Filipinos should address the Philippines’ negative image by fixing its problems

Are Filipinos more concerned about projecting a positive image to the international community rather than finding a solution to the negative images that keep finding their way into the hands of international news media organizations? It would seem so. This was evident when a lot of Filipinos felt outraged and demanded an apology from a Malaysian company that highlighted the Philippines’ structural, security and geographical problems.

Aegis Malaysia, a business outsourcing company recently reiterated what some of us have been saying all along – that the Philippines will continue to be a risk to foreign investors if problems that are vital to the operation of a business are not addressed.

When the Aegis Malaysia’s ad agency released a promotional video, apparently “in error”, enticing foreign investors to Malaysia, it not only emphasized the advantages of doing business in Malaysia, it also drew attention to the disadvantages of doing business in the Philippines. The Filipino people’s reaction to the video was more disappointing than the video itself.

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Instead of seeing an opportunity to demand that the Philippine government address the country’s shortfalls as enumerated in the video, a lot of Filipinos went on the defensive and expressed their “hurt” feelings towards the company. I mean, shouldn’t they have directed their anger at their government instead of Aegis Malaysia? Filipinos didn’t even have to do their own research because somebody else did it for them. All they had to do was present the evidence to the country’s administrators and clamor for solutions. But they didn’t. They, instead, helped defend the government by shaming the Malaysian company.

Presidential spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda described the Aegis video as “below the belt” and recommended sanctions to those responsible for the video. It seems, Malacanang cannot handle the truth. They didn’t even bother to address the points raised in the video.

The promotional video enumerated the following conditions that are working against the Philippines and boosting Malaysia’s attractiveness to investment:

– Inadequate infrastructure
– An unfriendly climate for smooth operations
– Less security
– Lack of government support

No wonder Malacanang was offended. The video pointed out that the Philippine government does not give support to foreign investors. We can’t expect the current government to be happy about that. President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino himself is not known for admitting mistakes or any shortfalls. As far as he is concerned, his government has achieved significant “gains”. It doesn’t matter if the only thing significant his government has achieved is getting positive credit ratings from international credit rating agencies during his term. And never mind that some international commentators also credit the previous administrator with the essential reforms that support a stable Philippine economy.

Not attractive to business (Photo from Dennis Datu on Facebook)

Not attractive to business

(Photo from Dennis Datu on Facebook)

Most Filipinos who reacted negatively to the Aegis Malaysia video admit that what the video highlighted about the Philippines is true especially about the lack of adequate infrastructure. However, they still thought it was inappropriate and unacceptable for the company to single out the Philippines as a risky business partner.

Unfortunately, what most Filipinos do not realize or do not care to realize is that most foreign investors actually hire consultants who tell them about the risks prior to investing in a foreign country. These consultants gather information about a particular country of interest from local media and, increasingly, from political bloggers who are not subject to the editorial standards of traditional journalism. The latter is noteworthy considering that political bloggers are seen to be more reliable due to their unbiased opinions.

Therefore, the removal of the Aegis Malaysia video will be of little consequence to potential foreign investors. Filipinos may have heaved a sigh of relief knowing that the video is not available on YouTube anymore but it doesn’t change the fact that the problems of the Philippines persist.

The reaction of Filipinos who were offended by the video is similar to the way some reacted to foreign journalists who reported the real situation following typhoon Yolanda’s devastation of Leyte. Filipinos do not appreciate it when the Philippines is highlighted in a negative way. Their reason is that the Philippines is a poor country with poor infrastructure and a few resources. Never mind that a big part of the reason the Philippines is poor is because its voters keep electing leaders who mismanage the country.

Like what I have said in my previous article, those who are offended by the straightforward assessment applied by the foreign correspondents seem to be more concerned with image. It has become apparent that they just want to project a “fun” Philippines to the international community. It’s like they do not want anyone highlighting or broadcasting the real state of the poor people and the country’s decrepit infrastructure.

Hiding the real condition of the country never works. Natural calamities are guaranteed to reveal it one way or another. Disasters tend to expose not just people’s capacity to handle stressful situations, it also exposes the country’s lack of capability to save its own people.

