Noynoy Aquino, a kaleidoscopic president

kaleidoscope“You gone yellow-zombie on us, Joe?”

Yeah, yeah. Sorry, I can’t help myself. I’ve gone patriotic on the Philippines. I can’t figure out how the nation can get stronger when so many Filipinos insist on diminishing their country and its leadership.

Just as the nation is rising.

Born to lose

So I push back. If you are inspired by failure, just skip this blog, eh? I’m writing to those who are proud of the Philippines.

The name of the kaleidoscope was attached to the tube containing colored glass and pebbles by Scottish inventor Sir David Brewster, in 1817. The name kaleidoscope is. . .

  •  . . . derived from the Ancient Greek καλός (kalos), “beautiful, beauty”, εἶδος (eidos), “that which is seen: form, shape” and σκοπέω (skopeō), “to look to, to examine”, hence “observation of beautiful forms.” [Wiki]

It is the most magical device. If you look at it from the outside, it is an ordinary tube of no particular distinction. But when you hold it up to the light, peer into the tube and turn it, dazzling colors and shapes appear, combinations that are totally unexpected and absolutely magnificent for their intricacy and color. Brilliant rainbow snowflakes, each symmetrical and unpredictable, each there for a moment, then . . . twist . . . on to the next one.

It occurred to me that President Aquino is a lot like that.

Most people, busy in their work, read the paper or flip on the telly and see the President speaking, or under attack, and they are only looking at the tube. They see a one-dimensional President. Or sometimes his spokespeople are trying to do the impossible, explain to very unimaginative and woefully simplistic press what a kaleidoscope thinks.

But this is no simple man, and political efforts to define him as such are bare-faced deceits.

Let’s turn the tube, eh, and see the multi-faceted shape our President takes.

The passive, good natured man

This is the guy we elected. We saw him as passive and quiet, a good man, a senator, well behaved, a little hitch in his walk and always smiling. Or grimacing. That is sometimes hard to distinguish, and certainly the people of Hong Kong couldn’t figure it out. All we knew back in 2010 was that he was not a thief and his mother was a wonderful person of sterling principle and proper bearing. We wanted her back, and so we elected her son.

Now the critics looked at this guy and saw that he did not look exactly like Piolo with a drop-dead stare that would drive a woman to babbling, and he did not exactly strut like Pacquiao with a fighting cock under one arm and a bag of gambling chips dangling from the other. So they attacked, very unkindly, when you consider that this is the President of THEIR nation, and they only diminish their nation when they diminish their President. These critics are shallow and tiresome. They read the covers of books and do not have the character or intellect to get to the real story.

But it is true, one of the President’s better disguises is the appearance of non-descript passivity. It allows him access anywhere.

The peacemaker

After his election, and before taking office, I’d guess the President studied up on what a president is supposed to do, starting with a very important document, the Constitution. He observed that it renounced war as a solution to conflict, and he took it to heart. Besides, it fit his style.

So he set out to solve the problem of the Bangsamoro, to do what presidents before had tried but failed to do. He brought together the primary leadership of the Mindanao Muslim community, representatives of his government, and a couple of distinguished international mediators. They spent months . . . nay, years . . . hammering out an agreement that danced the delicate line between national and regional power-sharing, and wealth-sharing, and toed the very edge of constitutionality with considerable autonomy granted to the Muslim community.

Now the Philippine Supreme Court could spend a few hours and demolish this entire work, because good faith and good results mean nothing to this strange legal panel. They care nothing about results because they are not accountable for them. They read words narrowly and appear to have no passion for the profound or sublime. Yet it is important to recognize that Mindanao has been substantially peaceful for two years already, and investments there are starting to build. Jobs are starting to appear.

Because the President is a peacemaker.

He provided the steady encouragement, patience, and determined effort needed to build mutual trust.

The President’s stance on China also reflects his peaceful bias. Law based. Consistent. Persistent. Not emotionally charged. His stance angers China’s leaders because it makes them look the fool. They are revealed as thugs and liars.

