Noynoy Aquino cannot take all the credit for the Philippines’ economic gains

Can the Philippines Afford a Single Aquino Term in Office? This was the question posted by The World Post blogger, Daniel Wagner recently and a question a lot of Aquino supporters have been passing around lately. Not only is the question idiotic, it is also pointless. It is idiotic because it assumes that President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino is the only person out of 100 million people who has the capability to keep the country moving forward. It is pointless because the Philippine Constitution prohibits the incumbent President from seeking another term. Filipinos will have to spend billions of pesos to remove the term limit just to allow a mediocre President to run again. The thought of it is enough to make a lot of people shudder in disgust.

President BS Aquino created his own crisis to justify the DAP.
President BS Aquino created his own crisis to justify the DAP.
Most rational people know the answer to the question is a definite YES, the Philippines can afford a single Aquino term. In fact, considering the first Aquino Presidency also performed below average and even suffered a tumultuous term, Filipinos didn’t really need another Aquino as their President. There were better, more qualified and more statesman-like candidates who were vying for the Presidency during the 2010 Presidential Election. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a popular mother who passed away before the election so they didn’t get the majority of the sympathy votes.

One can’t help but wonder what Wagner’s agenda is about. He had no basis for promoting a second term for BS Aquino in his article. He simply cited the country’s notable GDP growth, which should not be credited solely to the current government. As Asia Editor of the Financial Times David Pilling mentioned in his previous article, improvement in economic fundamentals already started during former President Gloria Arroyo’s term and that some of the macro-economic improvements have been the fruit of policy changes outside BS Aquino’s administration, particularly at the central bank:

Much of what the government of President BS Aquino had achieved over the last four years is primarily attributable to Arroyo’s legacy…
In truth, some of the macro-economic improvements have been the fruit of policy changes outside his administration, particularly at the central bank. Although his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was deeply unpopular and accused of overseeing a corrupt administration, much of the improvement in economic fundamentals can be dated to her government.

Of course we can’t expect members of the media allied with BS Aquino to highlight that important information. They want to give all the credit to their patron saint and keep painting the previous administrator as “evil” – someone who did nothing good for the country.

As mentioned before, BS Aquino’s economic policy of government spending to stimulate growth is simply a continuation of the previous administration’s policy initiated in 2008 to “counteract” the effects of the Global Financial Crisis that ravaged global markets. BS Aquino however, had to use spending to stimulate the economy after he created his own crisis when he deliberately put on hold infrastructure projects the previous administration had initiated. The effect of his decision to stop the projects slowed the economy in 2011. That gave birth to the President’s unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP. PhilSTAR columnist Alex Magno summarized the gravity of what BS Aquino did in his previous article:

In order to pool mammoth amounts of “savings,” the Aquino administration cancelled infra projects wholesale. The Belgian-assisted dredging of Laguna de Bay, the French-assisted construction of modern ro-ro ports, the Chinese-assisted Northrail project, the rehabilitation of our airports, the Japanese assisted flood control and many others were arbitrarily junked. The massacre of major infra projects in 2010 and 2011 resulted in a sharp drop in our GDP growth rate in 2011.

All these were major infra projects. They might have broadened the asset base of our economy to underpin future growth. Their multiplier effects are massive.

The DAP mechanism converted economic investments into politically configured consumption. The money taken from infra projects was converted into pork barrel slush funds designed to strengthen the grip of the Liberal Party over our politics.

The profoundness of the crime committed cannot be overstated. It has substantially diminished the opportunities for sustainable growth of the next generation of Filipinos.

Sadly, only a handful of BS Aquino’s critics in the media highlight the gross incompetence in his neglecting the economic impact of putting projects on hold during his honeymoon period. In short, prior to his justification that the DAP “helped stimulate the economy” three years after putting government projects on hold, he was actually against spending or at least spending on projects initiated by GMA. Some consider his move vindictive. It is unfortunate that only a handful of people understand what really happened and how the DAP came about.

