It is not Noynoy Aquino’s fault that the Philippines is the worst place to do business in

The “shocking” news that the Philippines is actually one of the worst countries in Asia to do business in continues to reverberate among the chattering classes. Yes, personally I’m still getting over the “shock” of such a revelation. It made me re-think investing my personal fortune in a country where the only thing that I’d consider to be truly consistent over the last several decades is in how the national “debates” had remained “droll and unintelligent, focused on the trivial or the irrelevant“. Speaking of which, that seminal turn-of-the-century article based on the observations of an “admired Filipino economist, based in New York” nailed key aspects of things about Da Pinoy that dooms her to a long future of chronic economic mediocrity.

Intellectual bankruptcy

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Before we address our financial bankruptcy, we need to address our collective intellectual bankruptcy. While Filipinos made much of their national wealth from shaving off the hair from what is now a largely bald landscape (and then doing a wax job to pick off the roots as well) we are now living off the principal of that archipelagic rape. So the clock is ticking. Unless we become more clever at building an economy that is based less on raking in vegetation and minerals and shipping these off in dinky freighters and more on leveraging ideas and living off royalties for life, we will dip more and more into that other resource we are top-notch at manufacturing in scandalous numbers — people.

But then is there hope along this strategic line?

Intellectual bankruptcy includes inability of our bright boys to come up with the correct formula for solving our economic crisis for many, many years now. The bright boys of our neighbors had recaptured their tigerhood in no time at all. Here’s no center to our economic planning. For instance, our experts still have to recognize mass unemployment as the most afflicting and dehumanizing of our problems, translating into, among other things, the lack of purchasing power of the people and hence making it illogical for producers and investors to set up new factories or increase production when nobody is buying.

Nor have we researched on the latest thinking among UN planners: “The defect even in IMF development programs is the setting up of projects that enrich only a few and don’t focus on job-creation. The most effective way of fighting poverty is with jobs. Mass low-cost housing, a million a year, by Japanese firms using their surplus steel and materials, BOT, 30 years to pay, 3 years grace period addresses dramatically unemployment. Even squatters can afford P1,200 monthly amortization, 30 years term.

What hope is there when even the brightest of our “expert” “economists” come up with the lamest and most damaging of economic brainwaves. Indeed, the wasteland that is our ill-thought-out export-processing orgy is now a rustbelt that dots the landscape, where the only viable industrial venture involves the manufacture of tennis balls for export to the world’s country clubs.

But then is it really because our technocrats suck at being technocrats? Think again…

Lack of seriousness

There’s a weird culture in our midst: our jocular regard for our national problems, great crimes, villainous scams and calamities. Note that Filipinos are notorious for making fun, creating a joke of their misfortunes. The cellulars are full of them now. In other countries inhabited by serious and sensitive people, they mount crusades, indignation rallies or nationwide relief campaigns to meet such crises. They would weep or stomp their feet, or explode in anger, or demand punishment for the criminals or misfits. Here we tend to laugh at scams, crimes and natural calamities, as if they are part of the usual TV noon comedy shows, the Pinoy’s daily diet.

It’s The People, stupid. People make economies and minds make the people that make said economies. What is the nature of the mind of Da Pinoy? The answer to that question, sadly, is ALL of what is in that short paragraph above. The smallness of the above paragraph reflects the smallness of the Filipino mind — one that focuses on the small, the trivial, the irrelevant, the political.

Too much politics

Indeed, when this whole “shocking” news of our place as the pear-shaped girl with the man-hands in a world of tall, thin and leggy economic supermodels, politics was the choice of discourse of our “honourable” politicians…

LAWMAKERS on Thursday took the Aquino administration to task for failing to create an environment conducive to investments, after an international poll ranked the Philippines as the worst country in Asia to do business.

Perhaps. But if anyone hadn’t noticed yet, our track record of economic basketcasery goes back decades — centuries even, as the man Jose Rizal himself would attest to when he observed how glaringly indolent Filipinos tend to be.

