Things have turned for the worse for President BS Aquino. His public satisfaction rating is down 15 percentage points in just three months, between June and September this year. Fifteen points is equivalent to 15 million Filipinos—assuming a base population of 100 million people.
The global economy has turned for the worse, with growth slowing down to its slowest rate in three years and the prospect of debt default by the United States more real and imminent than at anytime in the history of the world.
“The risks to the global recovery from the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal deadlock in the United States, the impact of the withdrawal of monetary stimulus from the advanced economies, an abrupt slowdown of investment in China and unrests in the Middle East remain prominent,” says the World Bank in its latest review of the world economic outlook. “Growth in developing East Asia (excluding China) is expected to decline from 6.2% in 2012 to 5.2% in 2013, before rebounding to 5.3% and 5.7% in 2014 and 2015, respectively,” adds the bank.
Says the International Monetary Fund: “Global growth is still weak, its underlying dynamics are changing, and the risks to the forecast remain to the downside.”
“In particular, markets are increasingly convinced that US monetary policy is reaching a turning point, and this has led to an unexpectedly large increase in long-term yields in the United States and many other economies, notwithstanding the Federal Reserve’s recent decision to maintain its asset purchases. This change could pose risks for emerging market economies, where activity is slowing and asset quality weakening.
“Also, growth in China is slowing, which will affect many other economies, notably the commodity exporters among the emerging market and developing economies. At the same time, old problems––a fragmented financial system in the euro area and worrisomely high public debt in all major advanced economies––remain unresolved and could trigger new crises.
“While the damage to the US economy from a short shutdown is likely to be limited, a longer shutdown could be quite harmful.
“And, even more importantly, a failure to promptly raise the debt ceiling, leading to a US selective default, could seriously damage the global economy.”
The Philippines got an upgrade from the World Bank in forecast GDP growth to 7% this year. But 7% doesn’t seem like a sterling output because under-performing economies like Cambodia and Laos have been doing much better than us. Cambodia has done 7.1% GDP growth in 2011 and 7.3% in 2012 and will do 7.0% this year. Laos is no loser either. It achieved GDP growth of 8.0% in 2011, 8.2% in 2012 and will likely do 8.0% this year.
The Philippines is a much bigger country and a more sophisticated democracy – so I think. It should be held to higher standards of economic performance.
President BS Aquino claims to lead a matuwid na daan (straight path) government. It should be held to higher standards of integrity, morality and performance. Failure to meet those standards, at the slightest degree, should lead to quick and deep punishment.
Meanwhile, disasters like floods and earthquakes now visit the Philippines with boring regularity. Floods and traffic paralysis happen almost weekly in Metro Manila shutting down for a few days the source of 50% of national economic production. Yet, often, no action comes quickly from the matuwid na daan officials.
The net satisfaction rating of President BS Aquino fell to +49 in September this year, down 15 percentage points from +64 in June this year.
The 15-point drop is the steepest or sharpest ever in any three-month period for BS Aquino and reflects the deep and broad outrage of Filipinos with the massive stealing of pork barrel money by our politicians and leaders. Amazingly, the people identify Aquino with pork barrel. He is the pork barrel king.
Now 15 million Filipinos suddenly losing their satisfaction with BS Aquino as their President is a massive loss of popular support and political capital.
The number of people dissatisfied with his performance has increased dramatically, to 19%, up seven percentage points from 12% in June 2013, and by four percentage points from March 2013.
Pork barrel is corruption money. Is BS Aquino also the king of corruption? Go figure that out. What is clear is that among the top recipients of pork barrel money during the years 2007 to 2009 are Liberal Party stalwarts. In a single year, three senators helped themselves with P1.1 billion worth of pork barrel.
For the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, the largest recipients of pork barrel money are LP leaders and allies of BS Aquino in the House of Representatives and in Congress.
Chief Justice Renato Corona was removed May last year because he hid something like P80 million to P100 million cash and\or assets from his yearly statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). Please note that these amounts are private money, money the jurist has earned from fees as a lawyer, income from investments and just plain family inheritance over a period of years. This is not taxpayers’ money. Unlike pork barrel money—which is 100%, pure unadulterated taxpayers’ money. Your hard-earned money. My money. Our money. The people’s money.
Yet, how much did the senators who voted to oust Corona get in pork barrel—before, during and after the magistrate’s trial? P100 million. Possibly much more. P100 million pocketed by the honorable senators in a single deal, for just five months or less of so-called work as judges in the impeachment court.
In November 2010, after only five months in Malacañang, BS Aquino enjoyed a record high satisfaction rating of +64. This fell to as low as +46 in June 2011 and +42 in May 2012 but recovered strongly to +64 2013, after the wonderful victory of his Liberal Party coalition in the May 2010 elections in which the LP-backed candidates garnered a uniform 60-30-10 poll turnouts (60% for LP, 30% for the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, and 10% for the others). Ah, for the magic of PCOs machines. Being just machines, they can be programmed by an evil mind to do what the evil mind pleases.
So now, we are back to pollsters to plumb the public mind. To be sure, the two major pollsters, Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, are great admirers of BS Aquino. For another, they have made major mistakes before in their findings and their predictions. Still, for lack of any other reliable alternative, one has to reckon with their findings most of the time. Like the September 2013 survey of SWS on BS Aquino’s performance.