Financial Times Editor David Pilling confirms Philippine economy grew on back of Arroyo’s legacy


Where are we now? No one knows. We don’t know whether we are coming or going or how far we are in our journey to whatever was promised to the Filipino during President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III’s campaign. All we know for sure is that four years have passed since we elected ourselves a new president. Beyond that there is no way of knowing how much has been achieved (a) relative to an initial baseline and (b) relative to an aspired-for target.

"It's the economy, student!" - former President Gloria Arroyo

“It’s the economy, student!”
– former President Gloria Arroyo

In other words, President BS Aquino: Where is the plan?

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How can you presume to lead if there is no goal to lead us to?

How can you presume to report to us if there is no baseline to report against?

How can you presume to take accountability when there are no specific initiatives defined as included in your reform agenda?

Without a plan:

(1) one cannot motivate;

(2) one cannot measure progress; and,

(3) one cannot take credit.

Perhaps, Mr President, not doing any of the above is your plan for your 2010-2016 government.

Seems the day of reckoning is arriving for the Second Aquino Presidency. The issue of whether or not the trumpeted economic gains we have been seeing supposedly under the “watch” of President BS Aquino are his to take credit for remains debatable. It seems that when Aquino crowed that all these were achieved under his “watch”, he was really taking himself quite literally — he literally just sat back and watched while the groundwork laid by his predecessor former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivering results.

David Pilling, Asia Editor of the Financial Times in his blog post Philippines: assessing the ‘key man’ risk raises the question of what happens after Aquino’s term ends in 2016. Pilling makes two assertions that bring to question Aquino’s place in history:

(1) 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.

(2) Circumstance, perhaps more than policy, has driven economic growth…

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.

While such pieces of insight are nothing new to people who apply a critical mind to evaluate facts rather than simply drink the political Kool Aid, it is only now that we are seeing more and more of the idea that Arroyo may, in fact, have made unpopular decisions that are now bearing fruit going mainstream.

Indeed, Arroyo herself, in her treatise on the subject of her contribution to nation building as President from 2001 through to 2010, has exhibited the grace to acknowledge the contributions of her own peers in history to put her achievements in proper perspective…

No amount of black propaganda can erase the tangible improvements enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of families liberated from want during my decade at the helm of the nation. But these accomplishments have simply been part of the continuum of history. The gains I achieved were built on the efforts of previous leaders. Each successive government must build on the successes and progress of the previous ones: advance the programs that work, leave behind those that don’t.

Arroyo remains incarcerated despite the inability of the Aquino government to prove wrongdoing on her part.

Arroyo remains incarcerated despite the inability of the Aquino government to prove wrongdoing on her part.

In contrast, President BS Aquino is anything but gracious. The main singular feature of his presidency is a continuous and rabidly monomanic effort to villify his predecessor, and claim all that is supposedly being achieved collectively by Filipinos today as outcomes of his government alone.

It’s easy, though, when you never had a plan much more a vision for the country to begin with. You merely only need latch on to whatever good fortune comes around the corner and spin tales about how that good fortune was the outcome of your wise “leadership”.

37 Replies to “Financial Times Editor David Pilling confirms Philippine economy grew on back of Arroyo’s legacy”

  1. Aquino has no plans for the country…he cannot understand planning…

    He can grab credit from other people’s work. so, why plan…

  2. Aquino’s plan is also to be vindictive to his political opponents. To engage in political zarzuelas to divert the minds of people.

    He plannned also to impeach CJ Corona. And to steal from the National Treasury thru DAP Funds. Together with Abad; they made this plan.

    1. it is not only Aquino’s way. It seems to be the way the political circus runs in the RP.E-Rap to Arroyo to Aquino…all thieves, none really punished for their crimes and no funds returned to the people.

      Ask anyone outside the RP if they believe anything a Filipino politician(and sadly a Filipino) says…go ahead.

  3. Nothing happens over night. It takes years till changes are reflected in the numbers. Anyone who thinks this was Aquinos doing is a feeble minded moron.

