The past couple of days has seen the Philippines in a transition. After 10 years in the Presidency (four in Erap’s time, plus another six punctuated by “Hello Garci”), the devious stonewalling and sophistication of Pres. Gloria Macapagal gives way to the incompetence and witlessness of the incoming administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III. Even as the emo politics crowd is fawning over Noynoy, the stark realities of the challenges of governance sink in the list of “agendas” are getting longer. The bigger question is when the euphoria subsides is when will the finger pointing start and who will it point to? After all, victory has many fathers – and failure is a bastard.
One Last Call For Sophisticated Stone-Walling and Cunning
It is but natural that Arroyo, like any other leader, would like her legacy to be remembered by people. Whether one was shown the door via constitutional processes(Nixon, Johnson, Bush, Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Gloria Arroyo) or extra-constitutionally (Sadam Hussein, Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Estrada), “legacy” takes on a higher sense of urgency when one leaves the office in bad taste.
I have nothing against remembering legacy – if it is for real. There is the kind of legacy that one leaves and people remember as you having actually worked for it. Reagan’s legacy was bringing the Cold War to an end (the vacuum left by the Soviet Bear was rapidly filled by towelheads adept at asymmetric warfare); Bill Clinton’s legacy was globalization and free trade (APEC and NAFTA); FVR’s legacy was Liberalization of the Philippine economy; and Erap’s legacy was a book of Erapism jokes 🙂 The point being that – a leader’s legacy is dictated by the choices he/she actively made and pursued when he/she was at the wheel.
Arroyo’s legacy is a legacy of sophisticated stonewalling and cunning. I have to hand it to her – Philippine politics is a den of snakes – and she put them all in their place. Gloria was always 10 steps ahead in the game. Her detractors were always left with an empty bag. For all the loud talk on ZTE-NBN – no one has produced a smoking gun directly implicating Gloria or her spouse. People can have suspicions, and that’s okay. But when the suspicions are not proven by evidence beyond reasonable doubt – the adage is “if the glove does not fit, you must acquit”.
Gloria kept her cool at the height of the Jocjoc Bolante mess. And used everything within the law to exercise her executive prerogative. When this was questioned in the SC – some parts of her various positions on executive powers were rejected and some were upheld. If anything, that showed me that democracy was working and that constitutional processes were at work. Gloria essentially showed the Senate and Congress – she’s the Chief Executive and the line needs to be drawn. I am all for that.
But, there’s legacy as an endowment, a bequest. And there’s “legacy” – stuff that just happened while you were sleeping, eating, talking. It is within this context that I read Gloria’s recent pronouncements on her legacy – bringing the Philippines on the verge of First World status. In a recent address she made to the diplomatic corps during the 112th Independence Day Celebrations, the Inquirer (which is now shaping out to be Noynoy Aquino’s door mat along with its TV mouthpiece ABiaS-Completely Basura Network reminiscent of Ferdinand Marcos) wrote:
The country has come a long way from those tumultuous years, posting 35 quarters of growth against the “headwinds of a global recession,”
She said her government had put the Philippines on the map of call centers and business process outsourcing, “changed the Manila skyline with modern skyscrapers; brought development to the provinces; connected the nation from north to south, east to west; and delivered a modern election that will change the phase of politics in this nation forever.”
“We will leave a legacy of hard work, a strong and stable economy and renewed global engagement, major investments in health care, education and physical infrastructure”
“I know much work remains to be done, but I am determined to turn over to a new government a new Philippines, one that is ready for the challenges bringing the nation to the verge of First World [status] in 20 years,”
Hold it right there. The President’s speechwriters have been really pandering to the President this time. For a couple of reasons, here they are:
1 – The “Growth Despite Headwinds of Global Recession” Myth
The Philippines’ protectionist economy has not come a long way. Rather – the Philippines neighbors, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan – have come a long way. For instance – South Korea’s economy was so shot in the 1950s, the Philippines was next to Japan – forward a few decades, South Korea IS now First World status and just yesterday Arroyo was saying – “determined to turn over to a new government a new Philippines, one that is ready for the challenges bringing the nation to the verge of First World [status] in 20 years” – yeah, right.
Fact is – the Philippine economy is a bit out-of-touch with the global economy. Thus when the global economy tanked, it wasn’t affected much because it wasn’t in the playing even. In layman’s turns, the Philippines is a wallflower in the global economy. The Philippines is an insignificant economy thereby there is not much inflows and outflows into it – BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER the recession. It’s like saying – the Philippines football athletes are superior to FIFA finalist players when it wasn’t even in the playoffs. It does not make sense – but when you repeat it long enough, you start to believe the bullshit. 😆
2 – Put the Philippines on the map of call centers and business process outsourcing
Mar Roxas will disagree with Arroyo on this. Oh wait, Mar Roxas used to be Arroyo’s DTI Secretary. Kidding aside, the Philippine government stumbled into the BPO industry by accident. It was not out of a conscious and deliberate program to develop the industry. Rather, it was at the tail-end of the trends that drive the industry.