BS Aquino simply can’t take the credit for the country’s stable economy because it is being propped up by Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW). And the policy of sending workers abroad has been in place since the early 1970s, during the Marcos years. To quote David Pilling of the Financial Times again on the country’s economic growth:

Nor is growth being driven purely by policy. Very healthy levels of remittances from abroad and strong domestic demand mean the economy is shielded more than most from external shocks. The country, where half the population is 24 or under, is entering the sort of “demographic sweet spot” that saw other Asian nations prosper.

BS Aquino and his minions have a penchant for emphasizing only the good news from foreign media. When foreign media writes something good about BS Aquino, his minions are quick to quote the article. When it’s bad, they’ll say it is baseless. An example of this was when Malacanang Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr called a New York Times article “inappropriate”. This was after they published a scathing editorial and advised BS Aquino to uphold the Constitution, stop butting heads with the Supreme Court and gracefully step down when his term is up.

Hopefully, when BS Aquino steps down from office, he will bring patronage politics with him. It was during his term when the size of pork barrel funds and lump sum funds ballooned. Now that they have been declared unconstitutional, members of Congress will be forced to do some real work for a change.

Filipinos should consider it a good thing that they are not beholden to the possible Presidential candidates for 2016 Election. Since it won’t be another Aquino, they will not treat him like a saint and they won’t hesitate to impeach him.

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27 Comments on “Noynoy Aquino cannot take all the credit for the Philippines’ economic gains”

  1. That Wagner article isn’t much of an article as it left only the GDP to within the BS’ term to speak for itself, while failing to analyze the real situation in a more in depth analysis. He added some incomplete bits and pieces about how BS stands against corruption but also failed to site that he is part and parcel of one of the Philippines history’s greatest graft case. He also failed to say that poverty and unemployment is on the rise and that the Philippine economy is just mainly relying on export labor. In simple words, it is just an article made to make BSA3 look good despite the realities of the country.

    1. Well-said! People do know this but the mainstream media in the Philippines is hell-bent on “canonizing” him a “saint”. His presidency is in fact marred by violence: barely 2 months into office, there was the Luneta hostsge-taking which ended with scores of tourists dead, and he did not mind being seen with a wry smile on at the gruesome scene; then there was the massacre of 44 SAF heroes and more, which he could have prevented but cold-bloodedly did not; and the Yolanda victims who were deprived of the complete humanitarian relief sent from abroad, under his watch as self-appointed disaster czar- where did all the $donations and the imported canned goods go?…..etc.etc.

  2. Noynoy spent his whole life on cruise control. Never had to steer through crisis. Never had to worry about raising a family. He is your fair weathered friend. There for the good times but gone in the bad. Always there to take credit but will never accept blame. Always me, me, me, mine, mine, now. Do we expect a self entitled brat to act any differently??

    1. He never had any huge responsibility placed on his shoulders until the presidency which he treats like an arrogant teenager would who thinks he knows it all. He grew up with a silver spoon, privileged and little if any hard work, surrounded by alalays and katulongs, and as you said, never had experience raising a family nor had any meaningful relationships. He never made a name for himself and never had to strive and work hard for anything, instead riding on the coattails of his parents’ name and reputation.

      It’s not really surprising the way he takes criticism and blame. He reacts to them exactly as a self-entitled brat would just as you mentioned.

  3. When a government is headed by the least qualified person that is called kakistocracy. PNoy is one not a good president at all.

    A good president takes full accountability, has vision, track record of success, a true statesman, honest and effective communicator. He does not pass the blame to others but solve the problem and never grabs credit for the success of any given plan. PNoy is an awful president.

    Wagner says PNoy must seek one more term because our GDP is high.
    That is all crap. PNoy should have not became president in the first place more so to seek another term. Cory Charter prohibits a president to run for re-election.

    The Philippines cannot afford six more years of Aquino government of just blaming PGMA or SC, intensively institutionalized patronage politics and not reforming anything.

