A Philippine Hero: Benigno Aquino III


Working on Mindanao Peace with Malaysian Prime Minister

It seems to me that it is time to stop referring to the President casually, as if he were our pal, an ordinary guy we demanded be our president because he was of good parentage and decent character.

For me, it is now Mr. President, or the President, or Benigno Aquino III, or minimally Noynoy Aquino. But no more Pnoy, no more Noy. No more casual.

This is no ordinary guy.

Now some will complain that I am a shill for the Administration, or brand me a yellow-tard, or cast some other credibility-destroying hard words my direction. And they will do this upon reading the headline, or before I even type a word past the first two paragraphs of this article.

Which basically proves the point they are not really writing about my views, but about their bias against Mr. Aquino, probably based on an incident or two that upset them. So cast your stones. It makes no difference to me.

This is no ordinary guy.

Now some want the President to look like Fernando Poe or Piolo Pascual and have a movie star wife and seven kids and a dynasty in process with a kid in the Senate and another the Mayor. They want him to crush people like Pacquiao does and cheat on his wife and get rich by sucking up the taxpayer money like ordinary power-peddlers. You know, show some manhood.

Well, to me the guy has more manhood in his character than all those addle-valued nutcases who are out to prove something to somebody ALL THE TIME because down deep they are blood-sucking leeches preying on our community, or are ineffectual pantywaists who are afraid of their own shadows.

Normally, one’s legacy comes in the future. That gives time a chance to apply its talent to reveal the full meanings of acts undertaken today. Well, let’s just mosey down the road a piece, maybe 10 or 15 years, and look back at now. If we do that, we will see that some hints exist today about President Aquino’s eventual legacy.

Two such hints appeared in articles that popped up on Rappler the other day. They were like flint on steel, generating a spark that simmered in my mind and then, overnight, turned into a blaze of comprehension.

Behind on Social Development Goals

Do you realize how strikingly unusual it is for any public servant to acknowledge he is not doing what needs to be done? That he is not up to HIS OWN expectations?

It doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t happen. This is the land of blame and excuse, of accusation and denial, of sly deceits aimed at preserving face and pasting over insecurities or lack of confidence. This is not a land of forthright honesty, of candor, of confidence.

EXCEPT for the rare executives in the crowd. The pragmatists. The realists. The people who honestly want to do a good job, who strive for real achievement.

President Aquino entered office as a reserved, quiet, humble man. And he went to work. Somewhere along the line he grew backbone to replace passivity, determination to replace hesitation, and maturity unmatched by ANY other leader in Asia and perhaps the world.

Now he has the unmitigated EXECUTIVE GALL – that state of overbearing managerial or presidential COMPETENCE – to look at his own stated measures of performance and to call it as he sees it:

“We aren’t doing enough. We must do more.”

Astounding. Truly. His desire to do well by the Philippines is more important than spinning things pretty.

My dear Filipino friends, enemies, and neighbors, your President is a smart man with good values, determination, and an eye on getting good things done.

He faces up to sultans and rebels and crooks and headstrong mayors and epal-addicted politicians and outrageously negative media and leaders of Taiwan and Hong Kong and China, and he represents us – you and me – with calm intelligence, determined strength, peaceful intent and an end result in mind.

He is building the Philippines like no president before him. None. Zero.

He keeps after his subordinates, cabinet members of no light reputation or character, to stay focused and produce results. Who else built over 66,000 classrooms in three years, or chartered so many road, rail and airport investments that Manila risks crashing to a standstill so that valuable infrastructure can be put in place?

And you don’t see him wasting money pasting his face on big signs near all the construction projects that are under way across the nation.

Who else would have the patience and endurance and maturity to put together a Mindanao investment agreement (that’s what is is, you know), face up to the US at the bargaining table with dignity as equals, and calmly put up with a Vice President of different values who keeps throwing wrenches into the government’s difficult works?

I look at the other clowns in leadership positions in Asia. Emotional loudmouths in Taiwan and Hong Kong, an insane murderer in North Korea, a right-wing reactionary in Japan, insecure bullies in China, politically immature leaders to the left and right  . . . you want to know who shines? Who stands out as a diplomat of principle and intelligence? Who walks a straight path and talks a straight deal? Who needs to prove nothing to anybody because he has no aspiration other than to build a better nation?

President Benigno Aquino III

Well, heroes are usually not named during their own time, but after it. But can’t you read the tea leaves? Peer into the future and look back? I do, and I end up looking back and saying, “wow, that man remade the Philippines.”

Ayala Land Investments

Ayala in 2013 spent P66.26 billion on various projects. This year, they expect to spend P70 billion. They are not alone, as other property developers and businesses do the same. Malls and residential tracts and office buildings and hotels and retail stores are being built across the Philippines.

You know what else Ayala and others are building?

Jobs. Careers. Small businesses. Managers. A middle class. Wealth.

Will Ayala shareholders and executives get rich? Yep. They get rich for a reason. They are creating wealth, and it is to the nation’s benefit that they do so. They are not commie leftists with nothing to show for anything, a tower of babble leaning into the 1950’s wind spawning a bunch of gangsters who invest in extortion and destruction.

And why are the Ayalas of the Philippines willing to invest so much in this nation of ours?

Because it is stable. It is financially, socially, and ethically stronger than before Mr. Aquino took office, finances are managed professionally, the coup mentality is going, going . . . gone. Crooks are being rooted out one at a time. Tax revenue is up, leakage from corruption is down. It is a different nation.

They invest because it is a growing nation worth investing in.

You say the wealth is not reaching everyone?

Ha, that’s what President Aquino says as well.

Give it time and some tweaking. Time and the responsible work of doing it better. The US economy collapsed in 2008 and it is now six years later and businesses are still getting back on their feet.

Gadzooks, we found out yesterday that Mercury Drug is moving into my home town of Naval Biliran next month. Jollibee is looking at the market. The municipality is clean, honest, healthy and growing. Bamboo shacks are coming down and hollowblock homes are going up. I’d bet this is a national trend.

Do a stop action photo, like they do of flowers growing, and you will visually see the Philippines emerging into robust, modern times.

Reality Check

Has the President made mistakes? Well, each observer has his own eye (partially blind I might note, as we do not have information the President has) and each has his own interests. But for me, personally, I’d rate the following as “mistakes”, rated on a scale of importance, 1 to 10, with 10 being very, very important. Like, defining a nation.

  • Not backing FOI as a priority (10).
  • Not giving a visible priority to murder of journalists (7).
  • Not being more liberal/aggressive on modernization (ending bank secrecy, divorce law, telling the Catholic Church to move back to the pulpit) (7)
  • Backing the Cybercrime Prevention Act in its constitutionally challenged state (5).
  • Politicizing Yolanda recovery (3).

You may have your own list of his “mistakes”. But I find that he has delivered favorable results in so, so many complex areas that the mistakes fall within the realm of acceptable executive choice. They shrink when put up against the achievements, Mindanao, focus on corruption, handling crises calmly and maturely – sultan, Taiwan and Zamboanga – firm against China, economic revitalization, new contract rules to eliminate kickbacks, focus on education, building a healthy US relationship, cutting red tape, turning Customs inside out, building new alliances (Japan, Malaysia, Australia), building infrastructure, raising taxes by insisting people pay what they owe, and much, much more. Superb, mature work in very complex arenas.

You don’t change the direction of an aircraft carrier in a hundred meters and you don’t change the direction of a nation in a year. Or even six. But President Aquino has this baby cranked about.

The important thing is the stability that he brought into office on the dreams of the voters and his own hard, earnest work.

That stability – nay, that promise – is due to the “aura” of President Aquino and the application of the power that came with it to do good deeds. He built a rock-solid core foundation for the nation. It will be up to others – and to voters – to make sure the building continues. But for now . . . before the legacy is recognized worldwide . . . we only need say . . .

Keep up the good work Mr. President.

143 Responses to “A Philippine Hero: Benigno Aquino III”
  1. Andy says:

    I give credit to his parents. The upbringing. Compare Joseph Estrada as role model to his children.

    • Joe America says:

      Bingo. Yes indeed. When we think about character strengths and weaknesses in the Philippines . . . or in the US or anywhere else for that matter . . . we can look at parental values to understand.

      • POMPEYO says:

        In high school, Benigno III was an average unknown in academics, sports, debating societies, etc.yet when he graduated, he received what even the Class Valedictorian missed: A STANDING OVATION. I should know, because I was there.

  2. ikalwewe says:

    It’s good that you are very positive about him. I personally don’t think he is as corrupt as the ones before him. But come on, fix the goddamn airport!!! It’s named after his dad after all!!

