President Aquino promoted our image as ‘The Sick Man of Asia’


The President began his State of The Nation Address on Monday with these words (excluding “Good afternoon.”):

“This is my fifth SONA; only one remains. We have a saying: Those who do not look back to the past, will never get to where they wish to go. Therefore, today it is only right for us to reflect on what we have gone through.

“This was our situation in the past: To dream was an absurdity. We had a senseless bureaucracy; padded contracts had become the norm; and corruption was endemic to the system. We were known as the ‘Sick Man of Asia.’ The economy was weak; industry was sparse. We failed to gain the confidence of investors. The result: very few jobs were created. We found a people deprived of hope. Many of us had already given up, and were forced to take their chances in other countries. With heads bowed, we had come to accept that we would never be able to rely on our government or our society.”

He lied: To dream was not an absurdity during the presidency of Diosdado Macapagal, Ramon Magsaysay, the first and second Marcos terms and the first years of the Martial Law regime, the years of Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He lied: Our bureaucracy was never perfect, but it was not senseless.  Except for those corrupted by politicians, like today’s allies of Mr. Aquino, most government employees are rather good.

He lied: Corruption was endemic, true. But it still is and is even probably worse now than ever before–despite the good international press the “Daang Matuwid” slogan is getting.

He lied: We were not known as the ‘Sick Man of Asia.’ He promoted the belief that we were known as such.  He, his spokesmen and his spinmeisters made some local journalists assume that we were known as the Sick Man of Asia in their rosy reports about the economy and soon lazy foreign journalists also began using that lie in their stories.

He lied: The economy was not weak. During the Ramos years we were being called “the tiger cub” economy.  During the Macapagal-Arroyo years we survived the global financial crisis that laid low the whole world and we were being praised for being on a growth trajectory because of our “sound economic fundamentals.”

David Pilling, Asia Editor of the Financial Times, on June 11 wrote to correct the Aquino administration’s claims against the Macapagal-Arroyo presidency and claims of being responsible for the GDP success surge these past four years.

“Much of what the government of President Aquino had achieved over the last four years is primarily attributable to Arroyo’s legacy,” Pilling wrote.  He also wrote:
“Although his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was deeply unpopular and accused of overseeing a corrupt administration, much of the improvement in economic fundamentals can be dated to her government.”

Pilling also tried to ease worries that Philippine growth would stop once President Aquino leaves office.  “In truth, some of the macro-economic improvements have been the fruit of policy changes outside his administration, particularly at the central bank.”

We are praying for the miracle that the President turns over a new leaf and becomes more honest in his efforts to combat corruption by going after the bad eggs in his Cabinet.

May he become more truthful in assessing the state of our nation—and stop peddling the lie that we were once called the Sick Man of Asia.  May he admit that he and his men were the ones who persuaded the international press to give us that label so they could praise him for turning our country into the “Strong and Healthy Man of Asia.”


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  1. Our country is one of the hardest to govern nation. All people are very intelligent. During Marcos regime almost everyone shouts “Marcos down”. During Cory time coup d etat to overthrow Cory. During Ramos sangkatutak din na rally. Na elect si Erap pinauso ang edsa 3. Time ni Gloria panay kurakot daw ginawa. Ngayon Kay Pres. Noy dami nyo paring disgusto… Nag SONA ang pangulo ang inantay yung pwedeng kontrahin. Ayaw matawag na sick man of asia e ano ba tingin nyo sa bansa natin now. Namamaxal lang ang turista, dudukutan, nanakawan, papatayin. Pinagtiwalaan ng pork barrel, ibinulsa. Mga bigas na NFA inilipat sa commercial sacks… Bibigyan ng relief ng ibang bansa, nabulok ang bigas…npakrami pa.. Masakit din sa akin to bilang Pilipino pero nagagamot lang ang sakit pag binigyan ito ng pansin pero pag ayaw mo tanggaping may sakit ka walang mangyayari sa yo.

  2. David. M..Meyer on

    I have only live in the Philippines for about 6 years…

    .But i have gleaned a few facts; around 20 years ago, this country was about 3rdor 4th best performing economically in the region .

    I may be a little out regards the chronology..

    If our president is calling us a “sick ” country is not because the people made it that way !
    It is the fact that the life blood of the country was sucked dry ; by a succession of very corrupt leaders and their cronies

    As an onlooker–I am pleased to see the attempts of this administration ..In bringing many; to have to , an inquiry to answer charges..

    At least some attempt is being made to stop-This “Blood drainage” which amounts to billions of peso’s..

    We see now; people embolden to speak out ,and ask questions..

    ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time ==
    And fool all the people some of the time==
    But you cant fool all the people all of the time ”

    Maybe this country will–start to make headway once again—

    Because from I have observed ,the people are so Innovative,and hard working …

    ..They deserve decent Leadership

    God bless you all!

    David M Meyer

  3. I am not a pro or anti Aquino administration, but only i wanted is to ask from anyone of you who commented and will comment soon on this issue. who will run and lead our country with sincere heart. Is there any suggestion from you guys.. for all I know, those people who are always commenting has nothing to do but only words is it right? why not apply your ideas…. all the politics who would like to run in the presidency down to barangay officials are all corrupt. sad to say that only few had sincere heart to serve our country. where are this people?

    Time now to evaluate ourselves. but what about those we called MASANG PILIPINO. DO THEY UNDERSTAND THIS THINGS. maybe only few of them also.

    when money talks they forget everything. Tell me now…. evil is portraying almost in every human being…. now… are you going to help or just critics of someone.

    If government is not doing well, then we as pilipino people should help each other, we are not born perfect. mistakes are there to be corrected… simple suggestion… do it first to yourself then family, neighborhood up to barangay level, let’s see what will happen…


    • Americans suffered the same fate as we have now. You can dream and hope that someday a right guy we are looking for will come. I just hope during my lifetime. But Yen’s job is to give an opinion with facts as his breadbasket and he excels and honest In it.

  4. Ronald Agustin on

    The Aquino approach to everything is very simple.

    If something bad happens blame it to somebody else .

    If something good happens then lay claim to it and praise itself for achieving it.

  5. Iba na naman ang pinoportray ng mga kaalyado ni Pnoy lalung lalon na si Trillanes na sa copu rumors. Bakit?Takot ba siya sa coup eh gawain nya yun. Kung ganoon ang perception ni Trillanes eh baka di malayong magka coup.Hehehehe.Ku-kuru-ku KU!

  6. I strongly believe that history will be kind to GMA and be cruel to the Thief Executive. I will be very happy to see him languishing in jail…for justice has been done.

  7. In short it was Thief Executive PNoy who made the Philippines and is now called the “sick man of asia.” It is his fault why the country is now in the gutter.