  4. ‘incarcerated’, ha! GMA is just as big a thief as any of them, Aquino included….and she is not ‘incarcerated’,NO she is not.
    Has anyone even seen if she is even in that hospital 24/7? Rumors of windowless ambulances leaving at 8:15P.M. nightly from the bldg. suggest otherwise. The ‘little girl ‘ even tried to leave the country to avoid prosecution.This under the guise of ‘life threatening’ medical treatment was needed. and yet she is still alive years later.Has anyone seen the X-Rays that would prove the surgeries she has allegedly had? I did not think so…

    The only thig that stopped GMA’s husband, the alleged 1st ‘Gentleman’, from going to jail for selling used helicopters to the people and labelling them as new was the lack of a signature. They were his helicopters, he used them, and he fuckin sold them as new. Then he put the proceeds in his pocket and flicked the bird at all Filipino’s.His wife emptied all funds she could empty into her pockets before she left office…and it was all ‘legal’!

    PLEASE. In defending any of these thieves, it is to be just as bad as they are.

    Bald faced lying thieving scumbags.They give the country a bad name/reputation.Is it any wonder that in S.E.Asia Filipino’s are regarded as scam artists? it is a reflection of their leaders, rightly or wrongly, plastered onto the countries citizens.

    1. If that’s true maybe you can explain what she is guilty of as nobody else seems to of managed too . Corruption is not something proven by a television constantly using the word corrupt next to her name. Show me the proof but you cant because its all invention and you don’t even know what she is supposed to be guilty of Thomas. Your just being sheep like the rest of these foolish people who cant think for themselves.

      1. AGREED! PNOYS’admin very selectively chooses who to out the dirt on.

        If they have very strong evidence as they always claim, why can’t they convict PGMA after all these years?

        Last XMAS 2014 she had a 4 day furlough due to lack of strong evidence.

        Those meme on facebook with PNOYS’ face saying “Kasalanan ko nanaman?” is not accurate.

        it should have PGMAS’ face instead because nothing is PNOYS’ fault anyway right?

      2. I believe you have a point. Media sometimes show what they want the public to see. It a powerful tool by the way… when the world was on crisis, our economy was spared, thanks to her strategy. Even looking forward to a railway system which will link the whole archipelago so as to see as local tourist our own country… I still believe we can, and we will.

    2. Thomas sorry but most of what you have claimed is nonsense simple as that. Very bad minded person you are. She is ill that’s obvious and for you to cast doubt on that without cause says something very unpleasant about you. Bone mineral disease Thomas and yes the records are there and i have no idea why your so bad minded and ill inside. I have proof your ill just by reading your post. Anyway baaaaa and sheep is the key words here.

      1. If she isn’t corrupt and E-Rap is corrupt, then why they HELL did she pardon him? This makes her as corrupt as him in this instance. Don’t tell me you need reasons for E-Rap’s corruption. Heck his kids steal money to this day.

        1. Pardoning Erap was one of their options for their future political strategy also as leverage as to if Erap running again for president succeeded, she could get a return the favor treatment thing. Because her camp was so certain that by all means the military and the people will send her to jail because of all her wrongdoings during her terms as president.

    3. If you are accusing her of any act of thievery then prove it first! Seems like you’re better than any court of law, and you talk like an ordinary TRAPO who’s very good at vilifying anyone who they don’t like!

  5. GMA had a good head for policy, though it was in many ways negated by her incredibly toxic politics. This remains a very silly article. Economic progress is a long term effort that requires sustained effort over multiple administrations. Continuing it and not discarding good policy juist because it’s associated with a predecessor (an old Philippine habit) is just as important as starting it. Retaining useful policies and building on them deserve as much credit as designing them in the first place. That base will require (but may not receive) continuity and refinement from many succeeding administrations, trying to assign credit exclusively to one is not very bright. As usual with this site, they’re just playing shallow politics with very little real thought.

    1. You’re right, Steve. Glad to see someone like you still digs deep and really sees the whole plot. This site like so many others are mainly biased to the opinion of “Anti P-Noy” and not “Anti Corrupt”(politician or not).

      To be clear, I am not pro Aquino. I’m just an ordinary citizen who is “Pro country” and “Pro People”.

      They say Aquino is just credit grabbing from other politician’s works. What if he didn’t continue GMA’s project even though it was a priority project? He could simply do that. What would they report back right now if that were the case, that he didn’t do anything? I’ve seen several politicians in my locality do it. They don’t follow up from the previous post’s projects even though it was a big necessity to the people.