    • Joe America says:

      He is working actively on airports. International flights will start being routed into the newest Manila terminal (Terminal 3) in July. It is internationally compatible, and Customs and Immigration are working on processes to speed international check-through. Cebu will be expanded and modernized as a major airport; it is in decent shape now. Furthermore, upgrades are being done all over the country, starting with CR’s. 🙂 My main airport (Tacloban) had been upgraded before Yolanda gutted it. There are certain barriers to self-improvement hereabouts . . . The Philippines will soon lose the distinction of having really lousy airports.

      • cutting red tape….where? try opening a single person spare room based company, 13 steps , 8 different office locations to visit, most more than once, visits from several “inspectors” thousands of pesos spent, all so I can send my earnings from abroad to my home here and spend them in the local economy!!!! His efforts have not reached me in Palawan….. but of course that will be the Proviniclal Government, City Government, Mayors office , DTI, BIR and everyone elses fault….. The Philippines has a huge way go to become an honestly, fairly and justly way of doing things country… and the old families and the church do not want that to happen. He may be trying and I commend him for that but he is surrounded by people who have vested interests in seeing him fail.

        • chit navarro says:

          In the early 90’s, DTI started setting up the One-Stop-Shop initiative between the local government and DTI to facilitate new investments and new businesses. I am sure that may have reached Palawan City at that time. But I have been away for almost a decade and times have really changed. The good this is, we have a President who is trying… a President whose heart is in the right place for service to the people….let’s take it one step at a time.

          • At the new city hall in Puerto Princesa there is a wonderful large poster detailing the steps and the documents needed to get a mayors permit and also where all the functions are in the building complex…great…except that most of the functions have also got part of their offices scattered around town as well and you need to go them!! Doh GREAT IDEA badly executed….like so many things here. Please start employing professional capable officials and not friends,family and those previously indebted too for whatever reason..unless they can do the job.

            I am not just a whingeng ex pat here, I am bringing up a family, employing local people and investing in rice and rubber farms as well as a new lodging business we are also in the process of opening, I just wish my wife did not have to spend so much time in various offices.

            I truly believe that this is a nation of hard working and family orientated people who have been badly let down by successive governments for many many years and will continue to be so UNLESS they stop electing actors, celebrities and political dynasty family members. The problem is that those very people have the money ( that they stole from the people in the 1st place ) to give away bags of rice for votes.

            • chit navarro says:

              Hello David, you sound like my Brit friend who settled with his family and young children in Puerto and recently was just complaining about the hassles of getting a license for their new lodging business. Or is it you? Have you just come back from Kiwilandia?

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks for the comment, David. It provokes the following thoughts:

          1. I agree government has way too many insane processes, and if a fault is to be laid with the President, it is that his idea that the “citizens are the boss” has not gotten translated into citizen-friendly procedures for his cabinet agencies. Arrogance and nitpicking remain core values.

          2. To some extent, other imperatives – like to raise taxes without employing new taxes or raising taxes – tends to enforce MORE rigorous procedure. But in that case, the direction is correct.

          3. Some initiatives will take time. One that is underway is the Philippine Business Registry: http://www.business.gov.ph/web/guest/news. It aims to simplify processes. Whether it works or gets bogged down in trivial nonsense, I don’t know. But the IDEA is right. So are steps to speed airport immigration/customs check-throughs. Those kinds of steps need to be applied like an obsession in all agencies.

          4. Laws delegating certain authorities to local and provincial governments are a big part of the real-life problem. Cleaning up procedures will take a sea-change that may not be forthcoming because national legislators rely on local authorities for their backing, so they are not inclined to remove any authorities from local people. It’s rather like everyone recognizes agricultural cooperatives don’t compete well, but no one will change the model because the vested interests are so strong. We have to recognize that there are some things the President can do, and some are out of his hands.

          • I agree about the inter relationships all the way through form the Barangay Hall to the Senate and Palace, Change will be long in coming,Starting with educating and paying people a decent liveable wage would be great as the bottom up pressure for graft comes from the pitiful wages paid to the lowest levels in public life. From the top down there should be a law stopping family dynasties in Politics. The RH bill should never have been allowed to be held up in the Supreme court, the only way to stop poverty is to have less children and educate the ones you do have instead of them coming out of school at 13/24 to help support /look after the new arrivals… The RC church has lot to answer for here ..but then poor and un educated people making willing devotees.

            I do admire the fact that the President seems to have the desire to do things for the country and for the ordinary Filipino and as you say his face is not on every project unlike the officials here in Puerto Princesa.

            • Joe America says:

              My family visited Puerto Princesa early last year. I was favorably impressed with the scope of tourism and the first-class way it is handled. It is for sure competitive with other nations’ tourism facilities and efforts. Things like relocating squatters and preserving the land are on the front burner. It is too bad that administrative barriers remain big, and power and favor rule.

              The underground river was a tad under-whelming to me. I didn’t like the boat driver’s drivel and lighting was poor. But the harbor island cruise was fantastic. Clean beaches, good service, good food, fun day.

              The upside is that, the Philippines can compete. The direction is right. The details need work.

              • We live a 6km north of the city and love it here, I just worry about this fantastic island going the way of Boracay and being over exploited and not managed in a sustainable way. We already see Puerto becoming clogged up. the journey to the airport can be 35 mins from only 10 mins 10 years ago. We are now looking for land in the North and in the West for our eventual retirement and will just keep a small place in town for occasional visits.

                There is a great potential for Palawan to become an enduring tourist attraction but many challenges as well

                Anything the President can do to ensure the gas and oil fields plus mining work here results in a flow down of wealth and improved lifestyles for the average Palaweno whilst not overly damaging the environment would be most welcome

              • Joe America says:

                @david, sounds like a good plan. Best wishes there. Keep checking in here!

            • “The RH bill should never have been allowed to be held up in the Supreme court, the only way to stop poverty is to have less children and educate the ones you do have instead of them coming out of school at 13/24 to help support /look after the new arrivals”

              Our existing law, I think, Is partly to blame for the RH law being held up in the SC, the law allows any citizen to go to court for the issuance of TRO’s left and right (purchased or not) much like what happens in the BOC, the court can issue a TRO when a corrupt custom official is being transferred elsewhere in the bureau to prevent them from further corrupting the agency… for losing bidders to challenge the result of a bid thereby delaying the implementation or the initiation of a certain project… and our legislators are coming up with proposed measures like making adobo our national food instead of introducing amending laws or introducing new ones that would create a healthy environment for business and to think that we are allocating billions for the senate and congress…

              • wjarko says:

                The initiatives taken by our honorable lawmen are insults to our intellect as tax payers. Our money could have been spent for more important projects and initiatives to make our lives better.

                As for the RH Bill, studies have been conducted around the world and the leading consensus is that increase in socio-economic Development leads to lower population growth rate, and not the other way around. Better economy, higher education and better opportunities is the best ‘pill’ or ‘condom’ for the country.

                However, I do share your sentiment that more children in schools means less resources is alloted to each. but I also believe that we have enough resources to send the children to school and that the real problem is it is competing for resources that is funneled to pockets of corrupt officials.

            • About the RH law –

              My understanding of that law is : It’s still a choice between couples on how many children they want to bring into this world, the state just provides the means for those who want to limit theirs especially those in and below the poverty level. I cannot understand the church’s objection even after the enacted law’s clarification that it is against abortion, that it does not promote abortion. Anyways:

              I have an aunt who lived in a mountainous region adjacent to Tagaytay City. They had 12 children. Into their seventh or eight offspring, her husband was afflicted with a serious disease, my aunt kind of like the pioneer women in the early decades of US, took over the farming with the help of the elder children, raising their animals, raising their children even after the arrival of the younger ones, my uncle guided the children in their studies and indoctrinated them the value of education. I remember one story of a neighbor of theirs who cried when she observed one of my cousins who had to pin a medal on her sibling barefoot, as they took turns using the only pair they have… how they share half the dried fish (tuyo) just to make ends meet and so they can all study. The eldest continued in college while the next one stopped after high school to work in a factory to help her elder sister. After graduation, the eldest supported the next one in college, after which they both supported the 3rd one until she too finished college, the 3rd one supported the 4th one, the 4th supported the 5th, and so on until all twelve finished their college degrees… now they are all degree holders, licensed engineers, college professors and businesswomen. They all belong to the upper middle class. Their parents did well in raising upright, productive citizen without help from the government.

