The Philippines’ culture of impunity and mendicancy worsened under President Noynoy Aquino

Philippine President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino’s speeches quite often make me laugh and cringe at the same time. Everything about his speeches is a joke – the way he delivers them and the way these are peppered with motherhood statements. I don’t think he even sees the way he frequently contradicts his own statements in every other sentence he speaks. Although sometimes I also wonder if he is fully aware that what he is saying is mostly bullshit, which could be the reason why he finds it hard to keep a straight face. That permanent smirk on his face seem to be telling his critics “up yours!

President BS Aquino's speeches: A bad joke
President BS Aquino’s speeches: A bad joke
Take his recent speech before 10,000 high-school graduates who are said to be beneficiaries of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program or CCT. BS Aquino’s speech was so bad that a fifth grader could have written a better one. In his speech he asked his audience, “Can anyone say that the government did not give people opportunities to succeed? Can anyone say that nothing has changed despite our style of government? Can anyone say that we did not improve after 4 years of Daang Matuwid?

Were they meant to be rhetorical questions? They are silly questions. He already knows the answer is yes, there are people who say that the government does not give people the right opportunities to succeed; yes, there are people who say not much has changed because of his style of government; and yes, things did not improve after 4 years of him saying the hallowed words “daang matuwid” or “straight path”. He keeps saying daang matuwid as if it means something good. In reality, people now associate the words with incompetence, arrogance, impunity and patronage politics.

Knowing that his administration’s satisfaction rating has fallen to a record low, what possessed BS Aquino to ask those questions? Maybe his staff forgot to inform him that less than half of those surveyed in the first quarter of 2015 were satisfied with his administration’s performance. Or maybe he is too arrogant to admit that he is losing his mandate. Either way, he appears to be losing his grip on reality.

Someone even said that the President delivering a speech to a captive audience – those students were there mainly because they were beneficiaries of the CCT – was akin to tabling a bar girl and paying for conversation. Consider too that the audience was comprised mostly of teenagers – kids not mature enough to understand the impact of what he was saying and who were more interested in playing with their cellphones and chatting with their seatmates. It was a pathetic scene, really.

In his speech, BS Aquino was so proud of giving away public funds to the poor. He said so himself: “Since 2010, over P232 billion has been spent on the 4Ps program”. But he shouldn’t really consider that an achievement. It is so easy to give money away, specially when it is not his money to begin with.

DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman's anti-poverty strategy: Just give money to the poor!
DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman’s anti-poverty strategy: Just give money to the poor!
The program is not even BS Aquino’s original policy. He did not come up with the idea. It was former President Gloria Arroyo who introduced the program of giving cash subsidies and educational scholarship programs at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to the poor during her term in 2008. However, BS Aquino made it the “centerpiece program” of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under the leadership of Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman. Fast-forward to today, BS Aquino’s administration is taking full credit for it.

They said the CCT program is supposed to “increase the productivity of the poor” and “break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.” But does the program even work in alleviating poverty in the country? The data says no:

Poverty incidence in the Philippines increased in the first half of 2014, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)’s Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) showed that poverty incidence among Filipino individuals rose by 1.2 percentage points to 25.8 percent in the first semester of 2014 from the 24.6 percent registered in the first half of 2013.

Some lawmakers are also against the CCT. During a twitter exchange, Senator JV Ejercito had this to say:

CCT is breeding culture of mendicancy. It is a political tool. And it’s the main poverty alleviation program of admin.

What we need are portfolio investments that would produce jobs and opportunities. This is genuine inclusive growth.

(I’m) Still against spending P78B for CCT. We could have used that for much needed INFRA projects. Cash for work.

Senator Ejercito was one of the 37 Congressmen who signed a manifesto opposing BS Aquino’s P21.9 billion budget allocation for the CCT in 2010. Here is an excerpt of their manifesto:

The (CCT is) a costly palliative, an unsustainable program of dole-outs that will perpetuate the politics of patronage and encourage a culture of mendicancy. CCTs cannot take the place of a long-term strategy that addresses the root causes of poverty through asset redistribution and job generation.

"What we need are portfolio investments that would produce jobs and opportunities. This is genuine inclusive growth."  - Sen. JV Ejercito
“What we need are portfolio investments that would produce jobs and opportunities. This is genuine inclusive growth.” – Sen. JV Ejercito
It is apparent that BS Aquino’s advisers did not take inflation into consideration when they thought of using the CCT as the flagship program of their poverty reduction effort. It seems they didn’t think food prices would go up. They forgot about natural disasters like typhoons affecting people’s lifestyle and they did not bother to come up with a strategy for job creation, which is a more sustainable solution to reducing poverty.

