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
While the Aquino administration has been making many of the right moves lately, such moves remain woefully inadequate given the situation the Philippines faces with China. If President Benigno Aquino III entertains any hope of keeping our islands in the Spratlys, he needs to get off his behind this minute and start building a strong coalition with other nations.
A country's president must be a statesman. Someone who is genuinely concerned about the welfare of his people—especially those who have the least in life. A president must also be fair. Fairness after all underpins what justice is all about. Everyone, be they exceedingly wealthy or totally destitute deserves equal treatment under the law.
The Philippines Is Not a Friendly Place To Do Business In
On the surface, the Philippines can seem like an enjoyable and friendly place to do business. But scratch the surface and you’ll find yourself in a strange and alien world where a whole new set of rules and attitudes apply. Just recently, the Fraser Institute, a well-known North American think-tank, ranked the Philippines third from the bottom, on its annual survey of the best places to do business for mining companies.
To All Those Who Were Part of the EDSA People Power Revolution—Thank You!
On February 25, the Philippines will celebrate the 28th anniversary of the People Power revolution known as EDSA One. For four days in February, 1986, freedom-starved Filipinos amassed on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), in front of Camps Crame and Aguinaldo to shield Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, General Fidel Ramos, and their military supporters from possible assault by forces controlled by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The Arc of the Moral Universe and the Salvador “Bubby” Dacer Case
How long before the people responsible for the Dacer-Corbito murders are brought to justice? The hopeful answer may be found in a speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol on March 25, 1965 when he said: "How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow. How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
Will Ruby Tuason’s Revelations Make a Difference? Remember This Is the Philippines
Another whistleblower Ruby Tuason will soon testify before the Department of Justice, and the Philippine Senate. And probably before the Ombudsman, the Batasan committees, the Sandiganbayan and other courts as well. Her appearances will likely involve high drama, moving testimony, and bombshell revelations that will be plastered across the front pages of Philippine dailies and reverberate throughout social media.
Macho, Macho Men and the Matriarchal Philippine Society
An online article a week ago concluded that the reason that Deniece Cornejo the vixen in the Vhong Navarro mauling incident was being mercilessly vilified was because Philippine society tends to treat women that way (LINK). The writer a certain Tricia Aquino in collaboration with Judy Taguiwalo a University of the Philippines professor in the Department of Women and Development Studies, try to paint a bleak picture of Filipina women as persecuted second-class citizens who end up being blamed for the troubles that befall them.
We Must Learn from the Past, for the Future of Mindanao
Will the signing of the last annex of the peace accord between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) finally bring lasting peace to troubled Mindanao? Everyone hopes so. But let’s go back several decades in time and see how the country fared in a similar situation back then.
The Internet: Keeping Philippine Politicians Honest
On January 20, 2014 Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., delivered his long-awaited privilege speech to refute the charges and allegations leveled against him regarding the misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Unfortunately, the senator’s speech was light on facts refuting the charges, and heavy on counter-accusations and theatrics.