              My point is – it is still a choice. Japan, China, Singapore and some other countries are having a problem with their aging population and are now encouraging their citizen to have additional offsprings… Sorry, I’m rambling on and on

              • Joe America says:

                Very heartwarming counter-point to the notion that we are not in control of our own destinies, and need the government to make up for a poor deal in life. Thanks, Mary Grace. The government can either push people to well-being by promoting good practices that add jobs, and open more doors to more opportunity, or pull them by giving gifts of cash and homes and land. I favor the former, with some of the latter to catch the most destitute.

  3. chit navarro says:

    Coming from a retired banking executive with degrees in Math & Communication arts and who’s been in the Philippines for the past 8 years or so, you are more Filipino than most of us. Thank you for your direct and straight-to-the point assessment of our sitting President. I totally agree with you. No other President has ever admitted to his efforts as below his set goals; no other President has ever mentioned that he is speaking from the heart because he does not like the speech prepared for him for the occasion. He is passionate about his service to the people and no other President has kept his records clean – no sign of bribery, graft, corruption – and on the 4th year of his term already. His sisters are all so low-key; even the very public Kris Aquino has learned to behave… (?). The beauty of a bachelor President – no wife to sully his image and performance. All those personalities calling him “Abnoy” at the start of his term are the really Abnoys of our society.

    But I would want him to be more decisive and a more demanding President from his cabinet. When his people are not up to his expectations, he should not hesitate firing them right away. When there are complaints about this executive group, he should act faster and more decisively, not just wait for the person to see the light and hand in the resignation. Firing incompetent personnel should be way up higher in his priority list.

    The greatest problem we are facing now is : Who will take his place and continue his program of governance?

    • Joe America says:

      I agree he is at times overly loyal to those who were or are loyal to him. He needs to keep a business mindset.

      I see that Senator Alan Cayetano is preparing to run. That pushed my “interest” button because I see Roxas as unlikely to win and Poe perhaps too much a newbie and not yet ready. I’ll do a blog about Cayetano next week.

      • chit navarro says:

        I think even Mar Roxas himself knows the futility of his running. It is always said that the Presidency is a destiny, not a position to aspire for and seek aggressively. Senator Alan Cayetano maybe a good performer but he has a great baggage in his wife, the mayor of Taguig. But I will wait for your blog and listen to your voice of reason.

        What happened to your push for Grace?

        • Joe America says:

          I think there is a practicality to Grace that she has not had time to establish herself. To go from fresh to the senate to prepping for a presidential run would be a big, bold step, and I’m not sure that is her style. She would have to be drafted by President Aquino, I think, or another established political force, and I don’t see that happening. Her election would have to be a matter of great faith in her character.

          My blog will be a call for observations such as that you have just made. Getting a handle on Cayetano. I don’t have one right now myself. Weakness: his wife! egads.

          • Maxie says:

            When we elected President Aquino in 2010, who knew that things would turn out this good. Grace Poe may be a green horn but I think she might just surprise us as well. Right now I don’t see anyone else who has the capacity to stand against Binay and who will continue the changes that Pres. Aquino has put in place. IMHO, Cayetano has no chance against Binay.

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, but I suspect it will take a groundswell of public appeal to DEMAND that Senator Poe serve, much as happened with Mr. Aquino. Please check in next week on the blog about Cayetano and register why you think he can’t win. Thanks.

          • pussyfooter says:

            And we all know what happened under that last President with a baggagey wife…

  4. edgar lores says:

    1. A paean.

    2. Is it overboard? Is it balanced?

    2.1. Well, the negatives are listed with the positives. Some “faults” may have been missed, such as his loyalty to friends, the questionable appointments, the agrarian non-reform, and the smoking habit.

    2.2. The biggest negative, his critics would say, is the President’s – note the use of the title – the President’s alleged use of the DAP to ensure Corona’s conviction.

    2.2.1. However none of receivers of DAP has admitted to being swayed by the largesse if it was so intended. No representative, no senator, neither Jinggoy nor Bong – note the absence of titles and the patronizing use of the diminutives – has confessed or asserted to changing his vote from non-impeachment to impeachment, from non-conviction to conviction on the basis of funds surreptitiously granted. These honorables stand on their “integrity”.

    3. The biggest plus in my book is the President’s effective – and non-self-serving – use of power in the national interests, in domestic and international affairs. This includes the vision.

    4. The biggest minus in my book is the President’s monkish behaviour, his shortcoming so to speak (pun intended?) to preserve his noble genes and pass them on to future generations. Unlike those with ignoble genes, the oh-so-sad philandering Tres Amigos who have founded political dynasties so prolifically that they plague the nation so profligately.

    4.1. Never in the field of human governance has so much owned by so many gone to so few.

    4.2. Yes, the President’s evolutionary legacy is less biological, more sociological. Not that it is too late. That fount of facts, the Googleverse, reveals that the oldest man to father a child did so at the age of 92 years and 10 months. The man is an Aussie, holds the Guinness World Record as well as the most amazing pair.

    5. On a serious note, another paraphrase of the famous words of Churchill may well apply to the President and the Cabinet in time to come: Never in the field of Philippine governance has so much been owed by so many to so few.

    (P.S. Never has the word “so” been used so many times (12 + 4 times) and so deliberately for so much emphases.)

    • Joe America says:

      2.1 In my view, he is indeed overly loyal to people loyal to him, but his appointments are for the most part outstanding. His cabinet is clean, not dirty. Most are working earnestly. Chief Justice Sereno has integrity; Corona did not. Agrarian non-reform is a legislative matter and the President is correct not to get bogged down in re-fighting the 25-year battle of the Hacienda.

      2.2 DAP fueled a lot of the economic progress we are seeing, and it is good that the President is inspired to get things done. In a culture of favor and power, sometimes favor and power are needed to make constructive things happen. I personally think DAP is a good thing, because it empowers a good president and the last thing the Philippines needs is a totally inert president. I’d watch DAP more closely under . . . say . . . Binay. Who seems to put self ahead of citizen.

      3. I agree.

      4. I don’t understand. He is entitled to a personality, and I’m happy it is not that of his sister. Kris. But hers is perfect for what she does. I don’t know about passing his genes. He is not even married.

      4.1 “Ownership by the few” is worth an article in its own right. Is the President empowered to change that? Can it be done without creating chaos? I tend to view his work to build financial integrity, stability, and economic potential to be the counter to that. I think a legitimate middle class is developing, and it will have great say in the future of the Philippines. It is one of those features we need a time-lapse camera to recognize. It might take 10 or 15 years before we can say the Philippines is no longer owned by the few.

      • edgar lores says:

        Hmm, the pitfalls of communication. I have to improve my skills.

        – Item 4 was tongue-in-cheek within the context of cultural familial values.
        – Item 4.1: “so much” refers to national treasury; “so many” refers to the people; “so few” refers to scamming congressmen and their accomplices.

      • brianitus says:

        Uncle Joe,with all the controversy surrounding it, maybe praising DAP is too much. Besides, has there been a real public accounting of where the DAP funds went? And yeah, has the SC decided if rules were indeed bent?

        I still think this current administration lives and dies with its PR. Frankly, I found it stupid of them to be making media rounds regarding discussions on alternative traffic routes after they announced that they were all set to do new road projects. It would have been more professional if they had alternatives all set.

        As far as dying with PR is concerned, I don’t agree that simply acknowledging shortcomings should get a leader off the hook. I mean, there was even a news story angling that the president called a cabinet meeting because they don’t know why poverty is up? I thought they had a plan. I mean, plans fail, I get that. But to appear surprised is like not having an eye on the ball. The eyes don’t even have to be his.

        And then there’s their issue on vehicle license plates. Like, what the…

        And don’t get me started on agriculture, rice smuggling and rice prices going up.

        From there, I would say that the government appears out of sync with its stories. I don’t think we’re out of control, yet. Well, except for that BIR ad shaming doctors for not paying taxes as if they’re the only tax evaders on earth. I hope that one is a hoax of the ABS-CBN kind.

        Anyway, that’s just my view on how things are. You may say that those are just under some departments. However, you can’t really detach that from the president — command responsibility. He is the head of government. He may appear sparkling white. But even if his barong looks clean, it doesn’t mean he’s immune from having body odor courtesy of his appendages.

        Just to balance this out,the DPWH seems to be on the positive side. After all, I’ve seen them have contractors re-do a project when it’s poorly made or under specifications.

        As for your other side discussion here on poor processes, I humbly suggest that department heads go undercover and really try to get a dose of their services. That BSA PR on getting a license renewed would have been a classic if he surprised the agency.

