Elections are getting closer every day – 54 days as of this post. Not that it would mean much given the trends being peddled in the mainstream media. A choice between a thieving bozo, a lazy bozo, and an ethically-challenged billionaire turned-legislator. If the election were limited to the three – and one were to say “lesser evil”, given Indonesia’s growth under an able CEO despite the corruption – the logical choice will be Villar.
In my book, this isn’t about the lesser evil – this is about the greatest permanent good. With this exerise, I compare and contrast the stances taken by a front runner and one on the edges – Aquino and Gordon, on the economy. There will be four items singled out – Policy Statement – and based on the Policy Statement – the candidates perception of the Current State, Vision of the Future State, and from other sources – How to Achieve the Future State.
AQUINO ON THE ECONOMY
Aquino’s Policy Statement
6. From government policies influenced by well-connected private interests to a leadership that executes all the laws of the land with impartiality and decisiveness.
7. From treating the rural economy as just a source of problems, to recognizing farms and rural enterprises as vital to achieving food security and more equitable economic growth, worthy of re-investment for sustained productivity.
8. From government anti-poverty programs that instill a dole-out mentality to well-considered programs that build capacity and create opportunity among the poor and the marginalized in the country.
9. From a government that dampens private initiative and enterprise to a government that creates conditions conducive to the growth and competitiveness of private businesses, big, medium and small.
10. From a government that treats its people as an export commodity and a means to earn foreign exchange, disregarding the social cost to Filipino families to a government that creates jobs at home, so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity; and when its citizens do choose to become OFWs, their welfare and protection will still be the government’s priority.
Aquino’s Perception of the Current State
1. The rural economy as just a source of problems.
2. A government that dampens private initiative and enterprise.
3. A government that treats its people as an export commodity and a means to earn foreign exchange,”
Aquino’s Vision of the Future State
1. Farms and rural enterprises vital to achieving food security and more equitable economic growth, worthy of re-investment for sustained productivity.
2. A government that creates conditions conducive to the growth and competitiveness of private businesses, big, medium and small.
Aquno’s Plan to Achieve the Future State?
Comments on Aquino’s Policy and Plans:
Farms and rural enterprises vital to achieving food security and more equitable economic growth, worthy of re-investment for sustained productivity. But, the crappy Land Reform legislation crafted by the Aquino oligarch/landlord-dominated Congress in 1987 scuttled the opportunity. Trust the son to undo the job of the mother? Or trust the son to finish the job – of killing the basic unit of the rural enterprise – the farmers?
A government that creates conditions conducive to the growth and competitiveness of private businesses, big, medium and small. That would have been possible if it weren’t for the 60-40 provision which discriminated against foreign investors. Small and medium Filipino businesses have been deprived of equity arrangements with foreigners due to lopsided protectionist terms currently not allowed in the 1987 constitution crafted by Cory Aquino and her band of landlords and oligarchs in Congress.
GORDON ON THE ECONOMY
Gordon’s Policy Statement
Our methods of production, systems of defense and education, all aspects of society, must be geared towards a meritocracy that rewards efficiency. We must build the basic infrastructure to enable us to compete in a global economy.
Gordon’s Perception of the Current State
Down and underdeveloped. Only the oligarchs have control over the resources of government and the economy.
Vision of the Future State
Globally competitive economy.
How to Achieve the Future State?
Available materials straight from Gordon himself are presented below:
Give RP a government that works
The central question that the May elections must answer is: How do we get our nation moving? What will it take to propel our country forward? What should be our priorities? The next president must give the nation a government that works—effective government. All our travails as a nation are the result of ineffective government—a government that cannot enforce the law, a government corroded by corruption, a government weakened by dissension and strife, a government that cannot assure the safety and well-being of the people.
We are a talented and resourceful people, and this is proven by the productive service of 10 million Filipinos in other lands. What has failed us is political leadership and government.
With effective government, we can finally address the primary challenges that have kept us down and undeveloped.
First, we can embark on a massive investment and productivity program to raise national economic output—in agriculture, in industry, in services and in global trade. This is the key to producing the jobs for our millions and keeping more of them at home.
In this regard, food security and the El Niño problem must be addressed not later but right away. We should invest in irrigation of lands, farm to market roads, technologies, local dams/water catchments with the goal of being not only self-sufficient but a rice exporter by the 4th year of a Gordon Presidency. In the future, we should have a culture of preparedness and pride to enable us to engage the world.
