Will the year 2014 be a good year for the Philippines?

Are we ready for the new year ahead? On the bases of the Facebook shout outs and Twitter tweets I have seen today it seems we are. We are ready with our New Year’s “resolutions”, our 12-month weight loss plans, our commitments to spend less and save more, spend more time with the kids, and promises to call our folks more frequently. We have promised ourselves to aspire to achieve more — run the extra kilometre, lift the extra pound, work the extra hour, make the extra peso, pray the extra rosary bead, take the extra holiday, and date the extra chick.

calvin-and-hobbes-New-Years-ResolutionYes indeed. The year ahead is full of promise. Good things come to good people, as the old theory of fairness goes. We think of ourselves as good and therefore feel entitled to all the goodness the world has to offer.

You’d think then that the Philippines as a whole is entitled to all the same good and blessed things. Filipinos pride themselves in being a country of hard-working and well-educated people. We are also a “democratic” country where people are free to select their leaders. It is a society where “human rights” are upheld as sacrosanct and where universal social justice is a priority aspiration.

That collective self-perception Filipinos harbour is supposedly embodied by the current Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III. He carries an illustrious pedigree — the only son of national “heroes” Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr and former President Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco-Aquino — and, unlike many of his power-hungry predecessors, supposedly took the challenge to lead the nation reluctantly on the back of a purported massive clamor for him to step up to claim his birthright.

With all that going for the Philippines and its people, how can it go wrong?

The fact is, the Philippines is a nation that’s gone horribly wrong.

Presidential slush fund: beyond the reach of auditors
Presidential slush fund: beyond the reach of auditors
Philippine society remains within the grip of an unprecedented corruption scandal that has implicated pretty much all the key officers of the legislative and executive branches of the government. With everyone implicated, the Filipino is left with no one to turn to for justice — except, who else, their government’s judiciary branch. In the hands of the country’s Supreme Court rests the fate of the president’s personal slush fund, his “Disbursement Acceleration Program” allocation, one allegedly used to “motivate” Philippine Senators sitting as “judges” in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 to issue the preferred verdict.

That such an important decision that affects the fortunes of millions of Filipinos now rests in the hands of a body of government whose officers are selected on the basis of skill and experience and not popularity as is the basis for the ascent of key officials in the executive and legislative branches is an indictment of the notion that democracy has served the Filipino well.

Bodies of Haiyan victims rotting under the tropical sun
Bodies of Haiyan victims rotting under the tropical sun
On that note we turn to the plight of the victims of the devastation wrought by super-typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda) in November that left (as of last count) more than 6,000 dead and almost 2,000 missing. What have these people done to deserve this suffering? Nothing, other than to be born in a country socially, financially, politically, and militarily ill-equipped to help them and in a region of that country that was to be hit by the most powerful tropical storm stirred upon the face of the planet in written history. To date, there are reportedly about 1,400 bodies that remain unburied almost two months after the disaster struck.

And then there is the challenge the country currently faces in standing up to the Chinese military threat at its frontier islands. The self-respect of the country is at stake and managing the way this diplomatic crisis is handled is crucial lest the country be plunged into a war it cannot win alone or be forced to retreat, tail between legs, from its claims. Complicating this is the manner with which the Philippine government counts on the support of its key ally and former colonial master, the United States, considering the arrogance a bunch of Philippine Senators exhibited just a bit over 20 years ago kicking the US military out of massive facilities it built in Subic Bay and Clark Field (as well as other small outposts all over the country).

How then will 2014 pan out for the Philippines given these monumental challenges it faces — a vast humanitarian crisis in its central region, crises of confidence infecting two of its three pillars of government, and a military threat that can be successfully met only if a complicated relationship with a powerful ally could be resolved while saving face?

Crown jewels of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan at stake: Hacienda Luisita
Crown jewels of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan at stake: Hacienda Luisita
One will first have to consider the question of how all these priority issues will be addressed given that 2014 is the year that the subjection of the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan’s crown jewel, the sprawling Hacienda Luisita, to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) meets its deadest deadline. With the primary mission of the Second Aquino Administration to save the family jewels at its Eleventh Hour, President BS Aquino is in a bind. How can he save the Philippines and the Hacienda given that the game’s last two minutes have been called?

