What a country!

15

Jihadist terrorism has stricken the West with fear and anger, and the battle they fight is a kind of war taken straight from the medieval ages that modern society may not be equipped to confront. How can you fight a people who believe they are warriors for God, who see the innocents as infidels and the murderers as heroes deserving of precious rewards in the hereafter?

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And whether we like it or not, the tide of blood poured onto the ground will soon spread to our shores. We have a significant Muslim population—a mostly poor one as in Syria and Iraq—living in their own world and territory. Let’s not kid ourselves—we’re the only country in Asia with an independent Islamic army that runs its own armed camps, thanks to the delusion of this President that he could win the Noble Prize by fooling the rebel troops into surrendering their arms.

The US invasion of Iraq had unleashed a Pandora’s box of sectarianism and religious fanaticism in the Middle East, creating a condition in which incidents such as Turkey’s shooting of Russian jets could get out of control and lead to regional, or even global, conflagration. How much could the price of oil jump if that happened, and how could our industries survive, given that 70 percent of them are dependent on that commodity for fuel?

Ok, forget the rest of the world. Just take a look at our country. Every decade, a neighbor in Asia overtakes us in terms of prosperity, measured as GDP (gross domestic product) per capita.

South Korea and Malaysia overtook as in the 1960s, Thailand in the 1980s, Indonesia in the 1990s. In the past 14 years our GDP per capita grew by only 50 percent; that of Vietnam by 100 percent. Yet, idiots like the foreign news reporters and this President keep boasting that we are Asia’s emerging tiger.

Vietnam will be overtaking us soon. To teach us a lesson for being the vanguard of the fight against its territorial claims in the South China (West Philippine Sea), China has been and will be pouring billions of renminbi in aid and investment in Vietnam, a suitable replacement for us as a market similar to ours in size.

Vietnam is also fiercely nationalistic and has been formulating and implementing the kind of national economic plans similar to what Asia’s economic tigers, China and Malaysia, have done.

Here in our own land, leaders and economists are all free-market believers, even if the UNCTAD and such former neoliberal zealots as the World Bank’s chief economist, Joseph Stiglitz, about a decade ago debunked that old “privatization, deregulation, and liberalization” paradigm.

The OFW Dutch disease
Worse, our growth has really been an artificial one, and even carries a certain economic disease. Our economic growth has been due to OFW remittances for more than two decades now. Such inflows account for about 10 to 12 percent of GDP, more than Pakistan’s 7 percent, India’s 3 percent, and in Indonesia, which used to be a big labor exporter, less than a percent as of 2014.

The impact of OFW remittances on our economy is much broader as it funds the huge consumer power that explains why SM malls, Jollibee restaurants and Megaworld condos have been sprouting around like mushrooms.

Did you foolishly think it was due to increased incomes of workers employed here, or to a booming export sector? Which leads us to that “disease” I referred to, called in economics as the “Dutch disease.”

That is the negative economic impact of anything that gives rise to sharp inflows of foreign currency, in our case the OFW remittances, where other countries would, instead, mostly have the discovery of large oil reserves. The currency inflows have led to the strengthening of the peso, weakening our export sector – the undisputed engine of growth for the so-called Asian economic tigers.

What exactly do we do to fix our economy when our manufacturing, and especially the export sectors, have become anemic – the result not only of OFW remittances but of the laissez-faire policies we have adopted since 1986?

The Supreme Court decided that the law that could have helped us mitigate our runaway population was unconstitutional. So what do we do, forget about it?

No way that the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be passed now with its lies exposed. So what do we do with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, to which this inane President promised the moon? The insurgents will definitely retaliate, and pretend a fury for being betrayed. Are we planning for that?

A metropolis of 12 million, and probably a further 10 million traveling through during the week on infrastructure basically vintage 1990s; a deteriorating quality of education, partly another result of the OFW phenomenon given that many of our teachers have left abroad to be the world’s most qualified domestic workers – what do we do to solve those huge problems?