Filipinos should discuss the Aegis Malaysia video with President BS Aquino who had just finished a European trip aimed at enticing foreign investors to seriously consider the Philippines. They should ask him why, despite spending billions of taxpayers funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program, the basic infrastructure needed to attract investors who will in turn provide jobs for Filipinos is not even on the drawing board. In short, Filipinos should ask him, where did all the money go?

18 Replies to “Filipinos should address the Philippines’ negative image by fixing its problems”

  1. The is two German couple, who are kidnapped by the Islamic Terrorist Group: Abu Sayaff. The leaders of that Islamic Radical Group, threatens that this German couple will be BEHEADED; if Germany will participate in the fight against ISIS. The German couple were kidnapped, from their Yatch…

    Truth hurts, but it is the truth. Peace and order; insurgency; Police corruption; political corruption are the problems, this Aquino administration have never addressed. Besides, no good Flood control. The OFWs have already been working in those foreign countries, at low paid, with long hours of work. Why invest in the Philippines…let the Filipinos come to these foreign countries, where they can be worked like Carabaos…

  2. Aquino’s cancellation of the flood management projects started by GMA; in order to use the money to bribe the Senate into impeaching Corona, was a huge blunder on his part. Has he done anything right; aside from the stock market going up and the credit rating of the country improving? He has relocated a lot of squatters into subsidized housing. He has swollen the welfare rolls by increasing the level of Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest of the poor. He negotiated a cease fire with the MILF. He brokered a new defense treaty with the USA in order to discourage Chinese encroachment. The northern leg of the Skyway is under construction. Several new airports around the country are under construction. Despite these accomplishments, there is a general feeling that the country is “going to the dogs” Crime is rampant. Inflation keeps rising. Given the intractable nature of these problems that defy easy solutions; could any politician have done better? If so, how?

  3. Perhaps, his mistake is that he pissed away the budget on feeble half-way measures that did little to change the downward trajectory of the country. No priorities….No vision…

    1. Where would you even begin to start to fix the problems that have been ignored since 1965 ?
      The country has been robbed by its own people, the politicians, that sought protection from the USA (and then bit the hand that fed them in 1991) to facilitate the thievery.Forover 50 years the politicians thought they were slick, and to certain degree they were, by robbing and stealing everything and passing the buck to future generations. BUT the chickens have come home to roost and the people are soooo sick of the thieving that is sooo very blatantly obvious. BUT was Corazon Aquino right when she said that Filipino’s are cowards ? when faced with adversity they crumble and stammer as if drunk? Ms.Aquino was a leader that her Son is not, and the people of the country need to stop adoring the families of the rich, families that fleece them as sheep to the razor’s edge.

      Plainly and for all to see: THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IS FUCKED, FUCKED 365 ways to New Years Day.

  4. Corruption hinders progress. Before we could dream of having world class infrastructures like modern airports, seaports, super highways, fast communication, and even bullet trains, let us address first our social infrastructures- schools, housing, hospitals, health centers and roads. Instead of thinking about foreign investors, prioritize in investing on raising the standard of living. Start with mandated family planning. We have to do something about our population growth. Then, take it from there.

    But due to corruption, we are not progressing. Our society allows corruption to prevail. We hate it if foreigners would tell us our weaknesses. We take pride in our culture of mediocrity. We are dumb, lazy and corrupt as our government.
    That is why nothing is changing.

    1. “We are dumb, lazy and corrupt as our government.”

      Most Filipinos, kaloy, do not realise that what you just said there is an honourable thing. They thing there is shame in the truth – so it is any surprise that the entire culture is built on lies?

      You’re quite right that it has to start from a social level. Technology and investment will not fix the Philippines. You can’t install power systems if they’re likely to be stolen within 24 hours.

      The sad thing is, social change does not cost money. It’s the one thing that the Filipino people COULD change, if they wanted to, without handing around the begging bowl. But since they cannot stand up with true pride (as you just did) and admit what’s wrong, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

  5. The only thing I found stupid about the video is that they highlighted the fact that the Phililippines is in the Pacific Ring of Fire. We can’t do anything about that. XD everything else is true though. Sadly, a lot of butthurt Filipinos didn’t see it that way. Someone trying to refute the video even called our country “relatively safe”. Yeah right. Lack of infastructure is also true thanks to BS.

