Columnist Francisco S. Tatad’s piece “The end of a myth” that appeared yesterday begins with the following three paragraphs that invited scores of profound comments from our readers.
“To say that President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s ‘isolation is now complete,’ as my friend and colleague Yen Makabenta says in an earlier piece on this page, may be an overstatement, but The New York Times’ August 28, 2014 editorial on ‘Political Mischief in the Philippines’ marks a significant shift in the coverage of the Philippines by the world press.
“The Times, arguably the world’s most powerful newspaper, has apparently decided to take the lead. We should welcome it.
“Crimes, and high crimes at that, (not simple mischief), with serious implications to our moral, spiritual and democratic existence, have been committed by the Philippine head of state. But none of these have merited any attention from the normally alert and eagle-eyed American press. None of the learned American journals, academics or public intellectuals appear to have noticed either.”
We have written about this a number of times in earlier editorials. One of which we gave the title “WB, ADB, Davos big wheels, other int’l agencies should recant.”
A Manila Times reader, Eddie de Leon, has sent in this incisive and piquant comment about Mr. Tatad’s “End of a Myth” piece:
“Obviously the foreign press and media organizations, which have correspondents living in Manila, were ordered by their editors back home to work as President Aquino’s propagandists. Otherwise how could they, the journalists in the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines (FOCAP)–to a man and woman–have suppressed the truth?
“One of these truths–which President Aquino lied about in his very first SONA–is the state of the economy. Some of the FOCAP journalists wrote good articles about the state of the Philippine economy under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Why did they not write that PNoy had lied about the state of the economy in his July 2010 SONA. Why didn’t they write about the disastrous cancellation by PNoy of ongoing projects begun under former President Arroyo, that [the]cancellation of which caused the dismal GDP numbers at the end of 2010?
“Now they will tell the truth about the corruption and wrongdoings in the Aquino Administration. The statement made by US Ambassador Goldberg in the news story published by The Manila Times said ‘Good governance is what will attract American investors to the Philippines.’ This means the US Ambassador is at last saying that the glowing reports about the good governance of Aquino in the American press these past four years–thanks to the reports by FOCAP journalists–are wrong. There is no good governance in our country and that is why foreign direct investments from the US are just as little as in the Arroyo administration.”
During the Macapagal-Arroyo years, the world press, the World Bank, ADB and the Davos bosses praised the Philippines and the Arroyo administration for an annually improving rate of growth and for introducing reforms in the Philippine economy. The credit rating agencies were giving the Philippines higher and higher marks, in a trajectory that finally won the Philippines the investment grade rating—when Aquino was already president. But the high marks given by Moody’s, S&Ps and Fitch were not the result of Aquino’s work. For the work was all done by the previous administration (despite its corruption), by the Bangko Sentral and the Overseas Filipino Workers—the OFWs, who gave our economy its “sound fundamentals” and continue to do so.
Then during the campaign for the presidency and when he became president, Mr. Aquino, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Budget Secretary Abad and the Palace Communications people fabricated a narrative that President Aquino rescued the Philippine economy from the comatose state the Macapagal-Arroyo administration had caused it to be in.
And World Bank, ADB, Davos bigwigs and the world press agreed!
They should all recant. They should be more honest than Aquino, Abad and Purisima—and help tell the Filipino people the truth.