Foreign media laud PNoy’s false achievements as Filipinos set to vote for the ‘lesser evil’ again in 2016

I find it quite laughable that a certain Daniel Wagner, CEO of a certain Country Risk Solutions would, on one hand, observe how the Philippines has long been held back by a people that “didn’t demand enough of themselves, or of their government” and sustains a habit of accepting “a low common denominator of performance” in its leaders but then, on the other hand laud current President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III as the man behind an economy that “skyrocketed” since he took office supposedly making the country “the next economic miracle of Asia.”

What escapes Wagner’s “expert” mind is the fact that Aquino was, himself, a lowest-common-denominator candidate in the 2010 elections. Where debates on qualifications and platforms failed to move Filipino voters, Aquino’s pedigree and prayerfulness and the sympathy he attracted following the death of his popular mother was what ultimately won him the presidency.

noynoy_aquinoWhat does Wagner even know about the Philippines to begin with? The claim alone that the Philippines suddenly got from bad to good as soon as President BS Aquino assumed power is indicative of a disturbingly sloppy analysis style. For starters, national economies are complex systems with a million and one variables at play. What sort of maths did Wagner use to conclude that President BS Aquino is the singular cause of the Philipines’ purported transformation to the next Asian “miracle”. Second, there seems to have been a noticeable silence coming from an organisation that describes itself as a “country risk” expert on the contributions of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

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There is lots of debate over whether Arroyo’s nine-year rule over the Philippines had a good or bad effect on its fortunes. But nine years is still a lot more time to effect a presidential influence on a national economy compared to the five years that Aquino had so far racked up. How much groundwork for economic growth has Aquino actually lain and how much of the movement in economic indicators observed over the last five years is accounted for by what Aquino had done so far?

Well, ok, Wagner did not really say Aquino single-handedly turned the Philippines into an “economic miracle” (whatever that last-Century phrase actually does mean). He said that this improvement in economic fortunes was “due, in large part, to Aquino’s refusal to continue the regrettable tradition of corruption, nepotism and abuse of power.” How big a part exactly?

Funny that considering the world’s Big Businesses and the politicians they prop up all salivate over the economic muscle of China and India, two behemoths that also happen to be amongst the world’s most corrupt countries. So we should really question the whole idea that stamping out corruption necessarily makes a country wealthier.

Then again, perhaps it does — if you look at the right numbers. A lot of the Second Aquino Administration’s cheerleaders in the international media always quote macro economic indicators to “prove” what an all around great guy President BS Aquino is. The trouble with that approach is that it does not consider who exactly is collecting all the fruits of this economic “growth”. Much of the Philippine economy is controlled by a tiny elite clique of oligarchs and foreign “investors” while just about all of Philippine politics is driven either by the same families or lackeys of these families being drip-fed with a steady “commission” from their rent incomes.

So in the case of the Philippines, “eliminating corruption” likely means eliminating it in “the right places” — specifically in places that impede the financial prosperity of specific families. Have a shooting buddy who is into an import-export business? No problemo compadré. Let’s sack the incumbent Customs chief and “reform” the bureau. Need to return a favour to a rich uncle stuck with a vast but insolvent hacienda in Luzon? No worries, pañero, let’s slander the “tainted” Supreme Court Chief Justice and replace him with one of our “friendlier” girls.

There are many ways to package a payback government into a “reform administration”. That’s Philippine Presidency 101. Look no further than all the discussion and “debate” surrounding who the next president will be after the coming 2016 presidential elections. The discussion is, yet again, a discussion around finding the best Lowest Common Denominator candidate money could buy. The “unacceptable” alternatives out there are the “evil” and “corrupt” candidates while the ones to “seriously consider” are the ones seen to have not done anything bad yet.

The above pretty much summarises the bobotante thinking Filipinos apply to determining their fortunes past 2016. It hasn’t changed much. Indeed, what is likely the biggest motivation for President BS Aquino now that his days as the most powerful man in the Philippines are numbered is to keep himself out of jail post-2016.

Perhaps one way to do that is to reflect on the way he’s been treating his predecessor, former President Arroyo. Already, renowned international human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney has taken notice of Arroyo’s plight, reportedly elevating her case before the United Nations Human Rights Council as an “urgent” case.

“We felt that Arroyo is being singled out,” [Arroyo’s lawyer, Atty. Larry Gadon] said.