Speaking of jobs, BS Aquino mentioned in his speech that a former TESDA-trained mechanic is now working in Australia and earning more money than him. The irony of what he said escaped him and his teenaged audience. Had the TESDA trained mechanic stayed in the Philippines, he’d still be stuck in a local talyer or auto repair shop earning peanuts. Meaning, under BS Aquino’s government, Filipinos are still forced to look for work abroad and leave loved ones behind just to make a decent living. What progress is he talking about?

Speaking of progress, another international study has confirmed what some of us have been saying all along: that Filipinos who act with impunity are preventing the Philippines from progressing. As a matter of fact, the study conducted by Impunity and Justice Research Center of the Universidad de las Americas concluded that out of 59 countries, the Philippines has “the worst record in bringing wrongdoers to justice”. In other words, we suck big time at catching and prosecuting the perpetrators of crime in the country.

Mei Magsino's true killers will never be brought to justice thanks to the Philippines' culture of impunity.
Mei Magsino’s true killers will never be brought to justice thanks to the Philippines’ culture of impunity.
No wonder journalists get assassinated on a regular basis in the Philippines. Killing is like a walk in the park for assassins riding in tandem on a motorbike. They usually get away leaving grieving families to accept that local authorities do not have the motivation to catch the killers. The recent murder of former Inquirer correspondent Melinda ‘Mei’ Magsino brings to 26 the number of media personnel killed under the watch of BS Aquino. The rest of the public seems to have gotten used to the killings that there is hardly any outrage when someone is murdered in broad daylight.

Impunity has become worse under BS Aquino’s regime, indeed. His Cabinet members and allies seem to act with little regard for the consequences of their actions. The public is helpless against BS Aquino’s illegal activities like bribing lawmakers using public funds to make them do what he wants. It is also impossible to impeach BS Aquino because the lawmakers are unwilling to impeach him for fear of incriminating themselves after accepting his bribes. The public also sees how BS Aquino’s buddies like former Philippine National Police Chief Alan Purisima get away with actions that result in multiple deaths without being made accountable for them just because they are close to the President.

The impunity report has certainly put into context BS Aquino’s behavior in public. The next time you see BS Aquino smiling during his public appearances, it’s probably because he thinks he can do anything and get away with it. You can expect the next administrators to behave the same way.

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20 Comments on “The Philippines’ culture of impunity and mendicancy worsened under President Noynoy Aquino”

  1. Very nice point of view. I have to say though that creation of more (in-country) jobs solves unemployment. It does not address poverty at the source. A country needs free education for all and in all levels to address poverty. Poverty is a function of social inequality. JV Ejercito’s plans are short-sighted. Be more analytical and careful with what you espouse as solution next time.

    1. Why do you think Senator JV’s plans are “short-sighted”? Please be specific.

      And fyi, me quoting someone else doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with the idea completely.

  2. Every time I now hear Daan Matuwid, my blood boils. I don’t know why they still insist on it when it now totally paints a picture of everything hypocritical. It is a slogan that evokes an image of a BMW X5, but with four flat tires — all form, no substance. It is used to manage public perception; but, as any lie, it is eventually uncovered by any light. Yet, the cover-ups continue; from Mamasapano to Hacienda Luisita; from car plates to helicopters; from selective justice to selective economic figures. Their cover-up efforts are so predictable and so blatant, they do not even attempt to cover them as cover-ups. What kind of mentality is that which believes it could hoodwink the public forever? It is not daan matuwid, it is possibly Dami Nakatuwad? It can’t be: the trust ratings on PNoy and his KKK have finally nose-dived.

    CCT is not conditional cash transfer to the poor. It is concealed cash transfer to Hacienda Dinky. My part-time maid who is enrolled in the program receives only one thousand pesos per month even when she signs every time vouchers that say she should be receiving P3,500 per month. My blood boils here too for she would not even attempt to complain with proper authorities despite the fact that every other benificiary she has met appears to be experiencing the same thing. We’ve told them repeatedly that there is strenght in their numbers, but none of them would move a finger afraid that even that miserable one thousand pesos might just suddenly be stopped — practicality prevailing over principle. One example on how Daan Matuwid has hoodwinked millions that do not mind being hoodwinked.

    No wonder China and MILF would not also attempt to cover their efforts to hoodwink PHL. Hoodwinking seems to be natural to PHL politics, so how can PHL complain. Xi Jiping said he wanted to talk, but is building a gigantic forward base in Spratleys. Igbal said we should be happy they are talking to us, but would not disclose their real names and identities while strenghtening their armed capabilities. PNoy talked to Igbal and practically gave the store away. In the process, he also realized he could not even “out-hoodwink” Napenas and Purisima. It might as well then that PNoy is not talking to Xi Jiping, or we might all be awake at nights on what else in our store this president is giving away.