In 1997, Malaysia was trumpetting its Malaysian IT Super Corridor as an alternative to Silicon Valley before the dotcom bubble burst. At the same time, India was already providing grants to its students to get certification in the education programs that allowed Indians to grab the best employment opportunities. India was also inviting foreign IT schools to set up and operate schools in India (note: foreigners are not allowed to own schools in the Philippines by the Aquino constitution). What this did was to create a base of professionals around which the BPO industry grew. In contrast, Philippine schools are still stuck up in that bullshit about the conflict between “liberal education” and meeting the needs of the economy. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the emo activists and their “nationalistic and scientific education” – I wonder where they got their model, North Korea? 😯
On BPO Infrastructure – this means having the telecomm infrastructure, the power infrastructure vital to a knowledge-based information-centric industry. The Philippines has failed miserably on these grounds. The DSL services are lousy, the broadband services are priced ridiculously high, whaddya expect when you have a monopoly by PLDT. Look across to South Korea and its internet stats that make even the United States weep. 👿
Arroyo is not really in a position to brag. Rather she ought to be telling Noynoy that the competition is knocking at the door. And if he doesn’t shape up, the Philippines will be left in the dust again – the plans of becoming a First World country has just got pushed back to another 10 years – 2030! And just to prove my point, please view the UNCTAD presentation below:
The Philippines has a tendency to crow about and rest on its laurels and then remain complacent. It better think again, there is competition out there and unless it has its act together – the Philippines will be blown out of the map.
3 – Changed the Manila skyline with modern skyscrapers – and created more slums as well
It’s another of those this happened on my watch therefore I must have been responsible for it thingie. Very well then, let’s take this at face value. While it is true that Manila skyline had changed – so had its landscape. The face of poverty cannot be seen in skyscrapers – it is seen in the ghettoes and slums that dot our urban centers and rural areas, Manila is not the Philippines. ❗
As you can see, this is the kind of intellectual dishonesty which turns people off. The sadder thing is that the masses wind up getting the impression that all intellectuals are dishonest – thus causing the masses to vote for the likes of an Estrada or an Aquino. Sure they are not smart – but at least when they fumble, it will make a big bang. In contrast having smart people at the helm poses significant risks because they are smart – they will know the ins and outs, the loopholes, the technicalities. The point being that sure we don’t understand the details, but the big picture is you are doing something wrong but you are just being very smart about it. That pisses people off. And when people are pissed off – they will behave irrationally. 💡
4 -“Delivered a modern election that will change the phase of politics in this nation forever” (Fact check: Didn’t Gordon author that bill?)
This gets my goat so much so that I can add Monumental Bullshit to Arroyo’s Legacy. Sure she signed it into law. But how come she didn’t think about passing a bill similar to this when she was still a Senator? She is also taking credit for a job that was done by Senator Dick Gordon. 👿
Out of the frying pan and into the grill
On June 30, 2010 – the Philippine gets to say goodbye to Arroyo’s bullshit (but not for long – remember she has re-invented herself into a Congresswoman – that’s another story) – only to have Arroyo’s bullshit replaced with Aquino’s bullshit.
At the same Aquno’s toadeys are mustering up a list of alibis on why Aquino will not be able to do the job. WTF? You guys were warned that Aquino will not be able to do the job BEFORE the election. A person of sound mind and reason would have voted for someone who can do the job. What were you guys thinking when you voted for Aquino? Suddenly, it just dawned on people that – they did vote a turd into the Presidency. The voters are relieved from Gloria’s deviousness but Noynoy’s incompetence is now coming back to bite them. 😈
Apologists lining up to provide alibis for performance failures
Noynoy most recent cop-out has been “give me time to fix the government”. Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz said a mouthful:
Ligayen Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz agrees that Aquino is inheriting tough problems so he needs Cabinet members and advisers with an upright values system. “I’m sorry I have to say this but if I say otherwise I would be lying. I do not think he (Aquino) is very brilliant and therefore he really needs advisers with upright thinking whose values system is sound,” Cruz said in an interview with Bombo Radyo Dagupan.
He said Aquino has good intentions but he needs competence and character to achieve his goals.
“To me that’s a good beginning, the right intention and apparently he wants to straighten crooked ways happening in our country and I wish him well,” Cruz said. “ I’m trying to be as optimistic as possible. We have to give him the chance. Let’s hope we will go up. We cannot afford again to be business as usual.”
He was impressed, however, with Aquino’s first press conference after he was proclaimed the winner of the presidential race.
“But that’s only an interview, mere words. Let’s see in his first 100 days,” Cruz said. –
Archbishop Cruz, did you watch this video?
Better yet, have a refresher, watch a Gordon interview, watch and weep – Karen Davila gets Pwned by Gordon.
To all those who were talking about winnability and the lesser evil, Who really is the loser now? Tama na naman si Gordon, si Perlas, at ang Antipinoy.com.
Aquino’s list of gaffes is growing and it’s not July 1 yet. This will be a long six years. It’s not that you guys weren’t warned.
We didn’t vote for Aquino – YOU DID. And by golly, YOU, kabayan, will be remind of that – FOR THE NEXT SIX YEARS.
Unsolicited Advice Flying Left and Right
Whether it’s the business sector, the religious sector, the educational sector – agendas are flying all over town and straight to Malacañang Palace. What does that tell you – it signals that Noynoy still does not have an agenda, or if he has one, it is terribly unsuitable to the requirements of the situation on the ground.
So here’s an unsolicited advice to the Makati Business Club, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, the Management Association of the Philippines – you knew all along that Noynoy was not fit for the job, but you rolled the dice on “hope” and wind up pushing the Philippines closer to hopeless or even increasing the degree of hopelessness in this deity-forsaken country.
You broke it, you own it. Put up or shut up… FOR THE NEXT SIX YEARS.
There’s nothing about this situation that we haven’t said before.
The cycle of national karma repeats itself – the Philippine electorate is doomed to do so until it learns the lesson – pick the most competent and honest guy, and most of all – seek the truth, you will never lose. ❗