Being first-world in a time, far, far away


Horrified by the public’s eagerness to collect on his promise, made in the May 2013 election campaign, to have himself and Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya run over by a train if the proposed LRT line extension to Cavite was not completed by the final day of year 2015, President Aquino has dramatically changed his timeline for his latest fantasy or aspiration.

Inspired by the new Star Wars movie, “The Force awakens,” BS has located his new grand dream in a time far, far away—2030.

This way, he figures that most of us and maybe he himself won’t be around to check whether his grand promise is redeemed.

New dream in new year’s message    
To make sure we are not again double-talked into silliness by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, I checked and counter-checked BS Aquino’s exact words.

He said the magic words in his New Year’s Day message to the nation:

“All these we achieved because of our collective resolve to follow the straight and righteous path—a path that transformed damaged public agencies into stronger, more transparent, and responsive institutions; turned a demoralized government workforce into dedicated civil servants; galvanized an apathetic populace into active, empowered nation-builders; and reinvigorated a sluggish business sector into a major driver of economic growth. Indeed, the Daang Matuwid is a roadmap that will catapult us into First World Status and make us a $1-trillion economy by the year 2030.”

Instead of leaving this hollow promise in outer space, where it can drift in a nimbus of unreality, Coloma tried to pitch it as a living program of the Administration.

He explained like a development economist that the government has adopted three main thrusts during its final six months in office for the country to attain first world status.

In six months?

Three thrusts in final 6 months
The three thrusts are:
1. Strengthening public institutions through capacity and capability building programs; performance based compensation and economic incentives; and implementation of new salary scales that will be more competitive with the private sector.

2. Continued emphasis on social protection and human development – to ensure the attainment of inclusive growth where no one gets left behind.

3. Implement fiscal discipline and sound management of the country’s macro-economic fundamentals”—to maintain the upward trajectory of growth.

For the nation to achieve first-world status, President Aquino calls on all Filipinos to choose their leaders wisely along the path of Daang Matuwid.

“As long as we bear in our hearts and minds the welfare of the people, we will realize our inherent greatness and usher in a Philippines that we can proudly bequeath to the coming generations,” the President concluded.

Alas, there is no strategy and program in place that serious executives and managers can execute.

These are last two-minutes tactics to butter up Aquino’s legacy at his term’s end.

Government executives will be delirious with joy over the prospect that their compensation will be raised up to par with salaries in the private sector.

Shockingly, as new Commission on Audit Chairman Michael Aguinaldo has reported, many government corporations and agencies have been granting irregular and unlawful compensation and allowances to top officials that COA has found unlawful and irregular.

Disallowances are flying all over the place.

‘Aspirational’ is the new weasel word
Those of us who find BS Aquino’s first-dream grandiose and other worldly, should prepare ourselves for Coloma’s prepared reply: “Be reasonable. What the President said is only an aspirational statement.”

2030 is so far, far away, the goal will fall due in the term of another president.

“Aspirational” is the new weasel word under the Aquino Administration, as multi-purpose as “honest mistake” and “good faith.”

Every promise unfulfilled by Aquino, every shortcoming of this presidency will now be defended as “aspirational.”

On June 30, 2016, BS Aquino will bequeath us a legacy of aspirational slogans, programs, initiatives and projects that withered in the vine.


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  1. PNoy is the biggest weasel around. That is why I hope that his tombstone will be awash in weasel piss.

  2. PNoy should be subjected to the same level of scrutiny and investigation as was applied on Corona, Arroyo, Enrile, Estrada and Revilla as soon as he steps down, in the spirit of Daang Matuwid. If he passes the test, he should go down in history as one of the best presidents this country ever had.

  3. Eddie de Leon on

    You are right on the mark, Hector. But are like the anti-people conservatives who do not find the large population an asset but instead a liability.
    Employ a command economy, like that of China, and see how the Philippines and the Filipinos people will zoom to the level of a first world country.
    JUst as long as it is not the same shits who are with Aquino or Duterte who do the China thing–Miriam if she still has the strength would be best, then Binay is okay too, or the people with the Bishops who are for a National Transformation Council.

  4. Because there will be a new leader in June 2016, it is conceivable that conditions in the country that Aquino will leave will be a lot better. The new leader may not be as vindictive, as stubborn, as protective of allies who have done wrong, and may admit mistakes if he needs to. In short, he is a very improved version of the past president, very, very improved.

  5. Pnoy aquino is becoming demob delirious.

    It is not the size (of GDP) which matters, but what you do with it that counts.

    A few pointers on 1st world status:
    It would mean:
    – few OFW’s (labor export policy is not reflective of the 1st world approach/values )
    – little corruption.
    – people paying taxes/ better, and fairer, tax collection
    – having toilets in home (very basic)
    “The family cellphone ownership rate in this country is higher than toilets per household,” Ralph Recto
    – high educational standards ( e.g. teacher:pupil ratio 1:18, not the current 1:36) which would equate to the philippines having circa 2 million teachers in 2030 given the population increase – currently circa 700,000 teachers.
    – median monthly income of circa 100,000 pesos ( the current median is 6,000 pesos – in a scewed income distribution using the average/mean is misleading)
    (And to live a 1st world life-style would be more like 200,000+ pesos a month – house, car, schooling, holidays etc)
    – car ownership would be 30 – 50% of population which is the average for 1st world countries ( currently 3% in philippines) and cars are the main ‘aspiration’ want of first world individuals. Good luck Manila on that one!
    – lower expenditure on food ( currently 40% of monthly income spent on food in philippines – in 1st word approx 5 – 10% spent on food – i.e higher disposable income means a lower overall percentage spent on basic necessities, and therefore more available to spend on ‘luxuries’)
    – No foreign aid – giving to other countries rather than taking.

    The other points to note are that in 2030 the population of the philippines will be around 120 million, and the system ( health, education, infrastructure), which is already creaking will go into breakdown mode.

    The philippines economy ticks by because it is a 3rd world/low labor cost model, and without home-grown manufacturing/innovation will remain that way. It is stuck in a vicious circle.

    The philippines is part of a supply chain model, not a value added system, and consequently must always be in the 2nd/3rd tier acting as a ‘commodity supplier’, not a wealth creator.
    It is how the global hierachy/stratification model/system of economics functions. Big fish need/eat little fish.
    Every country cannot be 1st world, which is why the winners will be those with a competitive spirit, an innovation strategy, quality education, and long term plans supported by capital investment and courageous decisions.

    “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them
    right all the time. Winning is habit.
    Unfortunately, so is losing.”
    Vince Lombardi

    It is just another of pnoy aquino’s jokes!, or he means that the 1% will become 1st world status, but in 15 years time the 1st world will have progressed to the super league and the gap to countries like the philippines will be even wider.

    Wishful thinking is not how you run a country, nor the basis for an economic strategy.