    It is not a problem if PNoy realizes that the hoodwinking principle built-in in Daan Matuwid is only good for local setting — that there are dire consequences when one uses one’s predisposition to insult any intelligence in an international setting. Our problem is that there is no jurisprudence against stupidity. In fact, I don’t think we could ever lock up PNoy in jail for all the damages he has inflicted on the society on wide-ranging issues. As it is obvious, PNoy is clinically insane, and he is now making it more obvious so he would be able to plead against insanity in any eventuality. Perfect crimes are perfected hoodwinks, and vice-versa…

    1. @Add

      PNoy was a lemon in congress and will remain a lemon until his last day as Ph President. Some of us knew that even before he was elected and never bought into what his PR team was trying to sell.

      It’s a shame little folks like your housemaid cannot even complain about being used in the CCT scam. The problem is, most taxpayers don’t even bother to ask for an accounting of the budget allocated for such projects. I can’t believe the budget for it keeps going up. It would be hard to stop the program because the beneficiaries already feel a sense of entitlement after being spoiled by PNoy.

      I think you could be right about PNoy suffering from some kind of mental problem. Only an irrational person would negotiate with a rebel group representative who doesn’t even use his real name. The lawmakers should have impeached PNoy when they had the chance for his use of the DAP without congress approval. Unfortunately, most of them benefited from the scam.

      1. Ilda, Pnoy was, is, and always will be a lemon, not only til after his presidency but until he dies. But if he dies right after his presidency, that’s ok too.

  3. Sure , quino is a lying, thiebing weasel…just like ALL THE RSET ot the Filipino Politicians. In your quotes that you attribute to Auino taking credit for the CCT program,He doesn;t take credit for them…or cant you read? You go on to state that the program is a failure, back it up with some cow-dung stats that anyone could make up and though you state the program is a failure and that Aquino stole the flagsjip program from Aquino the ‘Li’l Girl’? You seem confused.Even further you state that killings of journalists are up to 26 on Aquino’s watch and that the impunity with which they occur is the worst its ever been. You somehow seemingly forget about the journalists murdered in the Maguindanao Massacre that hapend on the ‘Li’l Girls’ watch,eh?
    After the correct staement at the end of the essay you could have also added “AND JUST LIKE ONE THAT PRECEEDED BS AQUINO AND THE ONE THAT PRECEEDED THAT ONE AND SO ON…all the way back to 1948″, and it would not seem like just another hatchet job on the current commander-and-thief. FACE IT: Aquino and his family is no different from GMA and her family and E-CRAP and his family and Enrile and his family and the Marcos family….etc etc etc etc….THEY ARE ALL THIEVES, guilty as the day is long….

    as the RED QUEEN SAYS:”OFF WITH THEIR HEADS !” is all that really needs to be said, and….done already, UGH !!!!

    1. The title of the article is: The Philippines’ culture of impunity and mendicancy worsened under President Noynoy Aquino.

      It’s not: Impunity and mendicancy started under President Noynoy Aquino.

      1. OH Right, so I mis-read the part about ‘impunity has become worse under…’,yes?

        NO, NOT !!!! it boils down to who is remembered for what, doesn’t it? When one is just as bad as the other,what is the difference? TIME? Present tense?
        Helicopter sales, massacre’s in Maguindanao and ZTE scandals come to mind, LOL!

        HHHMMMMM……………………..

  4. Since time immemorial, the history of the Failippines is one of impunity, where the wealthy elites have their way.

  5. I heard, Joey Cuisia, that you are also contemplating about resigning. It is a pity that the professionals outside of the KKK, like PNP OIC Espina, Customs Comm Sevilla, etc, have not been talking to each other. Espina, Sevilla and Ona have already resigned, and the rest, as you, are just about to resign one by one almost unnoticed by the public. (Never mind Walden Bello for PDAF has made him trade his intellectual hat with a politician’s hat. Or, Alcala, who is a KKK.)

    If Gloria had Hyatt 10, maybe there is something beneficial if PNoy would have a Shangri-la Dozen. You say this is not good as it could further rattle the president and might finally see PHL in a slippery slope. I also know your aversion for things sensational, and you hate it when the public enjoys things that — hehehe — shake, rattle and roll. Still, I disagree. This president is already rattled and is being more rattled of his own, and KKK, making. And, it is PHL that is being rolled. He froze for 11-hours as SAF44 were being massacred and remained unthawed for weeeekkkkss in the aftermath. I know you agree firsthand with Osmeña that Noynoy is “hard-headed” and “a lousy manager”. Chiz says the same things, but in so many diplomatic words, understandably.