    PNoy‘s government is corrupt. His administration‘s inability to provide public service is very obvious.

    Wagner has no idea how stupid it is to think that the Philippines needs PNoy to stay longer as president. No way!

    1. Sadly, most filipinos don’t think/view things this way. Most just believe whatever the local bias media feed them. They like to believe in lies and pretend everything is ok. Sweep the problems under the rag. Out of sight, out of mind all is well.

  4. There are better barometers to measuring the economic health of a country than GDP figures alone. The problem with GDP is that it does not measure income inequality, income distribution, economic sustainability, poverty incidence, education, health, employment and standard of living. What benefit does GDP growth provide if most of that economic growth is enjoyed by the richest 10% of the population, and if most of that growth is centered on unsustainable ventures like real estate and consumerism funded by OFW remittances? The country barely makes anything, barely exploits its natural resources and has weak manufacturing, on top of a degrading infrastructure, increasing crime, environmental degradation, and lack of innovation due in part to the brain drain (per net emigration.

    There’s the country’s per capita income (both nominal and PPP) which, when compared to overall global rankings the Philippines places 124th and 130th respectively. This is GDP divided by a country’s total population and it is quite low in fact. In contrast, Malaysia has a per capita income (nominal) that ranks 61st in IMF rankings, while Singapore ranks 8th. Never have I heard it being mentioned anywhere in Philippine news media nor in any blog looking at the country’s economy with a superficial lens.

    But let’s not stop there. There’s also HDI (Human Development Index) that measures overall quality of life in a country. The Philippines ranks 117th, again quite low in international rankings.

    45% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, more than 25% of the population lives below the poverty line, and unemployment is around 7% (which does not count underemployment which stands at around 20% and 40% of those employed work in the informal sector).

    Other social barometers include infant mortality ranks 99 in the world, maternal mortality at 74, life expectancy at 134.

    Foreign direct investment is one of the lowest in Asia and is outpaced by remittances. Heck, we haven’t even started with education, sanitation, as well as transparency, ease of doing business and many more which the Philippines fares poorly in.

    If you take all of these factors into consideration, you’d see that GDP growth alone is a meaningless measurement of a country economic and social health.

    1. Looking at it from a ground perspective, whenever I look around I see a lot of construction projects going on, giving a false impression that the country is prospering. However most of the construction boom are real estate projects – hotels, condominiums, house and lot, and commercial areas – malls, supermarkets, convenience stores, and so on. But this sort of growth is unsustainable. You can only have so much real estate to meet the demand. What happens when that demand dries up? What happens when people are unable to pay their mortgages? Remittances can’t remain constant forever. There would be a lot of empty houses and condos, construction will stop, the economy will contract and there’d be a lot more jobless and homeless people. This will to unrest, and at the worst, upheaval.

      You don’t base an entire economy that creates little and relies on remittances to fund consumer demand for goods made elsewhere. Not mention, so many people are employed in the informal sector; think fishball vendors, dispatchers, tricycle drivers, ukay-ukays etc. If you want a sustainable economy, give these people jobs in manufacturing. Agriculture is also in such a sorry state here in the Philippines that an average farmer earns not more than Php 23,000 per annum. No wonder the former US ambassador to the Philippines regarded the Philippines a basketcase economy as revealed through diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.

  5. The dictator BS Aquino III has a laid back personality. The last SONA of BSA revealed deception and black propaganda lies intended to manipulate the minds of the gullible and the ignorant. Many of those watching the SONA saw through the window dressing and the lies. Many others thought that the “accomplishment report” that is the SONA is the accomplishment of BSA. The rising unemployment, cost of living, poverty, rising criminality and corruption are just the tip of the iceberg. Add the manipulated surveys and you have a false picture of what is really happening. The economy is not even improving as it should!

    1. Why would anyone want to atke credit for anything in that sorry-as-shit hell-hole ? Let him have it, everyone knows the country has gone down the crapper and the people are poor as shit !

