The Philippine case of reverse-transformation from a former colony of first-world USA that was only 2nd to Japan and burgeoning with potential in the middle of the last century into the foremost basket case among emerging tigers serves as a prima facie model example in the world’s handbook on “How NOT to run a country”.
As it was once said of Africa by one of its leaders “Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed”, the Philippines takes its place as the African equivalent of a management nightmare in East Asia.
Compounding the management debacle are several factors that contribute to its being left behind in past decades when other economies of neighboring countries were accelerating in leaps and bounds.
- Extremely harsh hot and humid climate, and disaster-prone Pacific rim of fire visited by 20 typhoons a year
- Disunity in every form: geographically as an archipelago, culturally as multi-lingual/multi-regional, and demographically with extreme wealth disparity between mostly Chinese/Mestizo billionaire class and dirt-poor Malay masses
- Relentless political unrest, discord and rebellions: CPP-NPA, MNLF, MILF, ASG, Maute …
- Mind-dumbing and emo-centric media promoting every sort of perversion and blatant display of stupidity
- Too much focus on politics and celebrities. Lots of talk with little actual work output.
But the above issues serve only as icing on the cake. The real root cause of the downward spiral of the nation lies deep, intrinsically lodged within the nefarious Pinoy psyche. The sickness starts in the mind.
The Americans had a first-world mindset. They were passing it on to their “little brown brothers” through extensive education during their stint as caretakers of the country back in the first half of the 1900s. A huge push forward was their teaching Filipinos their language, which the Spaniards would not do.
The big mistake though was the timing of Philippine independence. Disrupted by the Japanese occupation in the mid-1900s, America eventually let go of the Philippines to give in to the desire of the locals to enjoy the freedom of self-rule and self-determination.
Like removing training wheels from a little toddler who had merely begun to learn how to balance a bicycle, the case of Philippine independence was premature. If only we were given proper on-the-job training (OJT) and sufficient know-how/skills to govern a nation, the country would have taken a totally different road from what it has now gone through to become what it is today – a loser in almost every imaginable area (remember Splash!?)
How can we reverse the course of the nation’s further decline? The key is to get better managers. The Philippines exports hoards of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). We should seek in exchange, the influx of imported “First-World Managers” or FWMs who come in as invited guests embodying the secret sauce of winners (Zaxxun Creed). We should seek FWMs from advanced nations of Northern Asia, Northern Europe, Northern America and Australia-New Zealand not just for businesses but for key agencies and government positions.
Do you realize why Filipinos abroad are so successful? This is because Filipinos perform at their optimum best when they are in a working environment that is under first-world management.
Compare how Filipinos behave under a fellow-native-Pinoy manager vs. under a German or Japanese executive, for example. More often than not, the Pinoy manager will connive and work in cahoots with the rest of the organization to do under-the-table irregularities to bend and evade rules. The Filipino manager will lower the standards of product/service quality to give in to Pinoy substandard behavior.
Just imagine how the Bureau of Customs will look like if we replace with an FWM one who has miserably failed on his mission of ridding this notorious agency of corruption?
Can Duterte reverse Philippine regression?
The new president has the heart and shows true grit to make a dent in fixing what’s wrong in the country today. But he cannot do it alone. Every level of authority that manages the country needs to align with the overall goal and vision of creating a Philippines that is free from the shackles of dysfunctional behavior.
Inviting FWMs to partner with local executives and train them on proper management and catch the FWM’s superior first-world decision-making process can create wonders. Sooner or later, the FWM culture will rub off to the locals to the point that they can paddle on their own.
Discipleship is a concept that many in religious circles are familiar with. However, Filipinos have the wrong notion of discipleship being merely a class or lecture where followers/trainees are taught using their tired old “blah blah” “dak-dak” method. Rather, the correct method should actually be similar to an OJT, where the “master” leads by example – by demonstration in an actual field environment. The disciple then learns by repetition while looking at how the master does things.
Leadership makes a primary difference. Imagine if Singapore didn’t have a Lee Kwan Yew? What if he was succeeded by an incompetent like Joseph Abaya of the past “gago” administration who purchased MRT trains that were incompatible to our system?
We finally have a “go!go!” president who appears to be gifted with the Midas touch. What we need next are FWM-class executives to trickle down the “magic” to the rest of our countrymen.
The same goes for our educational system – we should open up to first-world teachers and professors. The next generation has hope as long as we break the cycle of “the blind leading the blind.” Don’t you think it’s about time to climb out of the pit?
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