  6. So it’s gotten so bad that other countries are quick to openly and bluntly point out the Philippines’ problems? Looks like the fire is rising.

  7. He just want to go to Europe! Do you think he accomplished anything by going there? He has no shame! Clean your house first before you ask your prospective guests to visit your house, you idiot!!!!

  8. Went to Europe and spent the whole trip insulting the Chinese, Gloria, Marcos and murdered journalist. Never signed any trade deals.

    Chinese government and EU countries have signed over 90 billion dollars worth of trade deals so far this year.

    Thursday the Spanish PM signed 4 billion dollars worth of deals in Beijing.

  9. di na siguro mag babago yan..lahat dito mamamatay ng dilat pwera sa mga corrupt..-_- minsan gusto kong ikahiya na Filipino ako..=\ kahit daig ko pa malansang isda..!!!

  10. Ask where the money went? U R KIDDING,YES?

    Ask him to give it back, more like it.


  11. Last night, I’ve watched two episodes of ‘The Slum’ of Al Jazeera documentary, it’s too depressing to see how these people of Tondo trying to live every day, in a place where seem there’s no hope. It showed how the government leaders lack of compassion to the most needed people of Tondo in spite of living in metropolis. Watching the Aegis Malaysia’s video helped us to realize what are the things our government neglected for a decades and how helpless we are to have the same incompetent leaders who’s been with us all the time. Nothing has change still ‘Richer became more richer while poorer became more poorer x3′

  12. it is not a secret that the Philippines has zero infrastructure. The highways are a joke, the traffic is insane. Medical services are a nightmare, if you have to go to a hospital in the country, you may not come out of it alive.

    THESE ARE NOT SECRETS, any business that thinks of investing in the countrysend scouts there to investigate.The country is a quick study. The economy is controlled by oligarchs from each reason dominating the region they have control over. The National treasury is a buffet dinner for politicians that just make shit up and steal the money that over the last 50 years really could have meade a monumental difference in the countries development. But now, all the peso’s in the world can not stop the pollution that is present and getting worse,the traffic jams that are a nightmare and getting worse, the flooding of major urban area’s constantly and getting worse.
    It is obvious that the country has been its own worst enemy, politicians that have stolen the countries future for the last 50 years have doomed the Philippines to half-ass status for the next 50 years and business’s will sonn tire of getting treated soooo shabbily, and then finally, and maybe even mercifully the entire archipelago will be swallowed by the Pacific ocean.

  13. Great article and spot on. I lived in the Philippines for several years and eventually left, not so much because of the problems in the Philippines, but rather, due to the Filipino people’s attitude toward anyone from the outside who mentions the problems. So many Filipinos will approach a foreigner and ask what they think of the Philippines, and when the foreigner answers honestly, they get offended. They say “You have no right to say that, because you are not a Filipino.” My response was always, “maybe you should not ask questions if you don’t want to hear the truth?” They already know the truth, but rather than dealing with fixing it, they would rather the foreigner lie and give the typical line of “Oh, Filipino is so friendly,” and leave it at that. They are friendly, but my God, it’s 2015 and there is NO reason for people to still live that way, and yet, as you pointed out in your well written article here, they repeatedly, and knowingly re-elect people who are going to steal from them. They take the ph500 bribe to jump in the jeepney and go down to the burungay hall and re-elect the same burangay captain who has stolen from them for the past two years to steal from them for the next two years, so they can have a party for one night. Their Government is a democracy, the most efficient form of Government on earth, passed on to the U.S. from the French after their revolution to make Federalism a thing of the past. However, democracy is a form of Government that only works when the populace is responsible and wants better than what they are getting. It’s not that the Filipino Government is corrupt and steals from the Filipino people as much as it is that the Filipino people are completely apathetic about the situation and could care less about changing it. That’s fine. It’s their country and their lives, but they should not act so shocked and offended when the rest of the world knows exactly what’s going on. Perhaps it’s best that if they cannot handle the truth, they just stop asking foreigners what they think of the Philippines.

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