PSE’s all-time high and Mr. Aquino’s all-time low in sync, easy to explain

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THE defenders of Mr. Aquino have been shaking their heads in endless frustration. They point to the intersection of two figures, the first of which was about a milestone feat for the Philippine Stock Exchange: it reached a historic high, the 8,000 territory. Meanwhile the SWS, the polling firm, reported that the satisfaction rating of the president has dived to an all-time low, a precarious 11 percent.

Plus, with the findings of a US-based think-tank, which boldly asserted that the Philippines is now the most resilient emerging economy in the world, the defenders are at a loss explaining what seems to be a great disconnect: a president pushing growth to the limits and the people’s lack of appreciation for the work of their beloved president. Are Filipinos that ungrateful?

Is Mr. Aquino just like a prophet of the old times – unappreciated in his own land?

But is there really a great disconnect? Or are the two figures, the PSE’s all-time high and Mr. Aquino’s all-time low, normal expectations, things which are bound to happen, under the administration of Mr. Aquino? Which is which?


The answer? There is no disconnect between the two figures. They are perfectly in sync. And the whys are not even hard-to-grasp, complex issues.

From 2010 up to today, Mr. Aquino has pursued a tough and unrelenting growth-at-all-cost policy. The regulatory and fiscal environment was designed for capital to flourish. There was no humanity to that policy as Mr. Aquino is a John Galt on steroids. For as long as Mr. Aquino’s paper chase was fulfilled — his lust for GDP growth, credit upgrades and a thriving bourse — Mr. Aquino assumed not much else need to be done.

Even the optics of his presidency validated that one-track effort, his resoluteness, in attaining solid growth figures and nothing else. One who cannot even commiserate with victims of great tragedies (remember his reaction to the question on whether he would attend the wake of Jennifer Laude), Mr. Aquino lights up and lightens up in the company of the plutocrats and oligarchs.

If that growth caused the spread opportunities all around, if those nice charts resulted in a broadly based prosperity, fine. If not, Mr. Aquino would just shrug off and play deaf and blind to the Social Darwinism of his growth-at-all-cost policies. Mr. Aquino is a leader who has not probably read the greatest and loftiest speech of all time – The Sermon on the Mount.

Every now and then Mr. Aquino invokes an empty slogan – inclusive growth — to demonstrate that there is a sliver of humanity to his growth agenda. But it is all lip service. The fact is this: before Mr. Aquino, “ inclusive growth” was a phrase with a sense of purpose. Now, it is not even worth “ a pitcher of warm spit.” The definition of “ inclusive growth” made by his Cabinet secretary in a talk before business groups was a classic in Orwellian formulation.

Mr. Almendras’s definition of “inclusive growth” validated this universal truth: Atrocious language is atrocious policy.

For about four years, Mr. Aquino had gotten away with his growth-at-all-cost policy, even if the costs to ordinary human lives of his elitist policies were horrific. The 1 percent favored by Mr. Aquino built their surging and impossible wealth level on the backs of the working class – whose organizing and bargaining power had been completely eviscerated.

In the malls and retail establishments owned by the 1 percent, the salary scales of the workers would make the Waltons and McDonald owners the paragon of enlightened capitalism.

In the rural areas, where almost 30 percent of the work force live off marginal farms, poverty has been brutal and wrenching.

The social safety nets are a joke. The body politics even regards the meager cash transfer program, whose yearly fund is just barely 2 percent of the national budget, as “ bloated.”

Mr. Aquino, amid the ever-bulging wealth of his beloved 1 percent, remains allergic to the words inequality and redistribution. Even after a beloved visitor, Pope Francis, made the caring of the poor and the condemning of inequality as the main themes of his visit.

The response to Yolanda exposed the hollowness, the lack of a human component of Mr. Aquino’s growth- at- all- cost policies. It was at this point that many noticed the president’s utter inability to relate to public suffering. And his lack of concern for the unfortunate.

Then came the Mamasapano carnage, which demonstrated that except on matters that would improve his nice growth charts, the presidency was either clueless or incompetent. Or, out of touch with reality.

The 11 percent is the verdict of the faceless and the voiceless. You don’t care about us. We don’t care about you either.

It is payback time. The president can have the most bullish stock exchange in the nation’s history. But he can’t have the appreciation and the love of the governed.