And more: A crime situation so prevalent that TV news could only rely on video provided by private closed-circuit television for public broadcast. A legal system so bad that a regional trial court judge has a backlog of cases of at least 1,000, many for crimes alleged to be committed ten years ago. The Ombudsman keeps filing cases at the Sandiganbayan, whose case-backlog, however, is even worse than that of the trial court, that its statistics show it takes seven years on average for a case to be resolved.
 
A depressing litany
I can go on and on with a litany of the country’s problems that will ruin your day.

What’s more depressing, though, is that our economic elite don’t seem to care at all, as long as people are buying their products. If the market becomes saturated, then they move on to other countries, as Henry Sy has done building several malls in China; Carlos Chan constructing Oishi noodle factories in that country, as the Ayalas are building property projects in Vancouver. There can only be so much cheap-whiskey addicts in a poor country, so whiskey magnate Andrew Tan has bought renowned European liquor companies geared for the global market.

But there is another depressing thought, which is really the point of this column:

Are such problems as these discussed in this political season when we are soon to choose leaders who are supposed to lift the country out of its poverty, so that at least the children and grandchildren of millions of Filipinos now living a life of hell on earth can hope for a better future?

Are our candidates for the highest posts in the land discussing such areas of utmost concern to us the same way the US presidential candidates tackle key issues confronting America today as migration, health care, strategy to combat Islamic jihadism?

I don’t think so.

Damn her. Because of her own unique problem, our brightest minds and writers have been forced to debate obscure issues such as the difference between a natural-born and naturalized citizen, the nature of international laws, and even the relevance of DNA analysis on citizenship. Does she have a very special quality or magical skill to give her the right to mess up political discourse for the 2016 elections?

She offers a list of 20 things “na aayusin niya,” as if running a government was a simple matter of coming up with a list of household to-dos.

Damn them. Duterte has taken us to the really sophomoric discussion of whether it’s better for us to just kill to get rid of all suspected criminals. Hasn’t that issue been settled at least a hundred years ago? He spices up the campaign by disclosing his sexual abuse under the Jesuits, burying his advocacy for a federalist form of government, which is a really important issue, or his plan on how he would deal with his MILF and NPA friends if he wins as President.

Binay focuses on his being the only real candidate who came from the poor. But we know that. What we don’t know is what his program of government really would be.

Roxas just intones the yellow party’s sickening Tuwid na Daan mantra as if he were high on hash, and simply lies about his boss Aquino’s past five years. Will he just carry on Aquino’s huge dole-out and vote-buying scheme called the conditional cash transfer? (Local political operatives are now cleverly, or sarcastically, telling CCT areas that the program will be “conditional:” on Roxas’ victory.

Meanwhile, with hundreds of millions of pesos (where did he get that?) he buys off celebrities’ favor to endorse him: celebrity politics to the extreme. That seems to be Roxas’ real strategy to win in 2016, even as the veteran of a hundred election contests, former Comelec head Sixto Brillantes says quite seriously, really, that even a nuisance candidate can beat him.

Don’t bother to ask Roxas what, if he becomes President, he would do with the MRT-3 mess, or if, as a former trade and industry secretary, he thought we should adopt what the Asian Tigers and the emerging cubs have been doing: to direct industrial policy. He’ll just say “bahala na ang tuwid na daan diyan.”

What a country, indeed. The word that best describes our exercise in democracy next year is Duterte’s favorite expression, that which he will be known for in the annals of our history: putangina.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

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15 Comments

  1. The Philippines has a litany of problems which can not be solved no matter who wins the election in 2016. The GDP is a better measure of a country’s progress rather than GDP per capita because our population growth maybe a lot higher than our neighbors. We also have to take into account the population density since there are now 103 million Filipinos in a very small area.