      People don’t have to praise PNoy for this job done. Just don’t go on whining like a pussy for every action he does just so you could make another headline. Clearly he is an idiot but please don’t also try to be one.

      Seems like this site even wants to kiss GMA’s ass as if she were a saint. People easily seem to forget the 9 years of hell the economy went through in her time. Numerous scandals and issues. Dollar versus peso clearly out of proportion,the rice production issues, Hello Garci, and many more. And not one of you complained as much as today. Maybe you were too young and immature when those things happened? I think that’s still true till today.
      Facebook wasn’t too popular back then? I see. And now your feeds are churning with political propaganda now you feel like you know everything from them. What a load of bullcrap.

        1. Do your own homework. Dig out some capital formation charts and you’ll see that while there was improvement under GMA, it accelerated dramatically after she left office. As I said above, she laid a good policy base, but its impact under her rule was muted because of enduring concerns over her legitimacy, over the evident high levels of corruption, and over her rather extreme attachment to power, among other things. What Aquino brought to the table was the perceived security of an unquestioned mandate, at least the perception of reduced corruption, and a rather refreshing impression that he was not madly in love with being President and willing to do anything to stay there… along with the common sense not to mess with policies that made sense, even if they were a rival’s legacy. He’s not my perfect President by any means, but we’ve had worse, and likely will again, likely quite soon. The level of hate that spews from this site seems to me irrational and perverse… are you commenting on the Philippines or twerking for GMA?

        2. I meant do your own homework before you make assertions that GRP was silent during the Arroyo admin. Read your homework instructions properly before you do them.

          * * *

          What you say about GMA could be said about BS Aquino.

          RE: GMA, she “laid a good policy base” BUT it was negated by “enduring concerns over her legitimacy, over the evident high levels of corruption, and over her rather extreme attachment to power”

          RE: BS Aquino, he brought to the table “the perceived security of an unquestioned mandate, at least the perception of reduced corruption, and a rather refreshing impression that he was not madly in love with being President,” BUT he botched the execution of the DAP (among other things) and as a result, fairly or unfairly, public perception about his regime crumbled.

          Everything before the word “BUT” in both cases ultimately does not matter, see. Same banana.

          And yeah, this site seems to you to be “irrational and perverse”. That is of course your opinion. We eat opinions for breakfast here as much as we dish out our own. So deal with that.

          As to whether or not we are “twerking” for GMA, well, on that I will have to defer to your stamina for engaging in speculation as whatever view you may hold with regard to that is really none of my business.

      1. Aquino barely did anything. Most of the economic policies that were pioneered under GMA and infrastructure projects under that were finished under GMA are the reason why the economy managed to prosper and continued to prosper. There is nothing that even Aquino can do to undo these economic reforms and finished infrastructure projects.

        What he did do is discontinue a lot of projects that haven’t been finished under GMA thereby wasting a huge amount of government funds that were already spent for those projects. A good example would be the North Rail project where hundreds of miles of railtracks were cleared of squatter who relocated to government housing projects, with the government spending billions of pesos. The project would have revitalized and invigorated the economy in many ways. Just imagine all the fresh produce that could transported faster from the North to Manila. But Aquino under the guise of “review” cancelled the project because of alleged irregularities and then never looked backed. There are hundreds of projects like these. Roads, bridges, irrigation projects etc. that were cancelled simply because they began during the Arroyo administration. If one would make simple research you’d find out that only a handful of these projects were carried out for much more than the original.

        9 years of economy hell? I don’t know where you’ve been living but the economy was in shambles before GMA took over from Erap. It was only because of the reforms from GMA’s term that we were able to survive not just one but two economic crises that plague the world.

        I don’t believe that this site is being a kiss-ass to GMA. There is nothing to gain from defending someone unpopular who has been driven from power. This site merely puts a fresh perspective on what is happening in our country. They give out opinions that no one else would dare speak out. They seek the truth in their own way. I applaud the writers in this site because of that.

  6. Since I made no such assertion, your assignment is misplaced… and since when were you qualified to teach anyone?

  7. If you start trying to hand out homework, somebody’s going to ask who made you teacher, and whether you’re qualified to teach. Treat your commentors as equals – which they are, at least – and nobody will ask about your qualifications. Talk down to them, and someone will.

