine Chambers of Commerce on February 3, 1986, outlining what her government sought to do in its first one hundred days. Thus, on June 4, 1986, President Aquino reported on her administration’s activities and accomplishments in a panel discussionbroadcast on television.
Aside from her TV panel discussion being an exercise in accountability, it was also a return to the pre-martial law tradition of presidents making a report to the country in the early months of their term. At the time, Mrs. Aquino was governing as head of a revolutionary government, and there was no legislature in operation.
President Fidel V. Ramos acknowledged his first 100 days with a report to the nation dated October 8, 1992.
His successor, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, was conscious of the First 100 Days tradition, and this was discussed by the late Adrian Cristobal in The Millennium President (Studio5 Publishing, 1999), in a chapter title “First One Hundred Days” (pp.122-145), in which he wrote,
One hundred days have a symmetry of its own, like 100 percent, a figure with a centennial ring to it.
Besides, there is the weight of tradition. The phrase “The One Hundred Days” originated in France. On the day Louis XVIII was restored to the throne –June 28, 1815 to be exact—the prefect of Paris announced: “A hundred days, sire have elapsed since the fatal moment when your majesty was forced to quit your capital in the midst of tears.” The 100 days before having been the time Napoleon reached the Tuilleries after escaping from the prison of Elba.
The source of the original term aside, Cristobal pointed out that in the Philippine setting,
…[T]he first 100 days is the period when the President traditionally enjoys a honeymoon of sorts with his traditional critics –the media, the political opposition and, in the Philippine case, a vigilant Church leadership. The first three months are a look-see period for the media, a let’s-give-him-a-try season for the opposition. It is the first baby steps for the new administration.
President Benigno S. Aquino III hews to the tradition begun by his late mother, in marking his First 100 Days in office with a town hall style meeting with various representatives of civil society and the public at large, to report on his administration’s activities and programs, in an accessible manner.
View the President’s message to the Filipino People on his first 100 days in office.

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