That’s their problem.

The dangerous president

Some call the President “hard headed”, others “vindictive”. These descriptions generally arise when the President gets outside the passive character others presume is his only demeanor. Without doubt, the President has an aggressive side, a bit of fight and even spite in his determination.

If the Supreme Court does strike down the Bangsamoro Agreement, I’m betting the President will fix it. If it takes a constitutional amendment to get the Court out of the government’s good works, he will fix it.

China also proceeds with its adventurism in Philippine waters at risk that Mr. Aquino will reach the point at which the Chinese threaten Philippine sovereignty in an enduring way, and he will push back. And if China tries to punish the Philippines, China will feel the wrath of a world fed up with her tricks and self-dealing. Mr. Aquino has been peaceful, not inert, and has built a wall of alliance partners that China cannot afford to cross.

For sure, China ought to be very clear about Mr. Aquino’s aggressive side, of his determination provoked.

He has not been traveling the world just to eat escargot and pizza.

Behind the public persona of passive good nature is a determined and passionate man. Dangerous to those who cross him.

The loyal boss

Mr. Aquino will fire someone when he wants to. Not when outraged netizens or a purchased-money press or leftist cranks demand it. This is a feature of the President we can see if we look at his aggressive determination in the kaleidoscope and twist the tube so that the determination is affixed to his staff. He is a loyal boss to his immediate subordinates. What is important to him is the work they are doing, not what those who are not accountable think about it.

What is important is what HE sees. And that is as it should be. Tossing his key managers out left and right for any uninformed complaint is not a way to build commitment and loyalty TO THE WORK. There is a reason the entire cabinet, other than VP Binay, applauded when the President rejected Secretary Abad’s resignation.

The loyal President backed them all.

The well-regarded motivational professional Abraham Maslow, packing his “Hierarchy of Needs”, would have applauded, too. Workers dedicate superior effort to a boss who backs them.

The diplomat

What is diplomacy? It is a refined reading of other people, the holding of a fundamental respect for the point of view of others, and courteous, dignified presentation of self.

The President is a diplomat when he makes his speeches in Filipino. He is sharing his respect for the national language that separates the Philippines from any other land, and binds all Filipinos as one. He is sharing his respect for people who speak their regional dialects, saying, essentially, “Speak your language. It is good.”

Mr. Aquino is graciously welcomed just about anywhere in the world because the world sees what many Filipinos do not, for the historical dust in their eyes or bias of personal agenda, that President Aquino has taken great strides to bring the Philippines into the respectable modern world. Political stability, financial order, peaceful ambitions, good works, major strides to end the culture of corruption. This is not Gloria Arroyo’s Philippines by a long shot.

The President has worked hard to cultivate partnerships throughout Asia, and with the United States, Australia and Europe. He grew up in a family of dignified people and he carries the Philippine mantle graciously himself. If people look through the kaleidoscope, they will be pleased with the proud, forthright and honorable presentment of the Philippines that is done by Mr. Aquino when he meets with overseas leaders.

The billiards player

Top-blogger Raissa Robles knows the inside-outs of Philippine politics better than just about any body in the land. She’s prowled there for the better part of her working life. She once did a blog that characterized one facet of President Aquino’s management style: he is a calculator, a billiards player, a thinker. [“Billiards could explain President Aquino’s style of problem-solving“]

When he makes a comment that he would consider a second term, he tosses the entire Philippine class of opinion-makers on its ear. The press goes bananas, political opponents have apoplexy, friends wonder what in the world has happened and start to guess. With a single toss-away comment, he accomplishes what Pacquiao does with a powerful left hook. Knocks everyone off balance so they actually have to THINK about matters. Not just listen to Binay and his horde of spokespeople.

I’m sure he must laugh at the lines and lines of press coverage and hours of breathless television coverage dedicated to what he said. Most of the reporting is simply speculation. One step shy of fiction.

Make no mistake. The Philippine President is a smart, calculating man.

The family man

How can an unmarried man be a family man, eh?