        With all I’ve said, I do agree we have to call him President, or whoever’s going to sit in power in the future. It might do a lot of good. Let’s live with the choices we make. After all, it’s one country. The Philippines shouldn’t be a group of factions of who voted for who. It should be more like a hive of minds working for the common good by bringing together the best from everyone.

        Sorry for ranting. I’m going to take my afternoon nap now. It might do me some good.

        Oh, if this is too long, feel free to hide after reading. I’ll be asleep by then. hehehe

        • Joe America says:

          Nice rant, young whippersnapper. I’m glad to know that the youth of the nation still have a passion for their government getting things done well.

          We are entitled to our disagreements, eh? (1) DAP, good or bad. (2) Whether a sense of accountability exists in the Administration or not to help focus attention on reducing poverty; does a plan exist?. (3) Whether the President should be held responsible for all the strange bureaucratic processes done across the nation.

          I would only say that you need to be consistent. You want the President to have fewer tools (no DAP) but get more result. I’d argue he is not a dictator and he has to live with people who hold positions in the bureaus who were grown and trained in a mindless mindset of rote Philippine education. Most got their positions through favor, not competence. But they hold those positions and there is no one to take their place, because the talent is in Canada or Australia making 10 times as much. So he is bound by practicality. Getting competence into place in the thousands of jobs that require it is not feasible on a wish. He can only press forward to clean out the top, and get sincere people in at the top. Competence should follow. Maybe not in my lifetime, but in yours . . . 🙂

          I’d also suggest an argument should be directed toward the do-nothing Congress to pass a fair employment law that mandates hiring and promoting based only on capability. It won’t happen. No one grasps the concept or is willing to break the system of favors that holds everyone in position. No one is inspired about building “opportunity for all”.

          Mr. Aquino is bound by laws and policies. When he set out to uproot the Customs bureaucrats from their cushy jobs to transfer them wholesale to new positions, he immediately got a legal filing against him. The reading was fortunately in his favor, so he was able to do the transfers which broke the connections of favor and corruption and accelerated the discovery of smuggling.

          He is not a dictator.

          My point on poverty was that he accepts accountability. That is the FIRST step of correcting poor performance. It’s the corporate model. Plan. Do. Check. Act to correct if behind plan. I think he believes that the 7% economic growth ought to be producing a lot of jobs, but it is not happening. The answers APPEAR to be technical: the impact of storms, policies in construction that inspire companies to let people go within 6 months so they don’t have to pay benefits, and day-jobs far and wide that are not even counted. I’d guess that is where the gain is being registered, from looking about my area and seeing increasing numbers of businesses, cars and solid homes going up (not bamboo shacks).

          I think any president’s task is absolutely enormous. He is Sisyphus pushing rocks upstream against entrenched incompetence, and is not empowered to change things outside the law. If he does bold things, bitter attacks from the entrenched hammer him. The Arroyo and Marcos attack dogs are out in force. The Bayan Muna attack dogs. The vested interest attack dogs.

          President Aquino keeps his shoulder to the bolder, steady-on, pushing. I do believe that. And history, 10 or 15 years from now, will record that his administration changed the course of the Philippines from crooked to straight and put value on earnest work over favor and power. I believe that, too.

          It is up to the voters to continue that effort, because favor and power is a mighty force against earnest dealings.

          I’ll bet you a case of noodles the voters get it right in 2016, and Binay loses. And the good work will continue. Not perfect work. But good.

          • wow, well said Joe, We have very similar views on the tragedy of the Philippines and what it will take to fix it. If you do come to Palawan again it would be pleasure to host you and put the Philippines to rights over a nice bottle of wine or some malt whisky. Meantime gentle prodding is about all we can do and even that sometimes quietly

          • brianitus says:

            I’m up again.

            First off, any president is an Atlas with more than just the world on his/ her shoulders. I never expect any president to solve any problems immediately. On that part, I agree with you.

            As for poverty, I’ll give that acknowledgement to him and the team. At least it’s far better than the old standard we-have-the-cct-no-one-should-be-poor/ hungry reply.

            For the bureaucracy, maybe they should really start benchmarking. I’d like to call them out now. For processes, they should act like a pizza delivery service. Deliver on time or it’s free. Hehe. File that under wishful thinking.

            To be fair to Bayan Muna, they attack everybody, not just BSA III. I’ll take their idealism over the other political attack dogs any day of the week.

            Can I join you guys in Palawan? Hahaha

            • Joe America says:

              You are downright agreeable after a little sleep. I like your pizza idea, too.

              My essential position on this is that I refuse to join the baying wolves out to undermine the President of the Philippines for self-dealing reasons. I don’t want to add to their strength. So I focus on the MACRO level, where I think the president’s strength comes through (upgraded S@P ratings, for instance). And international dealings, holding China to the fire and dealing with that crisis or that, plus Mindanao.

              But domestically, I go nuts every time I interface with a Philippine government agency, where I’m dealing with some aging twit who has had a lock on the position for 12 years, thanks to a cousin or powerful relative, and whose idea of good customer service is not to spit when sneering at me.

              • brianitus says:

                What you said is somewhat related to your megaphone post. In a way, the baying wolves sometimes hit a common cause with them. There’s always a temporary alliance depending on the issue. You’ve probably seen that during the pork barrel indignation rallies. Your wolves are somewhat like horses the middle class bet on. In effect, no alternative middle class groups. That’s “good” thing about the Bayan Muna group. They always have a position, just as long as they can slip in an anti-US chant somewhere.

                On your agencies, I think people desire to have power in any way possible. Keeping you down and running about is a way of exerting that “power.” That’s especially true in locations where no one questions or truly audits those people. The agency is their kingdom.

                Personally, I believe that progress won’t come in an instant. People should realize that things won’t improve without their participation. Government, for its part, should have some form of a timetable of what people should expect from it — deliverables on an annual basis.

              • Joe America says:

                I believe you do see things clearly.

          • pussyfooter says:

            O, for Binay to lose and a decent person to win in 2016! I would have to seriously reconsider my default attitude of despair (and desire for emigration) then.

            Incidentally, if that’s a Paul Simon reference, I totally need to lurk on this blog more.

            Agreed on the incompetent favor-currying perennially politicking scum that slimes maybe at least 60% of govt, from personal experience (as the 30%, I’d hasten to add).

            I’d also mention that, for all the gains the economy might be making these days and all the labor policies that will continue to be the stuff of fantasy here, I don’t think any net improvement will happen thanks to all the babies, everywhere, all the time. (I hope when the RH Law decision comes out, Mr. Am will get to post something upbeat again!)

            • Joe America says:

              Well, if there are 50 ways to lose your lover, there must be 100 ways to dump a Binay. 🙂

              Yeah, those babies. I have been restrained at bringing that up . . .

      • R.Hiro says:

        Never has a President entered office with global macro economic reality beneficial to the Philippines. Naturally while being skipper, the calm waters have greatly made him look better than he actually deserves.

        To be more accurate, I rate BIR commissioner Henares the hero of this government.

        I wish she could stay on after this government leaves.

        President Aquino has failed miserably in changing the direction of the country.

        Kim Henares for President.

        Unfortunately the middle class is actually shrinking. The number of people with enough disposable income that would warrant paying their withholding tax on income earned is not growing as fast as it should. Temp work and part time work is the order of the day.

        The doctrinaire economists at U.P. are recommending we devalue internally to attract FDI’s.

        That would mean wage and salary deflation to lead to price levels getting lower.

        No more minimum wages and labor markets will be used to determine wages and salaries.

        Total deregulation of labor markets.

        • Joe America says:

          It’s hard to increase the middle class when the annual flood of babies graduates from high school and enters the out-of-work work force, or trundles off to college to earn a degree that will get them no job because someone’s cousin has a 12 year lock on the position. But cynicism doesn’t help much either, I suppose.

          I appreciate the perspective. Henares indeed gets strong reviews, but I also think the guy who runs a cabinet stocked with fundamentally earnest people deserves credit for something other than “lucky”. And, frankly, it is hard to call international flare-ups with Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and China “stability”. The president has kept his perspective in all those incidents. And in the Zamboanga uprising. And accomplished what his predecessors could not in Mindanao. No, I don’t buy the “lucky” tag at all.

          Now I do accept a “halo” tag, and think that Mr. Aquino rode into office on zero accomplishment. But the halo was real, in terms of impact, much as the Obama halo ended the lack of confidence in the US and ended the global economic crash in 2009. The Aquino halo brought an essential stability and promise to the Philippines, very important to the global investment community. The trick will be to keep it there after 2016.