    Powerpoints and reports in words have to be converted into comic strips and kindergarten graphics in order that Noy could have a semblance of understanding them. So, how could he institute reforms if he could not even comprehend the facts, premises, and principles that should undergird such reforms? No wonder Daan Matuwid has turned out to be so vacuous, and now, so irritating. (So wimpish and moronic vis a vis the West PHL Sea. So deadly vis a vis BBL.) Thus, I could believe that you have been spending your own personal money, which I am hearing is not at all paltry in amount, in order to improve the professionalism in the embassy and consulates in the States. Noy just has no idea what professionalism is all about and thus could not justify any provision in the budgets for such things, never mind reforms, through all his tenure. This also explains why almost 300 critical positions in the bureaucracy remain vacant — he has runned out of KKK to appoint.

    Maybe, a Shangri-la Dozen is what your childish friend needs. If Noy didn’t see the need to be mature as the CEO of the country, then I think you know he will need to morph quickly into a man in more ways than one after 2016. Jail term will be more taxing than being a CEO, no matter how you look at it. …….There is a time to stop nurturing a child (an advice that our elderly, DFA’s del Rosario, might also wisely relate and heed.). It may just be the only way to show you care for Noy, …… and for PHL as well. Peace be with you!!! At the very least, a good sleep and rest that you haven’t had for a while..

  6. “Ang daan matuwid, ay pumunta na sa bulsa ni Aquino…” You don’t fight poverty, by throwing money , here and there ,to the poor. “If you give a man a fish…he will have one meal. If you teach a man to fish, he will have many meals for the rest of his life…” from Lao Tzu…

    Aquino is fast to grab credit, and play the blame game. He is a lazy and incompetent President.

    1. However, if you teach a filipino to fish, he will:

      a) complain that he doesn’t have a fishing rod and ask to “borrow” 10,000PHP to buy one;
      b) accidentally break the fishing rod;
      c) ask you for another 10,000PHP so he can buy another fishing rod;
      d) lose interest because it’s too difficult;
      e) sell the fishing rod for 5000PHP and spend the money on cockfights to “make a profit”;
      f) lose all his money, and ask to “borrow” another 10,000PHP.

      You might as well just give him the fish. It’s cheaper.

  7. Now I thought CCT was performance-based?

    If it is, it could be a good thing, because talented people can have poor parents.

    If your father is poor it ain’t your fault, if your father-in-law is poor it IS your fault is a Romanian saying that has some truth in it.

  8. Ilda, yours are all perceptions, your perceptions. As you said- In life, things are not always what they seem. What’s your perceptions on the Arroyo presidency?

  9. As a foreigner, this president is by far better for business then the previous administration. Now the bar is set low, but blaming the current president is baseless.

    He is building infrastructure. Corruption is slightly down.

    Yes your law system sucks, but if you have money the criminals will be caught.

    Still if I was an actual tax paper I’d rate this government as a D-

    You just got to learn to play the game and exploit loopholes. I like stupid people, cheap labor and let’s the real smart people hustle.

    If only the security situation improved. Bring back the death penalty.

    1. Hey, Joe!

      Yes your law system sucks, but if you have money the criminals will be caught.

      The irony of what you said seems to escape you. You are ok with justice only favouring people with money. What if you suddenly went broke?

      He is building infrastructure.

      Are you sure the previous administrator didn’t build infrastructure during her term? You obviously don’t know what you are talking about.

      Corruption is slightly down.

      Do you have the figures to prove this statement?

      You just got to learn to play the game and exploit loopholes. I like stupid people, cheap labor and let’s the real smart people hustle.

      Thanks for confirming the real reason some foreigners like you love living in the Philippines.

      1. If I went broke I’d leave immediately for home. 😉

        All I am saying is your readers who seem pretty smart should use their wits to hustle the brain dead. Where else can I get workers for 1.50 an hour, who don’t complain and work hard. Indian workers suck in comparison. Even with Filipino time factored in its a bargain.

        I think if you took the time you spent ranting and make a business you’d do pretty well. Your intelligence is vastly Better then the majority.

        What amuses Filipinos on their free time shouldn’t concern anyone else. Lots of stupid people follow Kim kardashian and top searches on Google are not encouraging.

        Your articles are spot on though. This place would suck if you don’t have money. But anyone making a decent western salary will love it here.

        don’t take it from me on corruption. Find the ayala interview on YouTube.

        I personally can’t wait for the sky way and airport overpass to be done. About damn time going to save me hours of productivity.

  10. “Daang Matuwid” can hardly be identified with the righteous performance of leaders, but may seem to appeal to utopian reality, if ever it is indeed the vision of administration!

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