PH is not Singapore, PNoy is not Grace Poe


My lawyer-wife Rhina and I recently went to Singapore for a three-day breather.

Although we had agreed to shy away from political dramas at home, we found ourselves talking about them and in the process saw what the Philippines lacks in terms of traffic, road system, urban planning, business processes and discipline, compared to the Lion City.

It was not our first time in Singapore, our favorite destination when we want to rest. But with every visit, I, personally, always get overpowered by admiration on one hand and envy on the other. I can only dream that someday we would be as disciplined as the Singaporeans and our government as efficient as theirs.

As the head of the Manila Broadcasting Company Network News and the gatekeeper of regional news for dzRH, I have been privileged to go around the archipelago every so often and I can say I have not seen a local government unit functioning like whatever counterpart it may have in Singapore.

Of course, we cannot be like Singapore. As what the late Lee Kwan Yew said about his country when the locals were envying the British government: “Singapore is not British and British is not Singapore.” And so is the Philippines.

In a 1965 speech, Lee compared Singapore to a shooting stick, saying, “To sit on a stool is more comfortable and stable than to sit on a shooting stick. Right? Now we are on a shooting stick. But I intend to sit on that shooting stick and since that is all I have got–214 [square]miles–we will jolly well make it a strong shooting stick. You have seen Singapore, the people here? It is a shooting stick made of steel.”

Now, what is the Philippines made of? We are made of leaders with the brains of a shooting stick. Many have manifested their intention to lead as early as today, many have been going around the country with their make-believe stories and sweet promises.

Just recently, President Aquino went to vote-rich Cebu (2.5 million, the highest in the country) with his minions.

During his visit, he lambasted Vice President Jejomar Binay for telling the public that his administration did nothing good in Cebu.

The President said Binay should have his eyes checked for him to see the real picture.

I am no fan of Binay nor of this administration. But I am a true-blooded Cebuano. I was born and raised in Cebu. And now that I am based in Manila, I visit Cebu almost every week. And in all honesty, I still have to see the administration’s work in the province.

Basic: Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), a government hospital in Cebu City, was ruined in the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013. CCMC is home to hundreds of indigent patients in the city. Until now, however, the building has not been repaired and patients make use of the fire department as makeshift hospital. And you know what the reason is? Simply because the mayor is a member of UNA, not this administration’s ally.

When Sen. Grace Poe was invited last Monday by Tingog Carolinian, a student political group at the University of San Carlos, reportedly school officials barred the media from entering the venue where she was to speak. This, allegedly, was after the SVD priest who manages the university received a call from a government official. Insiders said the priest was afraid that the event would be used to lambast the President like what VP Binay did in Cavite State University after the President’s SONA.

If this is true, then I wonder how the government plans to control the CBCP when the Catholic network airs a commercial for an international congress with Grace Poe endorsing it.

Late last year when CBCP launched the commercial, I had the opportunity to ask bishops on their choice of endorser. I was told that they find Grace Poe suited for the commercial. Hmm. Really? CBCP just made the first dip into politics and nobody would like to believe otherwise.

The Philippines is indeed not Singapore and Singapore is not the Philippines.

Catch me live on weekdays at DZRH 6:00-7:30PM or you can reach me at


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Pilipinos deserve better , but we are easily misled by Media and Slogans like ” matuwad na daan ” . The Media dont really enlighten us but instead intentionally deceived us .

  2. DISPLINA ang kailangan ng bansa natin at maayos na lider. Di puede ang democratic form of gov’t kasi maraming abusado. Sa hirap ng buhay ngayon marami ang gusto ng easy money so they turn to drug pushing, holdups @ kung ano2 pa na illegal na activities. Ang END RESULT eh kabibila ang krimen.

  3. I’m a Filipino-American who left the Philippines 40 years ago. I have been back to the Philippines about seven times. Each visit to Metro Manila is pretty much more stressful, less enjoyable than the visit before it.

    The infamous Metro traffic is made even worse by many undisciplined Filipino drivers who ignore traffic rules. The streets are dirty, it’s the same condition as when I left 40 years ago. Don’t even ask me about the crime in the Metro!

    And oh, Philippine GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION! Do you have all day to discuss it???

    I’ve have laid over in Singapore a few times and have also read many good things about this rich and super-efficient city-state. I know Singapore is not a perfect place but it is very clean, safe, and mostly CORRUPTION-FREE.

    Oh, did I mention it is super rich?

  4. Stop blaming the Spaniards and Americans. That was centuries ago. American style free enterprise as other countries can attest works. In contrast to Europe for example where the upper and rich class is stagnant and stays almost the same, in America there is more movement of the otherwise “blue collar” people into the upper class. In other words there are more opportunities to succeed. Is American capitalism perfect – of course not but American wouldn’t be the power she is without the free market system.

    Our basic problem is we keep blaming the corrupt leaders but what do we do when a cop stops us – we bribe him. We bribe the tax collector and the the customs inspector. Unless there is a attitude change and a very strong leader at the top things will never change. We can’t even build a half decent commuter train sysytem!

  5. singapore is tiny, I could run it. Sigapore was luckily based on uk government principles; phlippines unfortunately had the double misfortune of inheriting first spanish then even worse,american capitalism-the rich get richer, the poor…well, you know the rest

    • on

      Harry stop blaming the Spaniards and Americans. Blame ourselves for we are part of a corrupt system. Remember what former Pres. MAnuel Quezon said? “I prefer the Philippines to be run like hell by Filipinos than to be run like heaven by Americans.” Had the PH remained a part of the US like Puerto Rico, a US protectorate state, life for all of us would have been different. The state of life we are all experiencing now, criminality, monstrous traffic jam, smuggling, kidnapping, carnapping, rape, you name , is what you get from the dreams of Quezon for the PH.

  6. This is what is wrong with Filipinos. when somebody had been to another place, he inflates his ego by telling just how wonderful the place he had been in and how miserable they are. It is colonial mentality.Time to be objective.

  7. We can simply apply or bring the progress of Singapore here in our country…gradually the changes are not that abrupt to be seen in here but at least we try hopefully if our leaders have good intention of running this nation…I always say it is not too late for us to compete if we have certain goal to aim high for the country…

    When it comes to population, we are far different from them, we have huge than there, they say mismanagement why Philippines seems there’s no progress at all! Probably if we find right leader to correct that mismanagement we can still pursue the progress that we aspire…

  8. philippines has nothing to compare with Singapore. Even the p, the first letter of the philippines was no longer a proper noun due to the image damaged by its own citizen.

    S for Singapore stand proudly that it belongs to a proper noun because of their discipline.