• ‘Daang Matuwid’ is for real. 60% of GDP takes a straight path to the Top 1%


    EASILY, the most heart-rending stories of the year are these two and they are about the utter dehumanization of ordinary human lives.

    First is the finding that 60 percent of the country’s GDP is sucked up by the top 1 percent, with the 99 percent (I, me, my neighbors and everybody I know) obliged to fight, mano y mano and brutally, for the crumbs left to them. The No (Aquino) and Ro (Roxas) bros, part of the top 1 percent, don’t have the faintest idea on how the 99 percent fight over the crumbs. (If you want, No-Ro could also mean No to Roxas.)

    Second is the UN report that the Philippines is the region’s most incompetent in the area of poverty reduction and lifting impoverished lives.

    There was a common thread to the stories. They were both ignored, especially by the “multi-awarded journalists” and the revered pundits who – supposedly – present and articulate the most sacred and the most erudite of our version of Beltway thinking.

    You probably have noticed the stark contrast on how such life-and-death issues are treated in more discerning societies.

    In politically aware countries, these two realities are enough to trigger a national soul-searching which would then lead to vigorous discussions on what kind of society tolerates such kind of injustice and assault on human lives. Then, policies would be revamped to push egalitarianism. In more desperate societies, the revelation of such economic injustice could trigger upheavals worse than the bloody wages of the Arab Spring.

    Here, the two issues were made public, then dissipated into a fog and a blur, drowned by the Aldub tweets, with mainstream media complicit. Or drowned by the Aquino administration’s search for a vice presidential candidate to its anointed. Or, Senator Poe’s citizenship issue, or more allegations of Mr. Binay’s alleged corruption and the expected mortal blow to Mr. Binay in form of his sinking poll numbers. Wait, one more, the hollow victories of our American reinforced -Gilas team.

    But would national outrage over the two social and economic monsters that Mr. Aquino’s “daang matuwid” has created make him to veer away from his free market piety in favor of policies designed for broadly-shared prosperity?

    No. Absolutely no. Even a token, symbolic gesture of empathy for the underclass – or for the aggrieved – is a no-no for Mr. Aquino.

    The optic that will long endure of the Aquino presidency was the sad day the bodies of the SAF 44 arrived in Manila from the Mamasapano killing fields. It was expected that the SAF 44 would be met by the Commander-in- Chief, who green-lighted the SAF 44 mission, and was supposed to get hourly reports on the “success” of the mission.

    The Commander-in-Chief, the expectation was, would then deliver a speech similar to what Mr. Reagan delivered after the loss of Space Shuttle Challenger and her crew. In that speech, Reagan said he was “pained to the core” by the tragedy and said goodbye to the Challenger crew who had now, he said, “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God,”

    Mr. Aquino indeed paid tribute that night but it was not to the fallen SAF 44 and the families they left behind. It was to a decades-old car assembly facility that changed ownership, from one car multinational to another. There, Mr. Aquino talked what he loves talking about – investments and the investors’ love affair with his government.

    Between commiserating with the fallen and giving comfort to their loved ones and paying homage to an inanimate object, Mr. Aquino chose the inanimate object. It was both eerie and surreal but Mr. Aquino did not care.

    While Mr. Aquino’s callousness toward human lives was in full display that day, that optic will be soon lost in the nation’s foggy memories. But another record will stand, the sucking by the Top 1 percent of all GDP, and it will be the more devastating critique of the Aquino presidency.

    Mr. Aquino, now counting his last few months in office, often speaks of “legacy” and “continuity,” the natural tendency of a leader who wants a positive treatment from history. But will he get one with this record — six years of sustained boom for the Top 1 percent and either struggle or misery for the rest? The fact that his chosen presidential candidate next year is widely believed to place third in a three person presidential race is an indication that he will be remembered as one of the country’s middling presidents.

    Great presidents can bend the country to his or her will, Middling presidents can’t. Levity aside, the No-Ro ( Aquino-Roxas) partnership might as well mean No to Roxas in 2016.


