Aquino administration vs the World Bank


AS if confuting with the United Nations over its ruling that the detention of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is illegal under international human rights law were not difficult enough, the government of President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd is now taking on another global titan – the World Bank.

The argument this time is over a new World Bank report that portrays this country as taking a major slide in the rankings among the world’s economies.

In the WB’s Ease of Doing Business 2016 report, which serves as a guide for investors and businesses doing business in various parts of the world, out of 189 countries studied, the Philippines slid six notches from 97th in the rankings in 2015, to 103rd in the 2016 report.

The new report was presented Wednesday by the International Finance Corp. (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, at a media briefing.

The report’s unflattering findings on the Philippines could not have come at a more inopportune time for the Aquino administration, because the Philippines is hosting this November the summit of leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which will bring to our capital the leaders of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The event is a coming-out party for which the Aquino administration has been preparing long and hard, believing that it will have the opportunity to show the world that the Philippines is the Asia-Pacific’s new and rising star. It is supposed to reinforce our earlier hosting of the World Economic Forum, wherein we billed our country as the “new Asian economic miracle.”

Alarmingly, the rankings and findings of the World Bank report contradict this message and image in almost every way.

So naturally, the administration, with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima in the lead, is up in arms, protesting the WB report and criticizing it as erratic and questionable.

Purisima is the most incensed because he is the country’s most assiduous promoter and salesman. He concocted the slogan, “Good governance is good economics” as Aquino’s economic mantra. He invented the tale about a new Asian miracle, ignoring that the miracle already began in the years of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who the current President has arrested and keeps under arrest. And Purisima was entrusted with billions of public money to purchase investment grade ratings for the country from the world’s top credit-rating agencies.

Being ranked 103rd among 189 countries doesn’t square with these lofty claims. Indeed, it appears to belie them. And it grates when you consider that we are the 12th largest country in the world in terms of population.

At the Wednesday briefing, the IFC said that the country’s “overall ranking decline reflected the Philippines’ slight drops in most of the 10 sub-indicators of the Doing Business program.”

Shocking report
The report was a shock because Filipino officials actually expected an upgrade of the country’s position from 97th to 65th in the 2016 report.

Our National Competitiveness Council (NCC), whose reason for being was undercut by the WB report, criticized the IFC for using “erratic and unsound methodology,” and questioned the relevance of the annual rankings.

“Despite our efforts to introduce reform projects to improve the ease of doing business in the Philippines, IFC shows different sets of scores and rankings every year due to a change in methodology,” said Guillermo Luz, the private sector co-chairman of the NCC.

All the remonstrations notwithstanding, the cat is out of the bag.

One Philippine business magazine, BizNews Asia, merrily trumpeted the news in a cover and cover story, which declared “If you want to start a business, don’t start it in the Philippines.”

The magazine elaborated on the theme with this lengthy subhead:

“The World Bank ranks the Philippines 95th in ease of doing business, 161st in starting a business, 124th in dealing with construction permits, 108th in registering property, 104th in getting credit, 127th in paying taxes, 124th in enforcing contracts, 65th in trading across borders, and 50th in resolving insolvency. Considering that there are 189 economies, the Philippine rankings are a disgrace and put a lie to the claims of Daang Matuwid.”

Despite all the rhetoric of President Aquino about fighting corruption, his government has been ineffectual, incompetent and corrupt. There is only so much that President Aquino can blame on President Arroyo.

Indeed, Aquino must worry that many of the few good things that have happened will not be credited to him but to Arroyo.

Among these, according to the Moody’s rating service, are “institutional improvements” including “performance-informed” budgeting that has improved expenditure oversight, various tax administration measures that have boosted compliance, and enhanced procurement processes that have led to cost savings.

There is no substitute to a realistic and truthful account in presenting our country to the hard-nosed leaders of APEC.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Whether we like it or not, the way this administration has been behaving is not only callous but continuous to peddle lies about almost everything including the economy. If it doesn’t want a true report coming from a reputable organization like the World Bank, then get out of it. Otherwise, make use of whatever data or advise it gets from the World Bank and learn from it. It seems that it is only the Philippines that is howling because the report does not conform to its liking. We have to remember that the World Bank gets most of its information right from the report submitted to it by member countries. It does not manufacture data unlike what this administration almost always claim to picture a paradise. God bless the Philippines.