Fortunately for many of us, making our New Year’s resolution list is not as challenging as the one that President BS Aquino needs to make.

Surely, 2014 will see its share of deadly storms, will be marked by the same old vacuous debates over buckets of money that are all but invisible to the auditors, and will be full of lament over the pathetic equipment of the country’s armed forces. What is President BS Aquino’s plan to score some real achievements this year for a change? What makes us think that in the coming year we will be safe from another storm, won’t be stolen blind by our elected officials, and can face an external foe in the battlefield like true patriots?

Back to the old saying: Good things come to good people. The hard question we need to face as a people is thus:

Are Filipinos a good people?

As always, we are encouraged to abide by that familiar recommendation routinely issued by our esteemed thought leaders:

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

[Photo of Migrante placards and Haiyan unburied bodies courtesy Bulatlat, and Australia News Network respectively.]

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20 Comments on “Will the year 2014 be a good year for the Philippines?”

  1. To your last question. It’s a good thing that the word good is not synonymous with discriminating otherwise Filipinos won’t ever see anything good.

  2. If you are a Pessimist; you would see the glass half full. If you are an Optimist; you would see the glass half empty. If you are Delusional, and forgot to take your anti-psychotic medications; you would see the glass overflowing; as most of the YellowTards do see it.

    This year, 2014, will be a continuation of the year, 2013. More political zarzuelas will come from the stupid political leaders. More natural calamities will come. From which, on every calamity. Mr. Aquino will go to his Hiding Hole, with his tail between his legs. Perhaps, Mr. Roxas will pose for photo with two (2) bags of onions on his shoulders, and will direct traffic in Metro Manila. Mr. Binay (Do ya know me?) will continue to bully people. Porky Drillon will continue to gain more weight. Even if, his Pork Barrel is taken away from him.

    I don’t have confidence with the Supreme Court.Unless, they can show us, they are thinking independently. And not a Rubber Stamp, of Mr. Aquino. Hacienda Luisita land reform is the testing ground, for them…to see, is to believe…

    The Enrile-Santiago quarrel will continue. Even to the extent of peeping on each other, when one goes to the restroom. Mr. Enrile will produce documents showing, how stupid, Mrs. Santiago is. The Kleptocrat, Mr. Estrada will continue to plunder; at lower level. He is the Mayor of Manila.

    Oh…I think my Crystal Ball needs cleaning….

  3. Honestly, it’s all going to be the same. Nothing will change this year… unless the Philippines prove me wrong. Otherwise, I don’t see change or progression any time soon.

  4. Depends on how you define a ‘good year’. We Filipinos tend to set the bar really low, like is a 1% GDP growth good? its not negative so it must be good right? For me, I’ll be happy just to see one of those senators put away for this Napoles scandal.

    1. Your president certainly did a shitty job in handling yolanda or have you already forgotten that?
      Your president has already been revealed as incompetent to the whole world.
      2014 will be a tough year for your boss since his propaganda is no longer believable.

  5. I guess it depends on how many beauty pageants the Philippines can win and how many people Manny can knock out. Those seem to be the main metrics when measuring Philippine success.

  6. Wow someone’s totally butthurt.
    We can tell because he’s using that language for retards, jejemon.

    Wag ka ang umasa na mawawala kami kasi mga katulad mong bobo ang nagpapasira sa bayan natin. Wala ka long sigurong trabaho kaya ganyan ang asal mo na tulad sa isang squatter.

  7. Unless a real miracle happens nothing will change for the better. The yellow dictatorship of BS Aquino will continue its evil quest in trying to gain total control of the government. The blame games, black propaganda lies, manipulated surveys and BS will still be used against perceived enemies, the uneducated and gullible people of this country. Corruption will still prevail over the yellow government. The dictator should be aware that all of the people cannot be fooled all of the time. Once the people are fed up… BS Aquino and his incompetent student council could end up leaving the corridors of power or ending up charged with criminal cases in the event of a people power uprising. I still say the worst is yet to come! Down with the BS Aquino student council!!! Resign!!! Wala nang matuwid na daan! Baliw na daan ang tunay na nanaig noong simula pa ni BS Aquino. Gumising na kayo mga kababayan! Wake up before it is too late!

  8. If I were you, I’d just try and find a way to legally migrate to someplace where you and your children can have better opportunities.

    Fuck the Philippines.

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