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    1. ferdinand concepcion on

      SAD indeed that “politically ignorant” Filipinos, including my professional colleagues in an American semiconductor company, still believe in this “straight path”. And that Aquino can do no wrong, because he will not shame his parents. They cannot see thru the yellow media propagandas of ABS CBN, INQUIRER.. They’re also being blinded by these so called sprouting of malls and condos by the SYs, AYALAS, and equate this with progress..
      I pray for DIVINE intervention, such that these yellow gangs of Aquino, Roxas, Abad, Morales, De Lima, Drilon… will meet their karma…and answer for their sins against the people.

    2. The Aquino government restored the Philippines as an economic tiger of Asia. Those fighting against him have the hidden agenda to amass wealth to perpetuate themselves in power but Benigno Aquino III and Mar Roxas are already rich with a clean tract record of honesty and integrity. Why experiment with those candidates who have records of graft and corruption. The Lord sees the heart but man looks at the appearance. Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any person, says the Book of Proverbs.

    3. mar is only copying aquino’s words, he doesn’t have his own. daang matuwid is only for the LP

    4. The fact is,,how can we progress as a nation,when our pnoy is single,no wife ,a mother or even a kids to look up, now he endorse somebody,who until now dont have a kids with tsinelas queen. Leadership starts in a family,Period.

    5. the economy improved under the Pnoy administration and he has the respect of the economic international community. although its also true that the equal distribution of wealth is not equal. But the problem is not to the president. He did his best and he had some accomplishments and we all know that, the failures are more on his subordinates being either incompetents, lazy, or few corrupt. for example isn’t the job of NEDA to advice and plan for the economic direction of the country? it looks like NEDA chief did not do a good job. Customs, still incompetent and corrupt. BIR did improved but needs to do more. Dept of Highways, needs to complete and build more roads and bridges, maybe corrupt too., PNP we all know this department, Dept of Health, made some improvements but needs more to be done. etc. etc. its not all his fault.

    6. Rodan Guerrero on

      Two Presidents in one family, the 1st one “AGNAT” and the last one “DIPUTS”. They both never deserve a place in Phils. Political history.

    7. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      11 October 2015

      Columnist Marlen V. Ronquillo’s lament, to the effect that 1% of the country’s population “sucks up 60% of the country’s GDP” is fully well-grounded. It is the kind of truth which really hurts.

      Note the 11 “Filipinos” who made it to Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s US dollar billionaires, and juxtapose that with the excruciating fact that at least 30 million Filipinos are desperately trying to survive on $1.25 a day [P56] and you get a clear idea of the chasm which divides the few “filty” rich from the masses who are stuck in the quagmire of poverty, living lives of extreme degradation and dehumanization.

      It is not absolutely true, however, that President Aquino ” has not even taken [a] gesture of empathy for the underclass–or for the aggrieved x x x.” The fact is that Mr. Aquino, from year one, set up his signature anti-poverty program called the CASH TRANSFER PROGRAM under which poor Filipino families are given a monthly dole of P1,400 under certain conditions, one of which is that it send its children to school. To this program, he already has spent the humongous sum of P245 BILLION. Unfortunately, however, this 5-year-old program has not “delivered” as expected. On the contrary, reports have it that the incidence of poverty has worsened during the last five years or so!

      This may have confounded and dumbfounded Mr. Aquino and his economic and social “Brain Trust” because the country’s GDP has been spurting at an average impressive annual rate in the vicinity of 7%–one of the highest in Asia. As one well-read columnist, who has a Harvard doctorate in Economics, and who once upon a time was the NEDA director general, lamented, such an impressive GDP growth has been “UNIFORMLY JOBLESS.”

      But that is a paradox that does not dumbfound or confound Pope Francis who, in a plane-side interview on his return to Rome from the Philippines where, on his epochal January 15-19, 2015 visit he saw with his own merciful and compassionate eyes how truly “poor” poor Filipino families are, WARNED ‘CATHOLICS NOT TO MULTIPLY LIKE RABBITS!” [As the whole world knows, Pope Francis does not have an Economics PhD from Harvard or from Wharton!]