Put the kaleidoscope to the light and you will see that he has done nothing to undermine or politicize his extended family of powerful people, or his church family of priests and bishops, or the star power of his sisters, or the legacy of his parents. Indeed, he keeps these personal relationships in the background, totally private, respectfully, as he goes about the challenging business of taking care of the rest of us.

That is a pretty special talent. One of great sensitivity, personal determination and kindness.

The corporate man

Leftist lunatics like the Stand-UP thugs who accosted Secretary Abad the other day operate on a shallow plane of slogans and manipulative ideological babble. They refuse to see – or they deny – that the DISCIPLINES that President Aquino has put in place, such as measurement of performance by the numbers, are wholesome and transformational, not dictatorial. Authoritative, competent, confident. They prefer weak? That suits their purpose better?

DAP was also transformational, for the economy. It got money directed from waste to productivity.

These are corporate disciplines that, if continued, will remake the nation’s priorities and achievements.

Well, these sloganeers don’t have to chair Cabinet meetings or do any of the hard work, the hard decision-making of government. Being President not easy like writing a blog, or having a bitch session with friends, or throwing paper in the face of a distinguished guest. It is an enormous job.

Most of the critics have no idea of what they are talking about. Period. They swim in a vast pool of ignorance, forever pushing their private agendas by nit-picking on vulnerable sores. They are fundamentally not kind people, nor patriotic, it seems to me. They for sure are not corporate in vision and style. I question the emotional stability of many, frankly.

Yes, criticism is important. If it is informed, issues bound rather than personality bound, forthright, and comes armed with alternatives.

But the Philippines, a land known for coups and instability, could use a whole lot less of it.

The bitterness and angers exuded by the left and by political opponents, including the manipulations of the press, are divisive and destructive. The worst part about the Philippines is the number of people who insist upon acting the crab, going against the grain of a proud, unified, patriotic Philippines. All you get from them are rationalizations. Excuses. Blames. A small nation. A complaining nation.

The President sticks with running the government, a government that is dedicated, purposeful and stable. A unified nation. A big nation. A forthright nation.

The artistic advocate

President Aquino has become a deeper, richer man while in office. The office made the man, as he made the office.

I enjoy watching and reading his speeches and press briefings. It is clear to me that this is a man with passion and insight. He reads, he consults, he pulls in information from many sources, reflects on it, and puts it into order. His own order. No one else’s.

He is not a narrow man or a shallow man.

By advocate, I mean he works earnestly and tirelessly for the Philippines, for a certain kind of Philippines.

For the Philippines that his mother could not quite get to because the political fires were too intense, the ways of the self-dealers too powerful. The Philippines his father could not make it down the ramp to embrace once again.

Bottom line, Mr. Aquino has been true to the mandate given him by the people when he was elected. He has been loyal to Filipinos.

He has done what they asked.

When those who are shallow and self-serving deny the rich colors and shapes of of the ENTIRE President Aquino, they define themselves, cheap, one-dimensional pieces of cardboard. They do not define him.

 

Comments
70 Responses to “Noynoy Aquino, a kaleidoscopic president”
  1. chit navarro says:

    From the eyes of an informed foreigner who chose to retire in the Philippines, you have written a very fitting description our dear President Noynoy Aquino – I hope this article goes viral.

    Indeed, he is one brilliant, calculated and smart guy, the BEST PRESIDENT we have had. If only there is a way to extend his term or ensure that his successor will have the same vision and mission as he has, then we are on the right track to a better and mOST improved PHilippines!

    I love the way you described our Supreme Court:
    “because good faith and good results mean nothing to this strange legal panel. They care nothing about results because they are not accountable for them. They read words narrowly and appear to have no passion for the profound or sublime.”
    I believe it is really this LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY that makes the justices so “bookish” in their interpretation of the law.

    I believe that in his own time, we will see the President’ decisive actions on the raging issues of the day: the VP and Purisima. For all we know, he had set the machinery in motion sometime back, especially with the VP – an astute billiard player, eh?