          • R.Hiro says:

            Wow, this is the first time I heard that we have had international flare ups with four countries that caused instability in the country.

            I know the President has been really tough in his words about Chinese takeover of Philippine territory. But his government recently signed on to buy trains from China and only last year our own Central Bank renewed an agreement for currency swap with the Chinese as an additional hedge vs a forex crisis. Are we really serious about sending the Chinese a strong message? They also control the transmission grid for electricity here.

            Let’s see the other flare ups were a deranged policeman killing tourists, the coast guard firing on a Taiwanese fishing boat and killing a fisherman and some former royalty from the South sending a rag tag bunch to take over Sabah.

            I personally know some of the cabinet and honestly can’t see any earnest person apart from Soliman and Abad.

            As for Obama, it’s too early to revise history of the Great Recession of 2008. Firstly, It was Paulson and Bernanke under Bush II that prevented the contraction from becoming the second great crash. TARP and the massive money printing by the Fed did it. If these two men did nothing then in 2008 it would have been too late for Obama to do anything.

            Obama followed up with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. The Fed’s QE kept the recovery going which is still on its 6th year. Obama’s halo did not do anything to effectively stem the tide. In fact he was more concerned about the deficit than the unemployed. He played right into the hands of the liquidationists in Congress. in retrospect his effort was sorely lacking. The Federal Reserve did most of the heavy lifting.

            The international financial community look at the financial books and not the President. The country’s current account has been positive for ten consecutive years. Not from any government policy but from a lack of it that forced Filipinos to seek employment overseas.

            On top of that the massive money printing by central bank ,including our own, have led to drastically low borrowing costs for the government and the private sector.

            Hence we have a boom in real estate development and nothing else. In spite of robust growth rates tax collection remains miserable. The country is still suffering from both budget and trade deficits all supported by monies being sent home that is converted into consumption. That has made Henry Sy the richest man in the country.

            It is easy putting the present tenant in the Palace on a pedestal compared to the past tenant. But what will he leave behind.?

    • Joe America says:

      paean (noun)

      1. a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph
      2. a work that praises or honors its subject


  5. Maan says:

    It really is too bad he isn’t able to extend his term for another six years, should he wish to run again. Then again I’d like to believe that being president wasn’t what he wanted in the first place. I would feel really bad for the country if a narrow-minded presidential candidate wins the next election.

    • Joe America says:

      Agree. I wonder what the President will do at end of term. I hope he remains politically engaged. I wouldn’t want to see him sitting on ABS-CBN next to Kris.

  6. manuel buencamino says:

    When I look around and I see the people who hate him, who want to take him down, I become more convinced that he’s the right man at the right time. Now I’m looking for the right person to carry on, there are too many out there who want to undo what he has started.

    • Joe America says:

      Generally, it seems to me that those who are so very bitterly critical have a personal agenda that they place above a “Philippine” agenda. How can anyone be against the stability and international recognition Mr. Aquino has brought to the Philippines? It used to be that people overseas sneered in disdain at the Philippines, and now respect is upward bound. What does it mean to be critical of THAT?

      • manuel buencamino says:

        Yeah the president knows he can’t make everybody happy and correctly picked whom to make unhappy. They are now flocking to Binay.

      • manuel buencamino says:

        Yeah the president knows he can’t make everybody happy and correctly picked whom to make unhappy. They are now placing their bets on Binay’s “Zig-Zag na Daan” platform.

  7. Geng says:

    So many things had been said about the President at the start of his term and quite a few were so critical of the composition of his cabinet. Even former Senator Joker Arroyo spoke too soon and called his cabinet a kindergarten class.
    Ir would be nice of him to offer an assessment, and an honest one at that, about the unprecedented transformation happening to this country now that even foreign governments do not fail to appreciate.. There is still corruption, no one can argue with that, but not of the magnitude we saw during the previous administration (and the others that came before it) where even the highest position was not spared from unimaginable scandals.
    It’s hard to tell if the President read about this quote by Peter Drucker but he sure is doing his job as that writer described it as follows:: “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.”
    I fully agree with your write-up, Joe.

  8. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Hate for the president has many fathers. Not all Filipinos support the Liberal party all the time, the history of the party is not flawless and some were hurt one day or another. The Marcos family and their cronies have stolen wealth to hide and they have enough spare money to mobilize and finance armies of supporters. The Marcos family is not alone, there are plenty Arroyos, Enriles, Estradas… around too. Fathering 80 kids as Revilla sr., most in wedlock, is not a problem for the church as long as you vote that condoms are illegal, the Church has issues with a president supporting imaginary abortions. Some are separatists, all that comes from Manila has to be opposed. Some need a strong “datu”, a leader able to deliver support, whatever it takes, long live Duterte. Some are just negative people, willing to oppose everything and everyone, you say black then I say white. Very few have positive motivations.

    But my experience is that improving is very easy in the best companies and extremely difficult in the bad ones. This president being much better than all previous ones, should be able to improve much faster, so let’s bombard him with proposals, whatever your motivation to launch new ideas.

    • Joe America says:

      Works for me!

      “Hey Mr. President. Kindly do two things during the next two years. (1) pass FOI, and (2) open bank records up to criminal investigations, as authorized by court warrant. Thank you. Now get to work.”

      • pussyfooter says:

        In fairness to the President (yan ha, no more “PNoy” ;), unless you mean any particular bank accounts, there is a fairly well-established legal system already in place for No. 2. Unfortunately, there’s not much the President can directly do about incompetent investigators and prosecution.

  9. The President is doing good, and earning ridicule, criticisms, and blames left and right…Our legislators are doing …. this? is this true.. I know the one re adobo news, but…. help! my stomach is heaving !!!

    “So, What’s News?

    News that won’t make you depressed to read the news.

    Lawmaker Files Bill Officially Declaring Piolo Pascual as ‘National Ultimate Heartthrob’

    MANILA, Philippines – After a congressman filed a bill that seeks to officially declare adobo as the country’s national food among other national symbols, another lawmaker filed a bill today seeking to declare Piolo Pascual as the Philippines’ “National Ultimate Heartthrob”.

    Bohol Seventh District Rep. Wally Magwa Mabuti proposed House Bill 7248 or the “Philippine National Personalities Act of 2014” to provide a basis for the declaration and recognition of the country’s national personalities.”

  10. pussyfooter says:

    Argh can’t copypaste on my phone with my fat clumsy fingers the nice bit about “This is the land” (of so much @#%!¥$& whining and griping) “except for the realists.”

    But yet again you bring a fresh perspective, the energy to consolidate diverse bits of information, and, with that, some ultra-rare hope. I’m still waiting with bated breath for what might start to happen in 2016, but I thank you for this brave piece. If you’re what the crabs love to call (as they do love to call names) a “yellowtard”, then I’d be honored to share that distinction.

    I didn’t realize you’re actually in Leyte though. I’m extra glad you’re still blogging then! Maybe you could fill us in on recovery efforts so far (or if you already have, point me there)? I’ve been intrigued particularly by all the “donate boats to fisher folk” projects. If only I could afford to give that much. :/

    • Joe America says:

      I’ve done a piece on “Lifeline Services” a while back, putting the lever on private companies who supply gasoline, cellular and banking services to do more immediately after a disaster. I’ve been to Tacloban a couple of times and it remains both depressing (the extent of the damage and deaths) and uplifting (the commitment and work being done to recover). I’ll do a blog soon that provides a bit of an update on Yolanda. Where I live, on Biliran Island, was not hit as hard as Tacloban. But it was certainly an impressive wind.

  11. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    All I can say about Benigno is he may not be squeaky clean but at least he is clean. He picked a pretty charming innocent demure non-traditional looking Filipino spokesperson Abigail Valte. Normally spokespeople in past has been unmistakably Filipino looking: croc-like with Tancho Tech pomadeed mane.

    SERIOUSLY, FRANKLY I just do not have anything bad to say about Benigno. My mantra all over the Philippine blogosphere was: WHAT GOOT IS A GOOT PRESIDENT IF 99.999998% OF FILIPINOS ARE NOT GOOT

    Because I just do not have anything to say about Benigno. I am not saying he is a good President. I am also not saying he is a bad President. There is just nothing for me to say about him.

    EXCEPT, his precedential Presidential tampering with the corrupt Senate-Judges in Renato Corona’s Impeachment trial. I HAD THAT PREMONITION. I HAD THAT FEELING. In the Philippines, “Premonition” and “Feeling” is evidence enough that there is covert hanky-panky. WHEN Benigno speaks about Renato Corona he just drool and froth in his mouth. He turned red and veins visibly came out like Satanic snakes from his neck pumping blood rushing to his brain.