Marlen Ronquillo
mvronq@yahoo.com

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15 Comments

  1. Bert O. Romero on

    But what regulatory and fiscal policies has the Aquino administration adopted to make the Philippines the second, next to China , most dynamic country in Asia ? Except for shrill rhetoric amplified by some media outlets and serendipity – Pinoy has been the lucky heir to his most hated predecessor GMA who in fact put into place the essential tax, monetary , fiscal and investment policies – one is unable to recall any policy, much less, action which explains the growth trajectory these past years. Skyrocketing stock exchange index ? Think US Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) policy of releasing $85 B a month to address the 2007-2009 sub prime crisis in the US which has encouraged foreign investors to grab shares of stocks of Philippine companies , in addition to taking advantage of the Philippines’ relatively higher interest rate of more than one percent to US ‘ lower than one percent interest rate. Definitely, the Aquino administration has nothing to do with this unprecedentedly positive stock market development. This fact, however, has not prevented this administration from claiming credit for this stock market performance. The recent Fed meeting which resulted to the high likelihood of tempering QE and raising interest rate to more than one percent by the second half of this year has made the Philippine market jittery and the likelihood of a correction anytime this year. Coupled with the long anticipated price correction of oil which may occur also this last quarter of 2015, this double whammy will reveal the bankruptcy in terms of policy and action of this Emperor Aquino regime. Indeed, the emperor has no clothes! It is uncertain whether 2016presidential elections and the accompanying campaign expenses starting in the latter part of this year will be sufficient to compensate and turn around the expected economic downturn of the Philippines in 2015-2016. We’ll see if Pinoy’s legendary luck in being fortuitously at the receiving end of serendipitous accident will work this time around.
    Investment incentives ? The Philippines continues to be Asia’s laggard in being the destination of foreign direct investments (FDI) among the original ASEAN Six. It’s much crowed about FDI of $3.5 B last year is peanuts compared to Vietnam’s $7.8 B, Indonesia’s $12.5B, Thailand’s $17.3 B, Malaysia’s 22.9 B or Singapore’s $39.5B. The Philippines’ outgoing FDI had always been greater than its incoming FDI – think of Henry Sy’s malls in China, Lucio Tan’s mall in Guam and his numerous investments in Papua New Guinea embracing practically all economic activities, etc. It will not come as a shock if outgoing Philippine FDI is greater than its incoming. And what has this administration done to stem this outflow ? ZERO !
    Infrastructure projects? The entire country reportedly will suffer from electrical shortage starting this year because of shortage in this administration’s foresight in planning for power generation infrastructure. Roads, bridges, ports, airports, etc ? Please point them out to us. Outside of patch work repairs of these physical infrastructures, has the administration’s PPP projects taken off aside from press releases proclaiming the supposed schedules of biddings? Have the biddings been held actually?
    Exports of $53B compared to imports of $48 B? Can exports then be the country’s vehicle for economic growth like China, South Korea, Taiwan and now Vietnam? Would a net export of $5B be sufficient to catapult the Philippines to be the next Asian tiger?
    Agriculture? A single digit yearly figure has been agriculture’s proud contribution to the country’s GDP. And to think that it’s only the Philippines which has two agriculture secretaries. Maybe a third is needed?
    Manufacturing/ industry ? Don’t cry for me Filipina!
    The Philippines’ vehicle for positive growth is the continuing export of human labor, a modality for development that is not even mentioned much less discussed in polite company of international development experts. This has been the mainstay of this administration as source of foreign reserves that even the Department of Foreign Affairs has become virtually another Department of Labor whose personnel , led by its esteemed secretary , has become experts on visiting distressed Filipinos abroad. Yet you still wonder what happened to our bilateral relations with PROC, our leading role in ASEAN , a respected voice in multilateral bodies and a self- respecting sovereign nation ? But of course visiting jailed Filipinos abroad would gain the foreign secretary that much-needed boost of media coverage which is completely non-existent in preparing well-researched multi – dimensional presentation papers on the Sabah issue.
    Business process outsourcing (BPO ) is the other pillar of the country’s economic development strategy. What has this Aquino administration done to improve on the immediately preceding GMA administration which laid the foundation for a robust BPO industry. Again, none. Indeed, it is true that sometimes non- action is also policy. But it’s a policy that has to be complemented with luck. And not all presidents are lucky bastards, as one governor once said.