Why the lack of motivation? Perhaps we do need a good ass-kicking — something many Chinese merchants probably had to resort to to relieve the endless frustration they must have experienced employing the local labour force to do the simplest tasks.

Too much arrogance

Thing is, we did get our shot to do a bit of our own ass-kicking. Trouble is, the newly-empowered Filipino boot ended up the ass of the nearest perceived scapegoat…

Up to this day we lose money daily needlessly from the decision to oust the bases: Everyday we spend millions for years now to patrol China Sea near Spratlys. The US Fleet, partly based in Subic, used to do it for us for free. Now we are negotiating to get billions’ worth of naval ships and helicopters and planes to convince the Chinese we mean business in Spratlys. In the first place, the Chinese would never have thought of loitering to the Spratlys if the US military bases were still here.

Take note, this was all written back in the olden days — back in the year 2000. The year now is 2011. Eleven years is a long enough time to learn a few lessons. Unfortunately, Filipinos were too busy quibbling about the thievery and cheating of their presidents and politicians whom they themselves had elected in spectacular orgies of stupidity (which we call “elections”) over the last eleven years.

Lack of common decency

So here we are, yet again, huffing and puffing about how much we are ignored by the world’s suits despite how wide we spread our legs before them.

If I didn’t enjoy writing about stuff like this so much, I’d say this is all just a bit too tiring. But then I should talk, considering that it is not me who has to piss away four hours of my life in Manila’s traffic every day or make do with inferior products and services and be made to pay for these at rates that would outrage even residents of some of the world’s most glamourous and expensive cities. I don’t have to sit back and watch helplessly as a starstruck population go on to elect a boxer or a screaming colegiala for their president or further populate their exhausted land with another generation of half-parented jejemon-speaking load-soliciting, chicharon-chomping, Filipinos whose idea of an investment strategy is buying a lottery ticket or stampeding the next Willie Revillame extravaganza.

At least some job seekers still show up for a job interview in a nice shirt and tie with shined leather shoes. Perhaps the Philippines should take a few lessones from such folk and get back to the basics. Perhaps we should try to put ourselves in the shoes of men who’ve got money to spend and invest and ask:

What would such men think of a nation that writes lies and half-truths on its CV and presents itself as if employment and investments are things the world owe it?

Maybe all this wailing and gnashing of teeth in the face of the Truth about our dismal place in the hierarchy of the world’s financial hotties is an emotional smokescreen we have become addicted to because it obscures the simple path towards economic prosperity that we refuse to take.

20 Replies to “It is not Noynoy Aquino’s fault that the Philippines is the worst place to do business in”

  1. We were misled to buy a product that promises to relieve or cure our ills as a nation. But it is now turning out that beneath those wraps is a product we knew all along but still blindly invested in it that it never had any proven or approved therapeutic claims.

  2. Si Gloria ang totoong may kasalanan. Ninakaw na lahat ng pondo ng bayan kaya barya na lang ang natitira sa mamamayan. Pinalaganap ang korupSYOn para sa kanyang kapinabangan at lal0ng lumpuhin ang Pilipinas. Buti at natapos na ang kanyang kasamaan, at muli tay0ng binabang0n ni Tito Noy mula sa khrapan

    1. Seriously? It’s not her fault.

      It’s the abomination that is the 1987 Constitution. Wow, you’re a demonically deluded, man. Totoo iyon. 😛

    2. “muli tay0ng binabang0n ni Tito Noy mula sa khrapan”

      Could be more exact as to how ur Tito Noy is doing what ur saying? Enlighten us please.

      What is he doing exactly? And how does this things make the Philippines a place lucrative for business investors?

      Vincenzo, please answer.

    3. Parang parrot ka lang. Wala na kong nabasa sa iyo na matino. There is never any real substance in your comments. I had to stop lurking just to say this to you.