    Well my premonition and feelings were validated by Bong Sexy after he was finger-pointed by PDAF. Well, in the Philippines what is NORMAL is every body is corrupt. If anyone accuse anyone of shenanigans Filipinos likely believe because corruption is NORMAL and HONESTY IS A CRIME.

    Benigno’s Anti-Wang-Wang still has to produce results to this day. That is minor. No goot-thinking Filiipino policeman would pull-over a wang-wanger. Because wang-wanger are NATURALLY Powerful, Wealthy and Well-Connected. If anyone here remember, it took Benigno in Presidential motorcade that told a motorcycle Filipino policeman to pull-over a wang-wanger, That was truly Precedential. Well, Benigno is busy. Benigno cannot be riding shotgun in a motorcycle to ticket those wang-wanger just to make me happy.

    Here is my bad. And I admit. I have been haranguing Benigno for making Malacanang a 24/7 Taxi and Escort Service. Napoles picked-up a phone. Called Malacanang to pick her up at a very lonely dark Cemetery which they did, pronto.

    Gates opened. Maitre de offered her drinks in their most crisp of Barong Tagalog. Prepared sumptous breakfast. They woke up Benigno. Benigno Precedentially escorted Janet to NBI with all christmas lights and foreboding wang-wang. Benigno handed over Janet to the Director. Benigno left.

    deLima took over from there. NBI director and deputy directors resigned like flies. I do not know what deLima whispered to NBI. I do not know if NBI was insulted by Precedential Escort Delivery. But, suddenly as it appeared EVERYTHING WENT QUIET like as if Ampatuan was unleashed upon them. TO THIS DAY THAT MYSTERY HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED LIKE ALL INVESTIGATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES.

    The Precedential DAP is now in question. My Sweet Abigail came on Television to defend or misinform the Filipinos. I just swooned. I hope there will be plenty of Precedential Mysteries because I wanted to see Sweet Abigail every night before I hit the sack.

    Maybe I just have to record all her speeches so I do not have to wait for Malacanang Mystery Tours.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      This is my bad about Benigno about Napoles:

      Did Napoles called Ruby, the then Malacanang’s Social Network Manager?
      Did Ruby demanded that Benigno escort Napoles?
      If Benigno did not know Napoles why the personalized precedential escort?
      Why there is no chatter about this, there was short-lived chatter, and investigation making Malacanang the Escort Service of Crooks.

      Would Benigno pick-me up from the airport and deliver me to my relatives with all my balikbayan boxes?

      • Joe America says:

        Mr. Aquino is the top cop of the land. If you have the top criminal of the land ready to turn herself in, and she will only do it to you because she trusts no one else, I think the mistake would be not going to apprehend her.

        • I sometimes call the President – Pnoy, I seem to recall him responding to a query on how to address him early on his presidency and he said just call me Pnoy, short cut for President Noy. The rude ones ridicule him and call him Penoy (as in a boiled duck egg, a not so developed and aborted duck fetus, as opposed to balut), Abnoy (retarded), ABShit…. my point is if you could not respect the man, respect the position he is in….. please…..I could not distinguish Benigno of GRP and our President in Mariano’s post, I identified him as the President in relation to Malacanang and his actions there. Hey, my goat.. where are you?… INMHO, the first deadly sin of former CJ Corona is accepting his midnight appointment, and he promptly followed that up with actions glaringly pro PGMA the allegedly great plunderer and vote thief next only to Marcos.

          • Joe America says:

            You know, not too many people seem to see the importance of that point. Two judges declined Ms. Arroyo’s selection of them as her midnight appointment because they KNEW accepting would tarnish their honor. Corona didn’t care about that. He only cared about what he could get.

            • Absolutely correct, and it was compounded by the action of the PGMA-controlled-Supreme Court in confirming his appointment, stating that it was constitutional, ignoring an established jurisprudence by the previous Supreme Court’s ruling on similar question of constitutionality of midnight appointments. Talk about screwing the constitution and the enabling laws of the land all in the name of and for the specific purpose of protecting PGMA from various litigation she will face when she steps down from office.

  12. letlet says:

    Grace Poe, to be a formidable opponent of Binay, should learned lessons from Margaret Thatcher and make her as an inspirations in her (Grace) pursuit of winning the presidential bid. She has to make a lot of good readings about her.

    Margaret Thatcher had been an unlikely candidate for leadership of the Conservatives. She was not socially high- powered, she was not well -connected,and she was not experienced ( education secretary had been her only cabinet post) yet she became of the best prime ministers of United Kingdom).

    • letlet says:

      Comelec urges Congress to pass law on money ban during elections. Not only on money ban but also a ban on distributing blue bags of goodies with noodles, cell phones, rice, canned goods and whatever. This is an outright bribery, the recipients have no recourse but vote for him, just like what happened when Nancy Binay run for her senatorial position.

  13. Dee says:

    Government transparency and accountability still has a long way to go in the Philippines. People assume a lot of things because they do not have the necessary information to logically and rationally arrive at a well examined conclusion.

    The resistance to passing FOI and amending the Foreign Currency Deposits Act are signs that transparency and accountability are detrimental to the lifestyle that the powerful had became accustomed.

    I stayed away from commenting about the President because I am naturally biased for him because his family came from my hometown. My inner Joe Friday and Pollyana are also not easily swayed by conspiracy theories.

    I am proud to tell the Filipino purists here that my hometown crawls in diversity. We were descended from the Spanish conquistadors, the Aetas, the Fookien Chinese merchants, and the American imperialists. I can lay claim to all four, if the oral history passed on to me is accurate. The gist is, we are passionately patriotic Filipinos. We are proud of President Benigno Aquino III. He is one of us, and we believe in his sincerity and honesty.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sorry, Dee, but the idea of you as Pollyana just does not fit. It’s like fingernails on the blackboard. Pollyana to me is good and pure without thought. You think too much to be Pollyana.

      • Dee says:

        Joe Friday and Pollyanna are my bad cop and good cop. Like the angel and the devil on one’s shoulders. They are part of my personal checks and balances.

        • Joe America says:

          Joe Friday, played by Jack Webb in black and white, always was and always will be one of my favorite characters. Pollyana was my second wife, and I divorced her.

          • Dee says:

            Sorry about that, Joe.

            Good news: President Aquino and his administration abolished 6 government owned corporations. They are looking for more to abolish and privatize.


            I hope they will look into redundant government agencies too. A smaller government will be more nimble and responsive. No more going to 8-10 offices to start a business. A one stop agency would be nice. I remember the inefficiency of our own DMV. It used to be a nightmare to renew a license. Now, they are so efficient and fast. Last time I had to register a car, I was out of there in 10 minutes. I used to take a day off to deal with them.

            I also wish the 500+ legislative members would be cut into 1-2 per region. Does the Philippines really need all those people? The pork barrel money need to be funneled to infrastructure and economic projects that are vital for each region. Bonuses should only be given to the most productive, efficient and effective regional representative(s). Metrics should be designed with an eye for factors such as costs savings and return on investments.

            • Joe America says:

              Good ideas, all. Simplicity would be a good goal for government agencies, I think. They for sure get bogged down in trivial and nonsensical activities.

    • Dee, I really appreciate and admire all your posts, so full of wisdom and clarity, yours, cha and chit, joseph ivo, andrew lim as well.. you all enrich this blog and my understanding of our country’s political landscape… I keep recommending this blog to all my friends, peers, classmates…. well, hope springs eternal.. I truly thank God for joeam.com . I wish I have all the time in the world to contribute more but, alas… BIR deadlines call, I have to train and guide my staff….until they gain enough traction on the job…

      • Dee says:

        Mary Grace, you are a gracious soul. You are a worthy addition to the Society of Honor. Your anecdotal posts are not only full of wisdom but of resilience, hope, and optimism. If I may speak for the society, we are all glad that you found our company pleasant and informative.

  14. randedge says:

    Joe, I love the intro about respecting the President. Probably comes from my Army days too, but I agree! Far too many of his critics and their critiques degenerate into disrespectful nicknames and labels. BS Aquino is one I hate the most. Yes, it is his initials, but it is no accident that they are equating him to “bullshit”. Utterly unnecessary.

    I for one respect him too. But even if one does not, we must at least respect the position. Just as it is in any Armed Force, saluting an officer is saluting his commissioned authority. If you don’t like the guy, then tough, that’s the best your system of government, your population, and your society can produce.