    It is foolish to expect that poverty can be solved and economic growth can lift everyone. Most of the rich people will always be richer and most of the poor people will remain in poverty. This is true even in America. There’s a few rags to riches stories but here are just too many hurdles to overcome for a poor person to become rich, no matter how smart he or she is.

    Some people will always be unhappy with the President, just like Obama in the USA. But nobody can meet everybody’s expectations. The best is to take a survey of their perfomance and let the results speak for themselves.

    Another way is to ask the same question US President Reagan asked ” Are you better off today than when Gloria Arroyo’s administration ended?

    Or, we can do a survey asking “who do you think is the best President since Marcos was deposed? Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Arroyo or P-Noy? The rankings can be published for everybody to know.

  2. The next president should focus his first year on Metro Manila, improve transport system, implement living wage, mass housing program, strict regulation to health and safety, start to decongest the capital, moving away factories, universities out of the capital, replan, rezone, redesigned every cities for livable cities..then his following years to the component cities, making M.Manila as blue print..revive local/rural economies, legislating that middlemen as illegal, giving farmer families direct hand dealing their products with manufacturers or outlets!!It is about time that majority benefits on our economic gains or else the entire country will be the most dangerous part of the world to live in!!

  3. maximo p fabella on

    We are indeed a unite country. Our people, strong, resilient and able. Our OFWs
    more heroic that President Benigno Aquino III

  4. The best thing for a corrupt officials is to invest their loots here not in abroad. in this way, the can alleviate some worries of the unemployed by creating jobs.

  5. hahahaha, natawa na lang ako. The write’s final word is the best comment anyone can give to this country. Nakakalungkot at nakakahiya na talaga ang Pilipinas. Putang Ina talaga, hahaha.

  6. I hope Mr. Tiglao you will keep on telling the Filipino people to wake up and see what is really best for our country.
    The problem is that we keep harping what is suppose to be right but us people are so callous we are just so numb we don’t do anything about it.

  7. Who made this country what it is today? Who else but these Ninoy Aquino-worshipping Cory Yellows. Therefore, regardless of what problems we are now facing, the priority is to, first, get rid of all these yellows and give the government back to the people.