It is also in this regard that we should maximize the opportunities brought about by the Tourism Law, and promote the creation of tourism economic zones with an infrastructure master plan. Let us remember that tourism can be the engine of growth that can propel our country and its people into the 21st century by generating investment, jobs and dollars while protecting and preserving with pride for our posterity our nation’s heritage.
Second, we can raise the quality of education for our young people so that they can fully compete in the world. This means better schools, better teachers, better laboratories and facilities and better instruction in the key sciences and technologies of the times. The vision is a quality population that will be key to national development propelling the country forward in the new Global Economy.
Third, we can keep the peace in our communities and ensure security for the nation. This is fundamental to building an enabling environment for the economy to grow and prosper. We can fortify peace and order through self-discipline, vigilance and respect for the rule of law. We must respect, understand and accept our brother Muslims to be able to end the conflict in Mindanao.
Instead of an all out war, a full court press on Mindanao—progress and development is what the South needs. Simultaneously, there is a need to clean up the military and to modernize our defense capabilities in addressing external threats. Thus, stronger relations with our historical allies and a deeper awareness and participation of the citizenry are necessary.
Fourth, we can embark on the modernization of infrastructure, taking into consideration the integration of disaster risk maps and land use planning, in our country. This means all necessary, stable and modern infrastructure that will serve the economy and attract investors long into the future. And that includes sufficient power at affordable cost. As the World Bank has put it, “Infrastructure is the wheel of development.” Without infrastructure you can get nowhere.
Fifth, we can expand the tax and revenue base of government so that we can finance more public investments and social programs. Our tax effort remains weak because of weakness and corruption in our revenue agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Customs. So one of my first acts if elected President will be to effect a major overhaul of these agencies, including enabling legislation to ensure reform. We will execute an efficient and effective budget reduction program: maximizing revenues and savings while at the same time minimizing waste and eliminating fraud and abuse.
Sixth, we can end public cynicism and distrust of government by installing a new culture of honesty and integrity in the public service—starting from the top and reaching to the lowest rungs of the bureaucracy. Leadership by example. Let us be honest about this. Corruption has worsened many times over during the past 20 years. What we need is not a change of men but a change in men, under a Gordon Presidency, the Filipino character will be caring, competent, competitive, courageous, united, liberal, honest, transformational, secure, sustainable and successful.
With effective government, we can aggressively compete in the world for more foreign investments, more tourism, more access for our exports, more markets for our services and human resources.
In the world we live in today, let us have no illusions that there is an easy way for a nation to become more competitive.
There is none.
Countries today are jockeying more fiercely than ever for the markets, technologies, skills, foreign investment, and distribution channels needed to grow their economies and raise their standard of living. Globalization has made the competition tougher.
But what is also an overwhelming reality now is that developing countries can effectively compete on virtually even terms with the advanced nations.
The example of China and India shows us how effectively emerging economies can compete and how fast they can grow if they have the will and the know-how.
It is in this light that I will espouse an aggressive competitiveness program for our country.
We will not just watch our Asian neighbors rise to the heights; we will rise and compete with them. We will compete for market share in the world economy. We will contest foreign investment and export sales through our businesses. We will pit our vast and skilled human resources with theirs. And an effective government will provide the institutional support for national competitiveness—from our school system to our farms and factories.
The point is: with vision and resolve, we can compete and we will catch up and even surpass other nations. Pagbabago. Sigurado.—Senator Richard Gordon
Comments on Gordon’s Policy and Plans:
Gordon speaks the same language I speak – personal responsibility, culture of excellence, breaking the oligarchy, efficiency, competitiveness.
And this is validated by independent observations on the transformation of Subic – not only by Filipinos but the international community.
CONCLUSION: Comparison of Positions and Plans on Economy – Aquino vs Gordon
Gordon has a plan to achieve his vision. Aquino has a dream – and no plans.
Gordon can say he has planned and successfully implemented an economic turnaround and changing the culture of the people in Subic. Aquino just promises change. Gordon has delivered.
When asked who can bring the home the bacon, and where’s the beef. Gordon has brought home the bacon and shown the beef – in a most ethical manner.