With elections a little
over a week away, Filipinos need to take a long and hard look at who they
are choosing to lead them for the next three to six years—for the
Philippines is a country sorely lacking in leadership. For decades we have
been electing celebrities, entertainers, and relatives of past and present
politicians who are totally unfit for public service. They have neither the
training, the experience, nor the intellect needed to properly do the job
voters elected them to do.
If anyone doubts this to be
the case, they only need look at how far down the Philippines has fallen
since it gained independence from the United States in 1946. Back then the
country was a serious player in all of Asia. Philippine business was
world-class; most multinational corporations had their regional offices in
the greater Manila area. Philippine schools were top-notch, and graduated
scores of Filipinos who could make it to the top rungs of Fortune 500
companies. Wages during the Fifties and Sixties were higher than most other
Southeast Asian countries, so much so that a few roads and bridges built
then used less expensive foreign labor. Manila was on the cutting edge of
everything, from modern business practices, to fashion trends, to art and
All that was then; the
golden decades of the Fifties and Sixties are now but a fading memory to
those old enough and lucky enough to still remember. The Philippines today
is without doubt a third-world country. Manila is now a dirty and polluted
back-water city, and young Filipinos migrate to far-flung destinations
settling for low-paying jobs eschewed by local residents of their host
country. Philippine colleges and universities no longer rate globally the
way they used to; even the Philippine stock exchange rarely merits the
occasional mention from financial news broadcasters like Bloomberg and CNBC.
Filipino optimists point to
Fitch and now Standard and Poor’s upgrading of the Philippines to
“investment grade” as a sure-fire sign that the country is on its way to
first-world status. But back in the sixties, we were told that too. And back
then, we were way ahead of most of our Asian neighbors. But something has
gone terribly wrong because the Philippines has stagnated while the rest of
Southeast Asia sped forward.
What happened? We’ve had
bad leaders! Even today most are unqualified; more than a few are outright
thieves. For decades, the Philippines has been run by incompetent
grandstanding amateurs while neighboring countries chose their best and brightest to
lead them. Take a look at the candidates running today. Most are traditional
politicians with no new ideas to promote and a lot of bad habits to perpetuate.
And as long as the electorate continues to see nothing wrong with electing
them into office, the Philippines will continue to be mired in mediocrity.
The sick man of Asia, despite its present jolt of adrenaline will remain an
“also ran” who will never quite make it to the top. Unless Filipinos start
to send a clear message via the ballot box and prevent unqualified
candidates from ever holding public office. Published
For much of the last month, my Facebook friends in Metro Manila have been posting comments lamenting their helplessness at being condemned to spend a great portion of what is left of their productive lives stuck in hours of traffic with no hope in sight. They now appreciate why Dan Brown described Manila in his book, Inferno, as “the gates of hell” specifically referring to its “six-hour traffic jams (and) suffocating pollution”.
Since 1620 when the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, people the world over
have migrated to America in search of a better life. Filipinos are no
exception. In the '70s and '80s Filipinos who were able to, left for the
U.S. to escape the tyranny of the Marcos regime; today they leave is to
escape the poverty and the lack of opportunity in their homeland.
Whatever the reason, Filipino migrants quickly shed their old habits and
attitudes and embraced American culture.
Both United States and Philippine Governments to Blame for Death of Jeffery "Jennifer" Laude
The United States and Philippine governments share the blame for the tragedy. Two young lives needlessly destroyed: the first, a young Filipino transgender found strangled inside a motel bathroom; the second a teenaged American serviceman now accused of murder.
Death of Filipino Transgender 'Jennifer' Laude Was Totally Preventable
The evening for the young US Marine and his Filipino date "Jennifer" began at the Ambyanz Disco Bar in Subic Bay, Olongapo and ended shortly before midnight at the Celzone Lodge where "Jennifer's" lifeless body was found leaning against the toilet bowl. Jennifer, it turns out was actually not originally a "she" but a "he." A Filipino transgender, Jeffrey Laude, 26, began calling himself "Jennifer" after medical procedures made him look more female than male.
Sorry Mr. President But PNP Chief Alan Purisima Has to Go
What’s with Philippine civil servants these days? It seems that you can stick all their pictures on a wall; throw a dart; and whoever’s photo it land on, that person can be successfully prosecuted for graft. It is unbelievable how pervasive and widespread corruption has become. We go from one corruption scandal to the next and there seems to be no end in sight.
Tear Down the Torre de Manila Building Being Built Behind the Rizal Monument?
According to the developer’s website, “Torre de Manila, DMCI Homes’ newest one-tower condominium, is an exclusive residential community right in the heart of the city.” As of this writing, the 49-story edifice is about halfway complete. But as it continues to rise, so too do the howls of protest from an eclectic collection of groups and individuals who want it torn down. Why? Torre de Manila will permanently mar the skyline behind the Rizal Monument.
How Ferdinand Marcos’s Martial Law Continues Hurting Filipinos to This Day
On the evening of September 23, 1972, two days after it had taken effect, Ferdinand Marcos announced via live television from Malacañang Palace that he had placed the Philippines under Martial Law. It was a calculated move by a devious politician to keep himself in power beyond what the Constitution allowed. A staged ambush attempt against his Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile was the main excuse Marcos (or “Macoy” as he was deridingly referred to back then) used to strip Filipinos of all their constitutional rights. With that, the diminutive Ilocano from the backwaters of Batac, Ilocos Norte became the despotic dictator for over a decade.
Jejomar Binay Should Never Become President of the Philippines
In our July 25th editorial we asked if Vice President Jejomar Binay should be the next president of the Philippines. In this editorial we arrive at the definitive conclusion that that Binay should not be elected president. Since our last editorial, more witnesses have come forward with more allegations against the embattled Vice President. But our decision not to support Binay’s presidential bid is based on irrefutable public acts that in our opinion disqualify him from the presidency.