    2. You tell me that I do not respect others opinion’s. But when someone disagree’s with you , WHAT HAPPENS?

      Hypocrit much?

      U know, the Philippines has a lot to offer its people and if the people could only realize what they need to do, then actually do it, the country and its citizens could prosper.The current situation is designed to rape the citizens and the resources the country posses’s.

      When you all figure it out, just maybe hope it is not too late.But then, it probably already is.How to correct such a mess is a multi-generational task.Sadly,Filipino’s are devoid of forward thinking and are not up to the task.

      It really is too bad.While reading op-ed columns in the countries newspapers, its obvious and points to a really confused population.Divided and conquered.Game over.

  6. Aquino has now hired foreign Disinformation Agents, to sing praises to him. And, the local YellowTards are quick to point out these false and idiotic blogs as truth.

    How can a foreigner know about the true condition in the Philippines? He just have to visit those living around the Garbage Dumps, and in the Squatters area. And his GDP claims will vanish like Bubbles.

    Aquino wants to become a Dictator. He bought Congress and the Senate with Pork Barrels. He stole Public Funds thru DAP, PDAF, etc.. he is like a Kleptomaniac. He enjoys stealing. He has also Depression and suffering from Delusion of Grandeur…

    1. The Republic of the Philippines = FAILED STATE/KLEPTOCRACY/SHIT-HOLE MESS. The country is up there with Bangladesh as most horrible avg. living conditions/per capita and is nothing to take credit for. The guy is on cheep drugs if he wants to take credit for the state of the failed state.

    2. True, hongkong’s South China Morning post has Raisa Robles’ article on misuari and noynoy, blaming past presidents– except cory and pnoy of course; the Sunday Examiner /Mabuhay Catholic newsletter of hongkong also runs the propaganda of the “asian comnmission on human rights full page runnnig the karapatan flyers on General palparan calling him a butcher. even the associated press articles on general palparan is littering the internet with notes: “comments disabled”

  7. Macro economics aside, the steep rise in electricity prices, food, and transportation costs have hit myself and my friends HARD. The 2000p I used to spend in the grocery store before Aquino; now costs 5000p.

    1. It’s hitting me (or rather my pockets) hard as well. Besides the price increase of commodities and consumer goods, utility costs are also rising. This is compounded by stagnant incomes. Incomes aren’t rising fast enough in proportion to rising expenses.

      1. The Philippines electricity rates are the highest in the world by about 30%, compared to rates in the USA/EU. The Filipino’s who run the system that charges these extortionate rates learned from the ENRON scandal in the USA, all about how to run rates up to the sky thru energy speculation, (it is illegal now in the USA) and these speculators who are raping the Filippine people are Filipino’s employed by the GOCC’s that run the electricity industry in the country. These people are the biggest scumbags on the face of the earth as they are putting struggling Filipino garment manufacturer’s out of business because other SE Asian textlie manufacturers that pay much less in energy rates to produce their garments.So in effect these energy speculating SCUMABG’S are killing their own people’s livelihoods and do not give a good shit that they are.In fact, they are laughing about it on ABS/CBN.The Creepy fucks!Corrupt politicians are nothing compared to the corruption in the GOCC’s.That is where the big big biggest bucks are being skimmed.
        The FILIPINO is like the Tiger: HOW? They eat their young!

    1. As usual, your attempts to troll here falls flat on its face.
      You don’t have anything new to post do you? or has it occurred to you that your piss poor propaganda is already dead the moment you post it here.

      Go get a REAL JOB and get a LIFE.

  8. Just let pnoy savor the glory in the waning days of his presidency. then let justice take its course. to the winners belong the spoils of war.

  9. The current state of the economy has nothing to do with gloria or noynoy. Global situation has brought record low interest rates to this country and with it the greatest speculative period ever. Now, the geatest bust will follow. Give it 18 to 24 months. The cause, a return to ‘normal’ aka high local rates. It’s a house of cards this country.

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