  2. Hector David on

    Government allies and the Oligarchs are raking it in ….. They are drowning in a sea of wealth . But the middles clas is blessing and SME’s are chokes by the BIR …..BSAlll has all but destroyed the very fabric of society … Check and balance …. He controls Congess and the Judiciary plus has instilled fear of reprisals in his critics .. The problem is he has no plan and is going nowhere .. Even the Nobel peace prize at the cost of tearing up the country seems elusive … He is.a real Nowhere man

  3. Tama lang ang ganyang pagtingin ng mamamayan!sa mapagmataas at mapagmalinis na pangulo!!
    Hindi porke nakagawa ka ngmabuti sa iilan nnakikinabang,puedi na siyang gumawa ng maraming ka gaguhan!
    Kapag may kasalanan dapat mong pagbayaran!

  4. Aquino has a hero complex, he only pursues thing he thinks would elevate his status as a “hero”. He believes he is a hero because he has delusion of grandeur. What a psych president we have! so messed up in his head, and worse, he does not even know it. Plus, his sipsip boys, clap their hands and say “yes sir!”. That is their role.

    • Aquino has a hero complex – developed from constant immersion in video games. We have president with a child’s mental state!

  5. Amnata Pundit on

    It is not just this BS’s policies that are at fault but the entire yellow regime. If we have the misfortune of seeing another yellow president after this retardate’s term then nothing will change. There can be no meaningful change as long as the yellows are in power.

  6. The country’s taipans, mall moguls and oligarchs are in their heydays. They are the cream of this 1percent blood suckers. Meanwhile, the sweats and blood of our OFW’s keep on lubricating the engine of growth leading the maddening crowd of consumers gobble the items on the stalls to the utmost pleasure of Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, Lucio Co, etc. And what is the being done by the intelligentsia? Glued on TV, social media like twitter, face book, never minding the burgeoning social divide and entertained by program packages prepared by the media oligarchs through the information vehicles put in service by the telco multi-billioners. And, Aquino’s economic managers shout “hallelujah” with shut eyes and laden pockets.

    • Hector David on

      Do you honestly think these guys on top govt post have not benefited from the froth of the taipans… Come on .. Inside info.. Shares of stocks … Many other wsys

    • Ikabod Bubwit on

      What we need is a continuation of the 1896 revolution that was launched by the Katipuneros led by Andres Bonifacio but which was sadly nipped in the bud by US imperialism.

  7. Roldan Guerrero on

    The Japanese Secret of success is just the implementation of simple 3 undertakings: No.1 is HONESTY, No.2 is DICIPLINE and No.3 is HARD WORK. Why cant we do this in the Philippines?

  8. Roldan Guerrero on

    The reason that I know is there is no NATIONALISM for every Filipinos. Lets take a glance of the Japanese success,The Japanese people are the most nationalistic people in this planet. Up to these days, they only use products of their own.In Japan, the japanese people do not ask for tax refund. Only foreighners do it, Filipinos mostly are the people around to ask tax refunds at the ending of fiscal year. They even resort to declaring fictitious dependents to redeem back all taxes they paid. The Japanese dont do it because they know this is the only way they can contribute something to keep their country on top. Most countries in asia except the Philippines follow the Japanese example as the best step to attain progress. It is so indicative that countries who remained loyal to Japan during WW2 are the most progressive ones in Asia while those who recognized America, in w/c the Philippines is one among them, are the poorest and lagging in every aspect of progress.

  9. Ruben V. Calip on

    Perfect description as usual of the Aquino administration’s abandonment of the farmers, peasants, common hog-raisers and poultry-raisers, vegetable gatherers, fishermen, clam and oyster divers, public market vendors and very very many more in the agricultural-fishing sector.

    But this pro-corporate business and never-mind-the-poor policy will continue under the succeeding administrations because the Smartmatic-PCOS machines will make sure the Aquino and LP rulers get elected not by the Filipino electorate but by the commands given to the PCOS machine IT cards by Smartmatic techies. This happenend in 2010 and 2013 and will happen again and again as long as these Smartmatic Automated Election Systen using the maipulated PCOS machines are used. But the Comelec Bosses insist on on the same procedure used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

    So, for our Republic’s survival a an electoral democracy let’s OCCUPY COMELEC!!!!