    Great article! And I would say the BEST WRITTEN ANALYSIS on the President’s intelligence, style and smartness.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you chit. And I’m glad you picked up that the blog is not JUST about President Aquino. The Supreme Court comment is one little tweaking. There are a couple of others.

      • chit navarro says:

        The other one would be on his diplomacy and patience in building relationships to topple down the aggressive, intrusive neighbour …. when the time comes!

        And the way he deals with the left would be the other one perahps.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, very good. My favorite is the danger of electing a corrupt president, re China policy. We are in trouble there now because Arroyo was willing to deal away Philippine interest in the Spratleys. And China is salivating for a change in President in 2016. We can guess who they favor.

  2. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Speaking of billiards, angles and perspectives, the President keeps close to his chest both the Noy-Bi and Noy-Mar factions. I think this is his way of removing the cordon sanitaire that bedevils leaders.

    1.1. Too often the cordon that is meant to serve as a buffer between leaders and every distraction and importunity from followers, that cordon becomes the filter that prevents them from seeing the true conditions that obtain outside. By allowing both factions access to him and in listening to their competing interpretations and demands, the President keeps himself in balance and in the zone.

    2. Another thing of note is that the President keeps his own counsel. He may lend his ears to the factions but he is the one who makes the decisions.

    2.1. His decisions are at times not clear-cut and are clothed in ambiguity. These hesitations should not be taken as indecisiveness. Rather these are deliberate tactics in pursuit of the grand strategy.

    2.2. Take for example his various conflicting pronouncements on Constitutional change and a second term. Politicians, columnists and China scratch their heads and cast tea leaves in vain to decipher his meaning and his intention. Some bloggers even make sporting beer bets. 😉

    2.3. But the one fact that is apparent to all is that this keeps his enemies off balance.

    2.4. The other fact that is not so apparent is that he is listened to, he is paid attention to. He acquires the power and mantle of an oracle.

    3. Poor Binay! He does not know which way to turn. At times he attempts to break away to use his own rail line that he has established through the Sister-City program. But at every turn, so far, he has had to turn back and been forced to re-align his coaches to the President’s line.

    3.1. As 2016 nears, the Binay train is about to be derailed. Perhaps it has already been derailed. People no longer accept that it is an unstoppable all-stop train but a limited-stop service. While seeming to be a full service train with endless provisions of noodles, t-shirts, and sardines that are freely distributed to the squatters lining the railways, the Binay’s train true character is being revealed as a self-service service.

    3.2. Apparently the water closet fittings on the train and in the Makati Parking Building are overpriced, the hand dryer by as much as 1277%. The Veep may wash his hands after using the toilet but they will remain moist and never get dry. Watergate…Waterclosetgate. Aha, Kubetagate!
    *****

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Addendum to 3.1. People who board the train are being taken for a ride.
      *****

    • Joe America says:

      Ha, 2.2 the beer bookie noted the absence of any participation from Australia. What, they don’t sell beer there, or what?

      I’m very much looking forward to the next popularity survey to see if indeed Binay is taking a hit amongst the broad population. Watercloset gate is very slick. One has to keep an eye on you, so full of tricks with the words. “Kubetagate” it is.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Australia not sell beer? I would have you know that is a dastardly aspersion that no dinky-di Aussie bloke – ocker, larrikin, bogan or wowser – will take lying down… or standing up with his head to the south, as we are wont to do in this land down under.

        We make the best beers in the world. Here is a view from a Pom:

        http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/9636/australias-best-beers-and-lagers-by-bobinoz/

        I myself, being more of a wowser, am partial to No 9, Pure Blonde, although it has been described as a “weak, girly beer” by bogans. A six-pack is about $17, and a case of 24 is $42. At the exchange rate of P39.23, that’s P666/six-pack and P1,647/case.

        The reason I did not participate is that I do not bet on certainties. It is not sporting.