    8. isidro c. valencia on

      Even in Mars, there is no such thing as Daang Matuwid. It exists only in the dysfunctional mind of PIGNOY.

      Sisa aka Miriam Santiago said DAANG MATUWID cannot be located by a geodetic instrument.

      According to Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, PIGNOY should submit himself to a series of psychological tests if PIGNOY is still in the right mental behavior. That was 2010.

      I am now believing that PIGNOY is always hallucinating. Look Ma, during his SONA 2015, the only truth you hear was his “coughing.” That is a symptom of mental disorder, if you are not true to yourself,

    9. Very well said. This government has put the masses in a very bad light. Election is coming so people must be educated so that we will not put another government like this in the coming year.

    10. Great presidents can bend a country to his will? I thought this was against the great western values of democracy and human rights? There is only one president who was able to bend this country to his will, and you know who that is. As for the 1% sucking up all that GDP, and the fact that Boy Sayad and Roxas are complicit in this blood sucking is not the surprising story. What should surprise and bother is how the likes of Boy Sayad was able to con many people especially those look like they belong to the intelligentsia. I guess thats life, you make the same mistakes over and over again until you get the lesson life is trying to pound on your head, or you don’t.

    11. These 2 — Aquino & Roxas are hacienderos who never struggled for money since birth, so it is understandable that they are indifferent to the plight of the poor and the working men. Aquino thinks he can play with the lives of our soldiers and the civilians in war torn places like his favorite video games, Roxas who was also the author of VAT and has refused to reduce our income tax rate is certainly out of touch with what matters most to the middle class.

    12. Leodegardo Pruna on

      No to Ro-Ro. They symbolize the worse of this administration. Incompetence and lack of empathy are the distinguishing marks of this administration. God bless the Philippines.

    13. The elite not only have capture of the government and the economy, they have capture of the third wheel as well. Or the fourth estate, as the more developed countries put it. That is media, whichi is firmly in the pocket of the ruling classes.

    14. It seems that this administration has been concentrating on itself like “selfie”; it doesn’t see or feel what others feel, think and see it.

      As a result, the anointment by BS Aquino of Mar Roxas (and Leni Robredo) is a ‘kiss of death’ for him. More so, he promised to continue the “Daang Matuwid” which, is a ‘fantasy’ to the majority of Filipinos. So, to continue a ‘fantasy’ will only confuse the people for their plights are “real” that they need real approaches to their problems. A “no” to Ro will be another “no” to his Veep Ro.

      • I agree with you that the anointment by BS Aquino of Mar Roxas is a “kiss of death” for Mar. But I don’t think that is the case with Leni since Filipinos don’t necessarily vote in tandem. A voter may shun Mar but will vote for Leni.

      • Leodegardo Pruna on

        What I am afraid of is the repeat of his mom’s deed in an election period. The party had Rep. Mitra as standard bearer but suddenly the mom was supporting a candidate other than Mitra who is RAMOS. Would P-Noy be secretly supporting disgraced GRACE who insist being a natural born citizen contrary to the constitutional qualification of would be president? Note that RAMOS made sure that his predecessor never had a case against her investigated. God bless the Philippines.

    15. Angelito Dionisio on

      Picture Perfect and Crystal clear that when Aquino and Roxas team convinced their so called ¨KAYO ang BOSS ko¨,the 99% population of our country were duped,conned and lured to the well publicised DAANG MATUWID or STAIGHT PATH. The No Ro tandem knew very well that there is an express lane exclusively for the elite(the 1%), While the 99% fell on the Quicksand, Mr.Roxas,without blinking his eyes and chin up, want the remaining few who survived the quicksand of poverty to chose again their STRAIGHT PATH . I pray to our Almighty God that there´s a Presidentiable who really cares for the welfare of the 99% victim of STRAIGHT PATH ,

    16. The Nations problems created by Aquino and company never seem to register on the general public they seem unaware and deliberately obtuse.

      Old saying the people get the government they deserve