    1. Actually I realised you are “Steve” when I was really addressing “Know-One” in what he/she wrote here:

      …not one of you complained as much as today. Maybe you were too young and immature when those things happened…

      Too bad you sequed in without first checking and issued this “twerking” speculation about the source of our motivations here. That is what opened you to be talked down upon.

  8. I do agree that most of the financial growth that we are experiencing at this time can be traced back during the Arroyo Administration. Take for instance, the BPO industry. It has provided more jobs for Filipinos. Former President Arroyo had done so much to our country. We, Filipinos do appreciate that…

    Although, she has done a lot to our beloved country. She had also done some… bad things… Everybody, even if you are the former president should also be punished. Nobody is above the law.

    For the current President Aquino, I don’t know if we can attribute the investigation about Napoles and the Pork Barrel topic to his term. I haven’t seen much about the economic rise that he was talking about in the Newss. I don’t know if he is really not a corrupt president… I was also devastated with the way his presidency had handled the Yolanda stricken victims. What did they do with all the donations? There are also companies who are transferring to other countries… Are they going to do something about that?

    President Noy should provide us evidences… If he is really a better president than his predicessors, then we will really be thankful to him.

  9. Yes, policies have good, though dlayed, impact on the socio-politcal- economic situation. PGMA did much to improve the system of governance of the country, exemplifying her battle cry: strong republic. Certainly, we expect that each succeeding administration will indeed build on past accomplishments. Thus, the importance of a plan, as a road map to greater progress and improve governance. The succeeding administration should not take his watch, too literally.

  10. I don’t know what the bickering is all about,and frankly I have misplaced my hope somewhere for a good republic. It seems that every time a new regime rises, the country is stricken with maladies in the geographical and political arenas. The leaders are yet to command the public but very few leaders are popular to the public;whatever achievements they may have are soon to be swallowed in controversies or inadequacies. I think the Filipino is a lost race marred in history and uncertain of the future. We are a country divided by islands, torn by our faiths, scoffed by our economic ties and wounded by too many conflicts. I am afraid the presidency matters not. The promise of prosperity lies ‘somewhen’ else.

  11. I’m not a Filipino, but I see with regret what is happening in the Philippines. Aquino to designate as a leader and ascribe to him real success in his “Aquinocracy” very difficult. Which form should such successes? One is visible – the corruption and the crime came to the flowering!
    Aquino measures when it comes to the “economic strength” of the Philippines “Noynoy – Power” on the most vulnerable countries in the world. Germany is the benchmark in international comparisons.
    Looking at the infrastructure of the Philippines to come to the conclusion – very Poor. In the educational system and health care system it does not look different. Paralyzes the economy and stagnant. It lacks bring investors and businessmen to a minimum level of “know-how” in the country.
    But that will have probably done for a long time. Is the question why in the room?
    That must be answered with simple words.
    No investor has to be confronted with the need of permanent corruption.
    A legal security for foreigners there is not. And so the way for a business to foreign small and medium-sized businesses will be closed.
    200 murdered foreigners since 2003 speak for themselves. Of these murders not determined and the perpetrators were brought to justice.
    A foreigner who invests in the Philippines, brings his company in the Philippines is not the master of his own company! (???) I mean the control 40% shares in the company for the foreigners and 60% shares in the company for a Filipino. That’s ridiculous! Who brings his knowledge and money for nothing? The insidiousness of the game is known. Begins the company to work well there, mostly anonymous, a display in the BI or DOJ. The alien is detained and the business property is no substitute to the Filipino.
    That should be enough to arguments, although some could be mentioned.
    Exacerbated by the Philippines, many traders now prefer to shop in other Asian countries than in the Philippines. The reason for this is also to look into corruption.
    What Aquino has made in their own country? Severe corruption, in which he himself is involved directly or indirectly. As an example of pork scandal is mentioned. That’s more than 10 years the biggest scandal in Asia in total, with state participation!
    The level of security in all areas is a disaster.
    Poverty is frightening. And the ungodly, inhuman, the human ethics with feet kicking actions are unprecedented! (see dealing with street children and homeless would be the Pope’s visit.)
    Aquino leads the Philippines back in the days of the dark Middle Ages.
    To eliminate this garbage requires a patriotic leader, without Corrupt ambitions. And he will need to take many unpopular measures to clean up the country and bring them to the right path.

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