Arroyo’s lawyer said under a case considered urgent, the UN body will send a confidential communication to the government of the accused’s country.

Meanwhile, if it is placed under regular procedure, Arroyo’s case may still be tackled in the late part of the year, Gadon said.

“The urgent action means they will send a communication to the Philippine government to appeal for the bail of Arroyo for humanitarian reasons. There is no legality that will be discussed,” Gadon said.

“Democracy” in the Philippines has descended into a cycle of incumbents throwing their precedents in prison then helping themselves to the national treasury to undertake their own personal-agenda-motivated “projects” masquerading them as “reform” initiatives. And each politician masquerading as a “leader” is really just the representativeof business and private interests allied with him or her.

And the economy? What about it? As Arroyo said in her seminal piece, It’s the Economy Student!, the achievements of presidents are just parts of “the continuum of history,” each one one building “on the efforts of previous leaders” and as such means that “[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.”

22 Replies to “Foreign media laud PNoy’s false achievements as Filipinos set to vote for the ‘lesser evil’ again in 2016”

  1. I think it is actually arguable that Aquino is less dirty than his predecessors in that he is not hopelessly Dependant on a grease money machine like GMA and Erap were. When buyers lined up noong PNB was up for sale Estrada made it very clear he wanted his cut – how else was he going to pay the bills that got him there? Aquino is different but the only difference is that he didn’t have to hustle to make it to power. He is however clearly and totally incompetent – but there’s no one prominent in Filipino society who is both competent and clean. Ramos was competent but that old bastard had more skeletons than the sementaryo. And nothing is more Filipino than handing out favors.

    Americans are just ignorant of other countries and easily duped when it comes to bright and shiny stories about democracy and transparency… We find it hard to understand why other societies struggle to reach prosperity and we’re dumb enough to think that it own success had something to do with “freedom”. Obviously this risk analysis guy was just getting paid to blow smoke up the asses of people with gold pockets.

    1. Perhaps the Palace Propaganda machine is now moving from surveys (because they know that their credibility is highly dubious) to write-ups from foreign correspondents they can arrange things with (because they also know that Filipinos put a lot of weight on a foreigner’s praise of anything about the Philippines)

  2. And watch as the Philippine media gobble this up and laud this as a testament to Philippine “greatness”. Unfortunately, the same thing has been said after EDSA revolution and years after that. And the country has remained ever-so dismal.

    Also, if this guy was really paid by the palace, it makes sense. Otherwise, it’s obvious he’s a greenhorn who haven’t stayed in this country long to make an accurate assessment.

    Because Philippine standards are significantly LOWER than world standards. As many expats will tell you.

  3. Did the guy ever enter the country and see exactly how 90% of the Filipino’s live? or did he understand that the OFW is the main supplier of disposable income that most Filipino families have? OR did he understand the fact that wages in the country are so pathetically low that call center agents earn less than 1/3rd the same job commands in the West, where the job came from?

    It is debatable just how much of the alleged ‘progress’ the country is getting credit for that can be attributed to GMA . Along with the role of politicians outlined in the last paragraph of this essay, Arroyo and her thieving family were, and continue to be, criminals just like the rest of the thieving weasels that are the bane of the countries existence. Anyone that alleges differently may have to have his/her head surgically removed from his/her ass.

    1. Yes you are right it is less than 1/3rd it is about 1/5th in Manila and even less in the provinces, and Filipinos have to work night shifts.

      1. Haha you guys need to stop using fractions and move on to exponents. I interviewed with IBM sa Pinas and they offered me a salary equal to 6000 dollars a year (20,000 pesos a month, for those of you using the Filipino convention of listing salaries by month because no one plans ahead and job are often terminated before a full year). Many Filipinos earn less than that I know, but an American working at McDonalds often makes 25,000 dollars a year and a professional job here offers 40 – 60,000 a year.

        Its no use using division – take what a Filipino makes, put a zero at the end of it, and that’s what an American in the same job makes.

    2. ….and the commander in chief said he’s been fooled by napenas….what a guy! he’s the command post and whatever happened comes straight from his brain lol!