    Isn’t there a George Carlin quote about this?
    Aha! Found it:

    Ok, maybe that’s too negative and profane but… Substitute “American” for any other system and its the same.

    “This is the best of what we can do folks. This is what have to offer.”

    That President Aquino is actually supporting initiatives to improve what the Philippines has to offer (both potential investors and its general population), and man, it’s enough for me to be hopeful for the ‘motherland’.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, George Carlin is one of my favorite mind-stretching, values-building comedians, may he rest in peace. The language is a part of that stretch and I thank you for his wisdom in this pithy piece.

      This is the link in case readers have trouble with the embed in your comment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CFDND9SRJbs

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Is this guy talking about Filipinos? Or just afraid the joke meant for Filipinos because this dude knows for sure when he go to convalescent HE WILL BE STARING AT A FILIPINO “CARE” GIVER.

      • Geng says:

        It’s always the same thing in any country when the leadership turns out to be the opposite of what the voters expected ant they do not want to admit that they were largely responsible for the turnout, And they will always repeat the same mistake again and again as what happened when Joseph Estrada placed second in the last presidential election.
        Most of them will forever suck!

    • Very well said, randedge… That’s I’m always trying to say about respecting the President… you have a gift for words like Joe and his commenter here… bravo!

  15. Joseph-Ivo says:

    The larger part of Filipino voters is voting emotionally. Instead or discussing issues to convince we should discuss emotions. The current president was elected in a vote of compassion with his deceased mother. Today he is good in talking in an understandable language, in using Napoles and her extravaganzas to incite anger, being the clumsy brother of Chris… Isn’t the packaging and the promotion more important than the product?

    Also the next president will win on laughs and tears, on sympathy and identification, on looks and timbre of the voice… What are his magic powers, what proof do we have that they will work for me? Again correct branding is the issue, not facts and figures or ideologies. It seems only Binay understands this.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, you are partly right. But Mr. President also grasps it. He still wears his yellow ribbon.

    • ella says:

      You are so right Joseph-Ivo it all boils down to the voting population. Unfortunately numbers is the name of the game and we have more voters who do not discuss issues before voting.

      Metro Manila might have seen the bad side of the Binays but it is not known in most parts of the country.

      But I really hope and pray that the next President of the country will continue and improve on what the current administration is doing.

    • brianitus says:

      Two thumbs up on that thought. Emotions before numbers and facts. Emotions get you to decide, not just the records. Emotions get you to take a leap of faith.

      A careful note on branding, it shouldn’t be too magical or improbable. That Mr.Palengke and pedicab approach of Roxas before really sucked. I think a firm stand on issues that pull on the heartstrings should do it. In Binay’s case, if you were in a poor area, wouldn’t you want to have a taste of Makati life? PNoy’s tuwid na daan was a good approach in branding. And really, sometimes I still wish to see Manny Villar swimming in a sea of trash.

      • Dee says:

        We should all brainstorm on how to market the Society of Honor’s chosen candidate(s). We have a group of very creative and intelligent people here. We can make up slogans, jingles, heartstring pullers and the works. It will be fun and productive. We have an in-house marketing and communications consultant in Joe, too.

        • the late William Esposo (the chairwrecker) is one good marketing and communication consultant, although I’m afraid he would have gone for Binay… I followed his column right until his death, that’s how I came to discover Joeam’s blog. Will this blog get into trouble with immigration if we do that? I wish Joe would consider becoming a dual citizen, seeing he is married to a Filipina, that way we can truly claim him as a kabayan, although as one commenter or two have correctly stated – he is more of a Filipino than most of us – the followers of GRP in particular … traitors!!

        • Joe America says:

          I am restrained by Immigration regulations from engaging to influence Philippine politics. I withdraw from the political scene during the official campaign season and temper my comments to be mainly observations as the election season approaches. I agree there are good minds in this forum.

    • Adrian says:

      Mr. Ramon Jimenez should be given a more active role in Communications Department. The spokepersons always sound legalistic and defensive.

  16. Wala sa sariling katinuan yang si Joe America.
    Bakit hindi mo gamitin ang tunay mong pangalan? Para hindi ka makasuhan ng Online Libel?

    This article is pure crap. I almost vomit after reading the first few paragraphs.

    Yang mama na sinasabi mong hero sampu ng mga kamag-anak, KKK at specially ang nanay nya ang syang dahilan bakit nagkandaletse-letse ang Pilipinas!

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sorry you found the article distasteful. Thank you for at least reading a few paragraphs before trekking to the bathroom.

      • And before leaving a three-paragraph comment. 😉

        My own worry about this administration is that even as President Aquino and his Cabinet members are fairly capable, the tenured agency staff operating below them may not be as virtuously aligned. And they’re the ones who stay on after this administration is long gone. IMHO now would be a good time to review our Civil Service laws and give it a shot in the arm with better mechanisms to weed out deadbeats and corrupt staff.

        • Joe America says:

          Very good, Jego. You are the first person to cite that log-jam to productivity and performance, and the risk that it will continue to plug things up after Mr. Aquino leaves.. So many are in a job because of favor, and are grossly under-performing. A program of house-cleaning would be helpful, or installation of rigorous performance standards and regular reviews.

  17. Oh it has been a while since fired my arrows here.

    I concede that Pnoy– he asked people to call him with that pet name–is a decent president with a vision, but calling him a hero is a some kind of an exaggeration.

    For me, a hero is someone who makes excruciating sacrifices for the greater good. Pnoy hasn’t been jailed at Fort Santiago nor exiled to Dapitan…

    As of the moment, I’m still on the fence when it comes to his legacy. The pragmatic me shall wait for 2016.

    P.S. always wonder why trolls come out on blogs like this. Worse, they think that you, the blogger, is a bilingual Google translator.

    • Geng says:

      There is only one thing that can be asked of that troll – How low can you go?

      • Joe’s level of tolerance and his calm response to them truly amazes me no end.. I wish I have that… It should shame them, the trolls, I mean

        • Joe America says:

          Well, I used to get upset, then I realized that their approach is rather that of a two-year old trying to push buttons, and one can not hold a two-year old up to adult standards. One can only demonstrate calm and some degree of understaiding, and hope they will eventually grow up to be thoughtful, mature, kind people themselves.

    • Joe America says:

      I’d suggest waiting until 2026 at least, to see if the turnaround sticks. If it does, he’s a hero. If it doesn’t, he’s just another schmuck tossed to the wind and wolves by the bickering, self-dealing disaster of a nation.

      • But by that time, the succeeding presidents would have made their mark or damage So there would be too much “interfering variables.” Worse, if Aquino III successor’s is from the other end of the spectrum– Binay, it will make Aquino 3.0’s impact harder to evaluate.

        The policy direction will make a 180 degree turn, I guess.

        Or by that time, I would have died due to stress from Philippine bureaucracy transactions or escaped to a developed country– preferably to Scandinavia– as a TNT/illegal alien. HAHAHAHA!

  18. Phanz says:

    Mr. Joe America.. Tingnan mo muna ang situation ng mga Yolanda Victims saka mo pa ipuri ang magaling mong idol!!!!!

    • Joe America says:

      He’s not really my idol, he is a President with many responsibilities who, overall, is very good for the Philippines. Not everyone agrees, and that’s fine. I respect the challenges of his position and his overall demeanor and results. Yolanda was a horrific storm. I live in its path, felt its brunt, lived its after-affects, and have visited Tacloban on two occasions since the storm. It is tragic. I agree recovery has been handled poorly, by several key people, and will write about that soon. I hope you will read other articles I’ve written to see the angle at which I come from. It is not gaga addle-brained star worship. It is thought out, with the help of perspectives provided by other readers.

    • Phanz, tingnan mo rin kung anong ginagawa ngayon ng mga local government dun… hmmm? i-assess mo rin ang performance nila paminsan minsan, pag may time ka between being a troll

  19. letlet says:

    I agree with you that Our President is no ordinary guy. He is indeed an unsung hero and a hero for that matter.

    Who can be called unsung hero? A person who makes substantive yet unrecognized contribution to the country and for the country. A person whose bravery is unacknowledged. He usually refrains from claiming too much in return for his efforts. We have to look at the way our President conducts himself and stands up to China, Taiwan, Hongkong and Zamboanga crisis.

    Who can be called a hero? ” He is someone who has given his life to something bigger than oneself” by Joseph Campbell. ” He is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles” by Christopher Reeve.