      Filipinos are too mired in bread and circuses to even care about changing. I still have hope for this country, that this country will change for the better in the future, but I don’t have hope that it will have any meaningful change any time soon. By the time the Philippines becomes a first world country, all its neighbors will already be first world, and the whole mass of miscreants will once again celebrate its mediocrity at having achieved first world status even though its already very late when it will have done so.

    4. at muli tay0ng binabang0n ni Tito Noy mula sa khrapan

      Lalo ngang naghihirap ang bansa. Lalong lumalaki and bilang ng walang trabaho habang nagtataasan ang presyo ng mga bilihin, lalong lumalala ang krimen at gulo, at ang nakikinabang lang ay yun mga sipsip sa administrasyon.

      Puro lang palabas at kayabangan mapapala mo dyan kay AbNoynoy. Bakit pa ba tayo nagtitiis dyan?

      Tama na nga yung drama nila AbNoyNoy admin. Peke naman sila.

    5. I disagree. The culture within our political system is what is at fault. The culture of Filipinos from the past and at present is what’s keeping our country in the pits. Please try to think outside your box.

  3. Excellent article, benign0. Given that the Philippines has been like this for so long, people need to realize that the problems transcend the personalities.

    Emphasis on “transcend the personalities.” Got that, Vincenzo? Don’t think you did, though.

  4. It’s Noynoy Aquino’s fault that we are in this economic hardship…First , his family got all the good agricultural lands in Tarlac; made the people of Tarlac, his tenants/serfs…then, his family and relatives, with fellow Oligarchs monopolized businesses/industries…These are covered up by the Lopez Media- a source of disinformation and brainwashing. That made a bunch of YellowTards Robots/Clones…We then become a Wowoowee people…
    In our apathy and part Indolence…we let these things happen, and now, we are complainign about it…

    1. I hate Manuel Quezon- don’t ask. Gee, talk about rather being led by ‘hell’ among incompetent, weak-minded leaders than being led in ‘heaven’ (haha how naive he was) by the Americans, who, in contrast to the Spaniards, actually have provided us foundational education and values during that time when our society was completely direction-less. He was pro-Spanish, anyway.
      All who have shared his mentality project the same incompetence and weak-mindedness, and masquerade them in arrogance and/ or pseudo confidence. He doesn’t deserve the recognition he gets in our history books. Cannot believe no one calls him out for being traitorious in the process of ‘liberating’ us from US rule. The tool left the country with the Americans to US (haha the land of ‘heaven’)and died peacefully whilst others defended their way against the occupying Japanese forces.

      He was a true inspiring leader where even his famous quote still resonates among the psyches of our leaders today.

  5. How it really bothers me when I read things about us in the internet on how we are the happiest folks, most hospitable blah blah…I just can’t stomach the rubbish. It’s just really depressing when we lie to ourselves as if it’s a sign that we are progressing/ getting there. P-Noy’s ‘smiles’ bother me so much it’s like watching a Stephen King horror.

    The revulsion I get whenever I catch the news about the deteriorating Manila (and now I’m afraid in other once peaceful provinces here too). And what’s with people insisting that we love to smile even in the midst of great crises (note Ondoy flash floods and such)?? I tell myself to be patient with these people who dwell in ignorance, but all the same, it’s depressing me.

    The rubbish I see in every nook and corner all except the malls and my house makes me burst out and call out people out there who I know do this all the time. And yet they extol nation pride? Just depressing.

    1. That’s what we call *misplaced pride*.

      Next time you hear someone shout out “proud to be Pinoy!”, ask that person the simple question:

      Proud of what specifically?

      1. I guess we can cite George Carlin’s statement about Irish pride:

        “Being an Irish is not [I forgot the flattering adjective he used.]
        It’s a fucking genetic accident.”

  6. I think a very small number of Filipinos read because, maybe they are not interested to read thought provoking comments.
    One more reason is, maybe they do not comprehend the vocabularies used.

    Sorry. I’m not belittling the Filipinos. So ashamed of knowing, the Philippines is the worst place to do business in.

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