      1. now that Noynoy has found a whipping boy in the person of Gen. Napenas, he has come out swinging…what a hypocrite!..i listened to his speech blaming Napenas for mention of his BFF, Purisima, no mention of the atrocities done by members of the MILF and was all Napenas fault…if you can believe what happened in Mamapasano as the work of a single individual then welcome to fantasy land

  4. The “Wagnerian economist” may have been Paid by Aquino, to heap praises on him on his leadership. Bribe money can go a long way, even on international level.

    Just go to the Squatters’ areas in Metro Manila; especially those living around the Garbage Dumps. Is this what Wagner calls prosperity? Or see how much your monthly pay can buy for your basic necessities. It is Runaway Inflation, on the Philippine economy. The 500 pesos bill , bearing the portrait of Ninoy Aquino, Jr. , is worth one peso, compared during the Marcos era.

    Foreign journalists who do not live in the Philippines; and do not work as any ordinary Filipino does, should never do write ups like that one. They do not know what they are writing about…

  5. Gosh, a prayer meeting setting just to allow a speech of nabola ako ni Nappy goes to show PR dept of Palace is totally bogged down. Add to this the tsismis that Mama’s Panot no longer sleeps in Malacañang, then you are seeing a panic mode. You, morons in the Palace, you can get out of the tense situation by just being patriotic, and being patriotic is also very simple, just be truthful. PR is not about lying, I think you know that, eh, Mon-J, Prof Columha, and what is his name again……..

    1. If Napenas was really fooled pnoy,then what next, no court martial,no firing squad, no vengeance ,no nothing. Yhis is the only President that admit that even sorbetero can fooled him any time. What a waste of people’s tax money just went to the drain. I am expecting the same treatment that GMA was experince with pnoy vengeance against Napenas
      Double standard

  6. So David Wagner and the evangelicals at yesterday’s prayer meeting and Tagle are all paid shills, the masses are deaf dumb and dud, Catapang is a chickenshit, and anyone else who disagrees with the prevailing current of opinion on this site are apologists.

    So — which is more important for you guys: getting to the truth at Mamasapano, or ousting the president?

    1. Where exactly has anyone made out “getting the truth” and “ousting the president” an either-or proposition? You can do one of each, one after the other in any order, or both or neither one at all. It’s really all up to peoples’ appetite for real reform and all that such entails.

      1. “Where exactly has anyone made out ‘getting the truth’ and ‘ousting the president’ an either-or proposition?”

        Ignore due process. Ignore institutional integrity. Oust Noynoy. (Replacement Binay if you need a gun with that — replacement junta if you need a cyanide — replacement junta with Binay as its leading light if you want both and quickly.)


        “It’s really all up to peoples’ appetite for real reform and all that such entails.”

        Is it “real reform” if the Constitution and our democratic institutions are upended and ignored, if the president’s right to due process is waived and his standing as the highest elected official in this country set aside, in pursuit of a truth that may not be there at all?

        What if — after all you’ve said, typed, and done — what if in the exercise of his duties as commander-in-chief, acting under the influence of all information available to him at the time — what if Noynoy acted in accordance with his duties, had done nothing and said nothing that was unseemly, had done nothing wrong? What then? “Oh well, nangyari na ang nangyari — past is past — sorry bro, but what about a wig as consolation? Tamaan ang magalHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”

        Paano kung mali ka? Paano kung iyong “real reform” mo naging itlog, napunta sa kangkungan, nagwala’t nawalang parang bula, dahil winalanghiya mo ang Konstitusyon para makuha mo ang gusto mo? May moral ground ka pa niyan sa paglalagyan mong iyan?

        I said something of the sort before and I say it again: for better or worse, to our delight and frustration, we have institutions, we have a Constitution. The worst thing we could do to it is to delegitimize it.

        (Unless of course iyon talaga ang gusto mong mangyari.)

        1. Dude, what are you even talking about? What do you even think I am advocating here? Your above comment seems full of assumptions about what you THINK I am calling for.

          Do you really think I of all people are asking for an extraconstitutional ouster of President BS Aquino?

    2. Seems to me you’re the one who’s being apologetic to Wagner’s laughable assesment of the Philippines.

      No intelligent person who lives/has lived here can take anything a guy who most likely just looked up graphs and charts provided by “transparent sources” and then writes like the PH is paradise seriously. A dirty squid ball vendor can give me a better report on the quality of life in this sham of a country.

  7. Comparing yourself to others does nothing for you. In the Failippines, their society has conditioned Failipinos to value people who fit a secular mold of perfection.

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