  8. Tama po kayo sa inyong mga commentario, dagdagan ko lang po ng kaunti si nasirang SEN. BENIGNO “NINOY” AQUINO kung meron lang siyang paraan ngayong kahit na siya ay nanahimik sa kanyang hukay ay baka bumangon at idisown ang kanyang apelyedo na AQUINO sa kanyang namayapang asawa na naging DIKTADOR mas masahol pa kay dating nasirang MARCOS kay MARCOS batas militar to contain insurgency rebellion pero imiiral ang lahat ng government instrumentalities ng ayon sa CONSTITUTION at LAW at sa kanyang ANAK ngayon. Sa Panahon ni DIKTATOR CORY kahit maiikli lang ito ay pinaka evil sa lahat una
    nag declare ng REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT WITH FREEDOM CONSTITUTION, kicked out her VP Doy Laurel, mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, artificial or fictious black out nationwide, importations of diesel fired power plants, ipinamigay ang pagaari ng mga tao katulad ng MERALCO, constructions of outlawed coal fired power plants, all of this gave rise to the OLIGARCHS empowered by DICTATOR CORY if not all of them has priority access to the government back financing loan to the detriment of poor filipino people, it was followed up by Liberal Party dominated allied with DICTATOR CORY firing all elected Governors and Mayors natiowide, then enactment of P S A L M which contracts dominated by OLIGARCHS the fictious excess power electricity was paid by the government thanks to Senator Drilon in the Senate. These OLIGARCHS rich to richer courtesy of DICTATOR CORY. Now, under PNOY his leadership LIKE ADOLF HITLER and LP like Nazi Party continue the legacy of DICTATOR CORY, he tried to kick out his VP Jejomar Binay, tried to jail opposition, removed CJ Corona, pdaf, dap, insertions, and lump sum and illegal savings, cancellations of government contracts which we make payments up to now for non compliance to contracts. He likewise, mothballled again Bataan Nuclear Power Plant despite of the recommendation of cong. Marck cojuangco based on the study that it is efficient, clean, and not costly and will give back to the people low cost of electricity. AGAIN OLIGARCHS dominated the power sector industry continue construction of outlawed coal fired power plants that give us unclean air in violation of the CLEAN AIR ACT. This again OLIGARCHS were in priority list for government back guaranteed loans up to 2020 for power investment amounting to Php450 billion. My Goodness paano nila nasisikmura ang ganitong kalakaran kahit saan meron tumingin ka lang nandiyan sila.
    NGAYONG, kung buhay si Sen. NINOY AQUINO baka tanggalin niya ang nakakabit niya apelyedi nakakahiya at matitira rin ang Cojuangco baka ganon din ang gawin ng mga Cojuangco idi disown nila. Hay naku. . .MAGAGALING DAW SILA AYON SA KANILA MABUBUTI RAN SILA AYON DIN SA KANILA PAGNASALITA SILA SILA RAW ANG MAGAGALING HINDI KATULAD NG MARCOSES ME KASALANAN SA BAYAN. Ayaw ni NINOY ng ganito bakit ko nasabi lahat ng ito, nakalimot o sadyang kinalimutan dahil sa utang na loob o vested interest, meron speech si Ninoy in fact na panood ko ang broadcast ilang ulit sa PTV4 Channel ang buod ng sabi ni NINOY ang mga pautang na guaranted ng government ichannel niya hindi sa mga OLIGARCHS ito ay ilalaan sa mga mag nenegosyo na para sa industrialization ng bansa dahil alam niya ang industrialization ang susi sa kaunlaran.

    NGAYON ULIT TAMA BA SI NINOY AQUINO O SI DICTADOR CORY AT SI ADOLF HITLER DICTATOR PNOY. kayo ang humusga

    • Kung Talino ang pagbabasihan at kakayahang mamuno Si SENATOR MIRIAM SANTIAGO lang ang nakikita kong Nagtataglay nito… Magsimula tayo sa ating sarili iboto ang nararapat at hwag ang ini idolo.. Iboto ang Tunay na matuwid walang bahid ng corruption at hwag yung nakikisakay lang sa Tuwid na daan kuno… Kailangan natin ng President that can Unifies us as a Filipno not a PINOY

  9. Leodegardo Pruna on

    One left of Amb. Tiglao enumeration of presidential candidates- lady MIRIAM could be the shining star with an excellent partner just in case. God bless the Philippines.

    • marilou barriquand on

      …We have to take the risk always…without the risk…there will be no solution…

  10. The Philippines, by IMF estimates will be the 14th biggest economy in the world by the year 2034. How it will happen is anybody’s guess.

    How it will come about is based on how some EU member nations are falling out of the equation caused by their own problems and; based on the global shift that former World Bank president John Wolfensohn said that the economic wealth that the European countries and the US have enjoyed for centuries have now come to an end as a result of what he called a tectonic shift of 80/20 % wealth enjoyed by the Europeans and the US will now become a 65/30 % wealth distribution in favor of Asia and the remaining 5% to be shared by the nations of Africa and Latin America.

    If there is anything that will hold a Philippine economic leap to happen is the country’s huge over population problem. Filipinos should not bring children into this world if they can not provide the basic shelter, food, clothing and education for their children. They blame government and society for the problems that they bring. I think it is criminal and irresponsible. It must stop.

    • The people is our wealth, what else is keeping this country economically afloat but the OFW who are regularly sending those precious dollars that their dependents are enjoying through quality education and style of living. If China become the fire spitting dragon through their billion of population our country becoming a tiger economy is not far fetch depending of who will wield the power to do it and D30 have that cunning ability and political will to do it.