The Philippines is such a happening place lately. First, the 45th meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Governors was recently held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. It was interesting to note that the Aquino government’s preparation for the event was to cover up what they obviously considered an eyesore – the slums along the highway that runs from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to the convention center — by building a temporary fence. Their idea of doing a “little fixing up” of Manila is so 1970s, back when former first lady Imelda Marcos used to do it for international visitors. The Filipino people could not forget her for what she did then. PNoy’s administration is starting to look more and more like a copycat of past administrations. It’s no wonder that he is beset by the same problems.
[Photo courtesy Taipei Times.]
As usual, President Noynoy Aquino blamed former President Gloria Arroyo yet again and took credit for her work in his speech delivered in front of the ADB delegates. PNoy’s critics can pretty much predict his line of thinking and because of that, there is hardly any surprise at all when one finally hears him speak. One just gets a a feeling of déjà vu — that all of it, the speech and its message, had transpired before. And it has. Every chance he gets, PNoy takes the opportunity to blame his predecessor for his own shortfalls. Only his blind followers will not see through his style of deflecting people’s attention from his lack of real accomplishments.
One can be forgiven for saying that PNoy’s emotional intelligence is low because his speech was devoted to badmouthing GMA just to make his own administration look good. I mean, it’s one thing for PNoy to act vindictive in front of Filipinos but it is quite another that he would do the same with a bunch of highly-intellectual delegates from overseas. I’m sure they can do the math and see for themselves that most of what he is saying has not been proven in court yet. He wasn’t specific about the why and how of what he said; that “Gone are the days when the funds you funnel to our country will end up like water leaking through a broken pail.” Such allegations are quite unfounded considering GMA was never charged with gross misuse of funds coming from the ADB.
GMA herself was compelled to say the same that ADB czars know the truth about her. A text message has emerged on social networking sites supposedly coming from GMA in response to PNoy’s allegations. This is what has been going around:
It is good that PNoy chose ADB meeting to engage in his blame game. Asian finance czars know the undeniable gains achieved by our country & people in the past decade, including our fiscal turnaround which made Sec. Teves the Asian Finance Minister of 2009.
As reported by ADB itself, our nation rose from being ASEAN’s laggard to one of its fastest major economies in 2007-2010. In 2007, only Singapore’s 8.8% topped Phils’ 6.6% among original ASEAN 5.
In 2008, Thailand and Singapore trailed our 4.2%.
In 2009 global recession, only Indonesia & Phil grew. And in 2010, our 7.6% expansion beat Indonesia and Malaysia , and matched Thailand’s.
Now two years under Pnoy, growth is down, poverty & hunger are up, and he can only vilify the past for his failings.
The ADB delegates must have been secretly rolling up their eyes while PNoy was trying to grab credit from GMA’s work yet again. Doesn’t he realize that the country’s economy would have collapsed by now if all his allegations were true? How can PNoy sleep at night knowing that most of what he is alleging against GMA are baseless? It’s worth saying again that PNoy has done nothing significantly different from what the past administration was doing. He’s just trying to embarrass himself when he speaks ill of his predecessor.
PNoy’s interview with CNN’s Anna Coren was equally disappointing to say the least. The award-winning journalist sat down with PNoy as part of CNN’s “Eye on the Philippines” program. You could tell that Coren, who has interviewed dozens of foreign dignitaries around the world, was trying to probe PNoy about his fight against corruption, but PNoy’s lame responses left her with nothing to work with. It was apparent early into the interview that she wasn’t going to get a straight answer from him about anything.
When Coren asked PNoy how he would rate his progress on his promise to eradicate poverty, his answer was so far off course. Instead of giving Coren facts and figures, PNoy simply gave the journalist a narration of how when he was a congressman he spoke to about 80 graduating nurses and asked them how many of them were willing to stay and work in the country; he noticed that there were only about two or three students who raised their hand. To him this meant that in the past, the Filipino people were voting with their feet. PNoy didn’t say how many people are still willing to stay in the country now though. In other words, his response to Coren’s question was not really a valid answer.
PNoy wasn’t specific about how he formed the perception that poverty in the country is on its way out. Coren was too polite to bring up the poor’s favourite dish pagpag. Maybe PNoy didn’t want to hear about it too just like how Senator Tito Sotto didn’t want CNN featuring Filipinos eating their meals from garbage bins. Besides, I don’t even know why PNoy thinks that Filipinos who are forced to leave have other options other than to look for opportunities abroad. And if the OFWs weren’t willing to sacrifice leaving their family behind to look for a job overseas, our economy would be worse off without their remittances. It seems PNoy doesn’t even know what he is talking about.
When Coren asked PNoy how he is winning the battle against corruption, PNoy’s response was quick. According to PNoy, the fact that his predecessor is already in jail is a good indication that he is winning. Never mind that GMA is only in custody pending her trial against the charges of electoral sabotage only and not even for the other allegations of misuse of public funds that he keeps telling the public about. PNoy could have mentioned that she still hasn’t been convicted in court. But that would be too much to expect from someone whose response to such questions sound terribly scripted.
PNoy even boasted to Coren that he wants to “expedite” to ensure “conviction”. He said this as if railroading the case and ignoring due process is equivalent to getting justice for all parties involved including the accused. This prompted Coren to ask the obvious question: Is PNoy singling out GMA in his fight against corruption? PNoy’s response was as lame as the others. His only justification was that, as the Chief Executive, GMA should have done something about the transgressions during her time. Okay. If we are to follow his logic on this, then he should do something about the transgressions committed by public servants during his term. He should start with the Congressmen who allegedly signed the hastily- and badly-written articles of impeachment against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
PNoy and his supporters can continue fooling themselves into believing that everything is going well according to their plan. It’s a bit pointless to insist that it’s not because he is not open to criticism. He’ll just lump you with the people he calls “happy with the status quo”. The fact is, he is actually doing well to maintain precisely that status quo.