  2. so, the truth has come out on the so called new darling of Asia….really true, they bribed the raters to smell good, and trumpeted everything in the media….and the media just followed….never mind double checking the figure from credible source….this the daang matuwid……

    • Most newspapers are just government mouthpieces, If i want unbiased news reporting i go to the Manila Times.

  3. I’ve been in the Philippines 6 times since 1998. Each time I go I think Manila cannot hold anymore homeless, but the numbers keep growing. 3.2 million homeless and almost 2 million are children. State sponsored Genocide which should be addressed by an international court.

  4. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    31 October 2015

    This latest World Bank downgrading of the Philippines by six points from 97th in 2015 to 103rd in 2016 would be such a slap on the face of the Government, but it is coming at a time when the APEC will be meeting in the Philippines; that downgrading should prove insufferable.

    In spite of President Aquino’s much-ballyhooed “Daang matuwid,” corruption is still on a rampage. And the tragedy for the country is that like a cancer which has metastasized throughout the body, corruption will infects the whole bureaucratic pyramid, from the very apex, moving down to the intermediate levels, and as far down as the barangay level!

    It is all that a heroic Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima could do to go after the countless malefactors and the scumbags in all levels of Government. Not one of these have seen the insides of the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City, starting with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is charged with two NON-BAILABLE CRIMES: 1] For rigging the elections of 2007 before the Regional Trial Court in Pasig City; and 2] for Plunder before the Sandiganbayan.


    • It is all that a heroic Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima could do to go after the countless malefactors and the scumbags in all levels of Government

      That’s the problem right there, De Lima and Morales only go after who Aquino tells them to.

      Pork barrel scandal ?
      18 senators gave Napoles their millions for kickbacks
      3 senators gave Napoles their millions for campaign funds
      100 house rep’s gave their millions to Napoles for kickbacks

      Out of 121 Congressional thieves only 3 opposition senators arrested.

      3 out of 121 ? That what you call heroic ?

      Morales ?

      Has not investigated 2000 shipping containers that disappeared
      Has not investigated the DAP fund even when ordered by the Supreme court
      The 2004 fertilizer scam ? No
      The Metro Rail Transit maintenance contract ?
      The Land Transportation Office procurement of license plates ?
      The billion-peso PNP rifle bidding ?
      The billion-peso combat helicopter deal ?

      Heroic ? I don’t think heroic means what you think it does.

    • @fyi,well said..i don’t care if all of these senators and congressmen are all investigated,just do it without being selective,if you have the evidence do it ,not because of party ,friendship or being a relative….and enemy

  5. Penoy is acting weird. If the comments/or anything against him or on his administration he down played it but if the comments was positive or good he took credit. Like the UN Human Rights Commission Resolution findings his government guilty of Arbitrary Detention for not allowing GMA to post bail. See that even his minions Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan have no evidence to hold trial GMA, they still insist there is a crime of plunder committed for Okaying the request for funds of PCSO. O my goolay. Now, if that is the case Penoy is guilty of Plunder for signing DAP. Now Penoy should take NP Screeening he has mental problem. How awful president we have according to Sen. Osmena.

  6. In my opinion it’s far worse than 103rd. With a Dysfunctional road system, poorly maintained rail systems, 8 month wait for vehicle license plates and 4 month waits to renew plastic DL. Throw in the rampant power shortage all over the country, and corruption at all levels of government…. Add the 3rd world airports. The Philippines has a long way to go. Thank God for OFW workers or we would indeed be much further down the list.

  7. Eversince this Pnoy is bullying us,,”daang matuwid ” is just a decoy to an unsuspectecd masa his “mga boss” kuno. Erap said it well “ang buhay ay weather weather lang” when he was imprisoned of the szme offense. Pnoy can not & will not have the capability to lead or improve our life,due to simple & glaring fact- he’s single, no family ,not a husband,not a father. Anyway,his days are numbered.