    Only Our President has shown a dogged determination to pursue a peaceful agreement with the MILF notwithstanding the drama of Misuari and the Sabah crisis on the sideline No other president in the history of Philippines has shown such strength of perseverance and endurance in the pursuit of peace in Mindanao. Also, only Our President has shown dogged persistence of eradicating corruption in our country by rooting out Corona and Gutierrez, putting Gloria in a house arrest, imprisoning Napoles, and putting Enrile, Estrada and Revilla under investigation for PDAF scam

    • Joe America says:

      “Unrecognized” That is exactly the point I was trying to make, to extend our thinking away from the nits and grits of specific issues to look at the Philippines and say, wow, we are on the move, working hard and right, and gaining respect around the world. Perfection? No we don’t have that yet, and neither does Mr. Aquino. But it is well to recognize – that word again – that he swims with sharks, yet is making that swim. Not for his personal gain, but for the Philippines. This is very different than leaders before who brought personal agenda to the position.

  20. bry says:

    I disagree completely. All I see from him is an arrogant man with a vendetta. Notice Its only now that he admits to making mistakes now that he can’t shift the blame to someone else.

    As for Hong Kong, I will blame that entirely on Lim. Lim’s incompetence has nothing to do Aquino. Apologizing to Taiwan was a mistake though, a very big one. Made our coast guards a scape goat and giving them even less reason to protect our waters. Why should they even try to protect our waters now when their government won’t even protect them?

    Mindanao, he lucked out on that but time will tell if this will be successful. A similar deal was made before only to find out that the ARMM governor then used the deal to stock up on arms. Besides which, why give priority only to the Muslims in Mindanao? What happens to the rest of the people there? I don’t even think Mindanao is majorly Muslim, just that a small percentage of them is armed and loud.

    And worst of all, protecting his friends, more than a few of whom he probably placed himself. Aquino himself may not be doing anything dirty but his “daang matuwid” is a complete farce if he insists on protecting his corrupt friends.

    Like any administration before him, he did some good and a lot of bad.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m inclined to wonder if you will ever be happy with your nation or its leaders, and whether your expectations aren’t perhaps unreasonable expectations for the leader of a land of many challenges, in a culture of many critics.

      In the case of Taiwan, the DOJ investigated and found Philippine coast guard people intentionally and gleefully shot at the Taiwan fishermen and killed one. What would your perspective be if Chinese boats did the same in the seas off of Palawan and killed a Philippine fisherman? The Philippines gathered information forthrightly, drew a conclusion honorably, accepted accountability for wrong behavior, and apologized. Like a responsible nation. The alternative would have been to play politics, twist the truth, and make innocents pay the price. You see the Philippine way as wrong, I see it as right, a much more mature and higher display of values than we ordinarily see from face-conscious Asian nations.

      So I look at things through a different set of glasses, and it is not surprising we see a lot of things differently. I feel a tad sad that so many Filipinos are so critical they can’t find any satisfaction with their homeland or its leaders, whom they elect. They are what I’d term 100 percenters. If it is not their way on any particular issue, it is wrong overall.

      Jesus would fail them as the leader of the Philippines.

      • bry says:

        If your happy with the incompetence and mediocrity that this administration has displayed, that’s on you.

        With the Taiwan issue, innocents did pay the price. Whether or not the navy men where laughing before firing a shot is a moot point. The fisherman was supposedly in our (admittedly disputed) waters. Point is, even if its disputed territory we should standby our people. Our government claims the water is ours and so in effect the navy men were merely doing their job protecting our waters. So protect the people that protect our waters. No excuses. If you believe that investigation wasn’t colored with politics, then you better start cleaning those “different set of glasses” of yours.

        We are critical because we need to be. We are a country that thinks mediocrity is ok. Majority of people need to be pushed to perform better.

        You also claim that Aquino cleaned up the government ranks. You forgot to mention that he replaced them with his own people, many of whom are now getting embroiled in issues.

        Also disturbing is the way this administration manipulated so called satisfaction ratings in a time of discontent. This is a very Machiavellian practice that servers no one but the administration.

        If your ok with all this, if you think this is all good then hey, its a free country don’t let me stop you.

        • Joe America says:

          Let me work around to a point. Corporations are wonderful institutions in that they subjugate our human emotions and tendencies to the overriding drive to generate returns to the shareholder, generally in a competitive marketplace that does not make this easy. When top executives sit down every year to do the next year’s plan, they do a critique of prior performance that has to be direct and comprehensive and honest, and non-political. If they allow gameplaying into the process, they eventually fail. They have to be brutally honest. That does not mean brutally critical. It means seeing the whole picture, looking at the components, and recommending ways to overcome the shortcomings. What is largely missing from all the criticisms hereabouts is the pragmatic solution to overcoming the shortcomings that are pointed out relentlessly.

          In deciding on Taiwan differently, you may have sold thousands of OFW’s there down the river. Or broken the bridge of commerce between Taiwan and the Philippines, which the Philippines needs. It is not so simple.

          You are obviously studied on these matters, but as much as you study, you will never have as much information or guidance as the President has.

          So it becomes a choice. Be a critic, partially blind, and join all the other critics who make the Philippines such a negative, uninspired, uninspiring place, or delegate up to the President the right to make the best decision he can. And support him.

          Yes, I agree, criticism is valuable. If it builds.

  21. This is a comment from one of my friend, lizbethchan…she was referring to your 1st post, WHY I RESPECT PRESIDENT AQUINO. I’m inviting her to visit your blog and be a commenter also…

    I read the article in full. I agree with the writer. Some people are quick to judge, quick to give out negative comments and opinions about everything that our president does. But these people…can they fit in the shoes of a righteous and perfect president that they want this country to have? Certainly not, that is why they are quick in lambasting our president…because they do not think…they can only see the flaws but not the good points of our president.

    I am not an Aquino loyalist…neither a fan of Kris Aquino! I am just an average, not even genius citizen of the Philippines who think and weigh the good and the bad. I may be close to being ignorant about politics…but at least I don’t judge someone whom I know is far better, far intelligent and smarter than I am.

    Isn’t it a shame that an American can see the goodness of our president that many Pinoys do not see?

    C’mon guys! As Joe America said….cut our president some slack. *;) winking

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, thanks for bringing this in, Mary Grace. But I must be candid, too. Many Filipinos see shortcomings to American ways that most Americans do not. There is a certain blindness we pick up by being too close to our own issues. I’ve learned a lot about America by blogging in the Philippines.

  22. When I listened today how Grace Poe grilled Cunanan and her stated reasons for doing so in the senate hearing, I tend to agree with JoeAm, she’s good…!

  23. Joe, it’s time for ConAss or ConCon to change the Constitution to allow President Aquino to seek a second and final term. Yet, he is too humble to allow, I’m afraid.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, the nation could use another six years of steady, assured leadership. I think he is working like a CEO would to give Mar Roxas the background and experience to carry on, but it has tended to display Mr. Roxas as a bit frazzled in crisis. He may be getting the WORK experience he needs, but perhaps not the public reputation that would assure him of getting elected by the voters. But Mr. Aquino is doing the right thing.

  24. Hi Joe,

    I’m thinking that ‘hero’ is too powerful a word to describe the president. I looked up the dictionary definition and this is what I got: “a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”

    Courage: He proved this with the issue of China and going against the church with RH. It also took some courage (and a lot of risk) to do the Corona impeachment.

    1. The enactment of RH as Law
    2. Sin Tax becomes Law
    3. High economic growth, best in region
    4. Significantly reducing corruption in the DPWH.

    Are these achievements ‘outstanding’? Its up for discussion. Some will say that it is expected of him, some will disagree that they are achievements and some will never give him credit for anything anyway. With these 4, he already exceeded my expectations but I’m not yet ready to call him ‘hero’ unless his government can significantly reduce the rate of poverty (and I do hope and pray they do).

    Mistakes: One mistake I would add is his non policy with regards to the sultan of Sulu. Previous governments were able to appease him by giving him some importance so that he won’t start any trouble. GMA even put him in her senatorial slate.

    • Joe America says:

      If you look at him today, yes, it is an overstatement. My look presumes a look back from 15 or 20 years from now. And I’m thinking that readout will show that the President displayed unusual courage and introduced nation-shaking changes in fundamentals that produced a new economic and social framework allowing a vibrant, healthier, wealthier nation to emerge. Of course, if the 2016 election is a step back to power and favor, then President Aquino is just another guy of no distinction whatsoever. Or if China declares war and slaughters us all. Then the hero is some guy with a Chinese name.

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  1. […] appears to be unusually contentious, partly because Manila seems to be, in the words of a popular blogger, “facing up to the Americans at the bargaining table with dignity as equals.” Just as […]

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