  8. This should be the Biggest Headline in all the Newspaper ! Hopefully, BSAquino and his KKK will read it !

  9. Pnoy aquino must think a ‘trickle down’ approach results in inclusive growth. It doesn’t.

    Farmer Juan feeds his bull with hay and out of the other end the droppings are eaten by the sparrows.
    When more sparrows come the farmer gives the bull more hay.
    The bull gets fat and greedy.
    Eventually however the bull gets constipation. The sparrows either go hungry, or fly off to another field. The farmer goes bankrupt.
    More BS is not the answer. It only produces flatulence.

    Farmer john also feeds his bull hay. When more sparrows come he gives some of the hay straight to them. The bull stays lean and mean. The sparrows happy and productive. He buys farmer juan’s farm.

    Pnoy aquino should get his verbal diarrhea under control and start listening more.
    His constant whining, blaming others, and business naivete is not only boring, but a complete turn-off for the international business community.

    The constant request from businessmen is – ‘ to be less protectionist, level the playing field, and play fair’. Clearly all alien concepts to pnoy aquino and his oligarch friends, and his inflexibility does not go un-noticed by the business community, who simply vote with their money, hence the paltry trickle of foreign direct investments.
    In terms of business reform the philippines is crawling whilst the rest of ASEAN are walking, and in some cases running. The gap is getting wider, and the time to catch up is getting shorter.

    Instead of business reforms pnoy aquino does nothing:
    No change to 60/40 provision
    No open skies policy
    No tax reform
    No concrete plans to join Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
    No improvements in internet or reductions in cost ( same applies to electricity)
    No improvement in ease of doing business ( it has got worse)
    No improvement in corruption ( it has also got worse, especially at customs)
    No strategic planning or integrated solutions
    No creative problem solving

    Traffic and port congestion has also got worse, making distribution slower, more costly, and impacting upon service reliability.
    Constant contractual problems and rewriting of the rules
    Unprofessional bidding processes.
    Restrictive labor practices
    Skill shortages due to brain drain

    Whoever pnoy aquino’s ‘bosses’ are, they certainly aren’t the majority of filipinos since his measures restrict competition, and discourage investors, therefore potential jobs are not created, and prices are kept artificially high. Crazy economics, and there are now early warning signs that pnoy aquino will be the one handing over problems to his successor, unlike his predecessor who handed over to him strong fundamentals.

    Even doubling the budget to 3 trillion pesos, he still manages to be at the back of the ASEAN pack.

    No wonder pnoy aquino is still the economics student and arroyo the economics professor.

    • Brilliant, I really enjoy reading your comments as you paint a realistic picture of what is happening to the Philippines.

      If the sheep continue to blindly following a group of thieves they will get the same government of wolves for another six years.
      The children deserve more than passing down the “begging bowl” as their inheritance.

    • ” skill shortages due to brain drain” not entirely. Poor and antiquated training, poor attitude of workers with reference to quality, safety, and aptitude.
      Total absence of any Cusomer Service mind set with no avenues of redress.
      An unwieldy, out of control bureaucracy that any despotic Communist state would be embarrassed by.
      Not all bad though. Immigration Department have improved dramatically in the past few years along with NSO. Terminal 3 at NAIA is a good experience ( when and if you can get to or from it).

  10. This UN Report does not surprised me because Filipinos knew all along that the Pinoy government lied to the people about their accomplishments and the misnomer “Daang Matuwid”. The lives of the average Filipino didn’t improve under Pinoy’s watch. In fact, it became worst economically, socially and politically.

  11. Giving the senators and Rep’s billions of Peso’s from the Pork Barrel Gift fund that they then gave to fake non government organizations in exchange for kickbacks didn’t help the economy much i guess.

    Better appoint some more incompetent friends, ex classmates to run the major agencies, make sure to get more university drop outs, tv and movie stars elected to the senate and house of rep’s.

    That should fix the problem.

  12. PNoy surely is incensed because he does not want to read and hear the truth about how is a total failure other than making ridiculous propaganda. Problem is we still have the bull-headed yellows supporting the road going to the cliff of death.