        In other words, palusot. 😉

        *****

        dinky di = true blue; genuine
        ocker = typical Aussie bloke who drinks beers, wears singlets and thongs
        larrikin = a good-hearted ocker
        bogan = an ocker you dislike
        wowser = a cultured Aussie; opposite of an ocker
        ***

        • Joe America says:

          Ahahahaha. Thanks for the whack upside the head, the translation of said whack, and the rationale. Having been to Australia a couple of times, I know the beer there is mighty fine, but they don’t like American beer. So I thought a mild tweak was in order. Do you wear a thong when you drink Pure Blonde?

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Ockers, who wear thongs, do not quaff Pure Blonde. Larrikins such as myself, who wear sandals at minimum, do. The commonality of ockers and larrikins intersect on quaffing and watching a footy match as seafood and assorted meats – roo, croc, and rack of lamb – sizzle on the barbie.

            (Aussies who read this must be having a laugh to themselves as to how the antipodean life is being glamorized… and misrepresented.)
            *****

    • gerverg1885 says:

      Edgar

      Did you intentionally leave the cakes among the gifts that the VP freely distributed to the squatters lining the railways as if they do not salivate, nay, crave..as if they do not deserve.to have a taste of expensive cakes courtesy of Senator Nancy Binay?

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Gerverg,

        Thanks, it escaped my mind. To mend the omission, let me add a few more sentences.

        The simple gifts of noodles, t-shirts and sardines send the simple political message of material support: “we are here to help you.”

        But the cake and burial assistance gifts send the powerful message of spiritual support: “we love you and will care for you… while you live and even up to the end of your days.”

        Both types of gifts create the obligation of indebtedness which is very strong in the Filipino. The sardines alone will haunt you as you shade the ballot.

        And the gifts effectively cover not only the motive of self-interest but also the nature of the gift-giving which is basically fraud. (From Wikepedia: “Fraud is a deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain…”

        As G.B. Shaw observed: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
        *****

        • chit navarro says:

          what about the senior citizen’s card the gives FREE movies….

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Chit,

            Thanks. Ach, this senior citizen is forgetting too much! Perhaps the subconscious is desirous of some incentive (food?) to remember – or disincentive (sleep?) to forget. Or he is trying to draw out the conversation in a sneaky way so people will remember how to shade the ballot properly. As it is 11:55 AM, the first option seems most likely.
            *****

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Chit,

            The free movies goes with the cake and the funeral assistance. The improved message is: “we love you and will entertain and care for you… while you live and even up to the end of your days.”

            We should never underestimate Binay. Despite a lack of charisma, his political instincts are formidable.
            *****

            • retmd says:

              And those gifts have a vote multiplier effect considering that some Filipinos defer to their lolos/lolas the decision of whom to vote for. This is related to Joe’s latest article on geezers.

  3. macspeed says:

    @Joe Am,
    .
    Very well written, I wished all these “Politicians” (including the Supreme Court and people of different walks in life plus the crazy mundane communist) stop their effort to tarnish or rust the positive outcome of PNOY developments. All of the residents of Philippine will benefit somehow for the progressive program that has started since PNOY ruling.
    .
    One of PNOY’s kaleidoscope is Patience, if I sit in his shoes, for sure, I will re-establish “Death Penalty”. I may order my secret police to salvage drug dealers. Put to jail smugglers and other big time gang. And Strengthen the Judiciary system to immediately bring the final verdict to corrupt politicians. A certain amount of corruptions shall be dealt to Death by Firing Squad.
    .
    However impatient some people like me, I appreciated PNOY’s style of running the course. PNOY’s advisers are the best so far giving him 3 dimensional decisions that no “politicians” can view or understand his next move.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, patience, indeed. A very sharp addition to the kaleidoscope.

    • Joe America says:

      As I reflect further on that, given the demands of so many on the President, to do this, fire him, don’t fund this, fund that. . . people seem to want a “knee jerk” president who is running around bowing to everyone’s special interest. No. No. He is right not to jerk his staff, or Filipinos, around. Even Senator Poe joined the “knee jerk” crowd on Purisima. And House Speaker Belmonte joined them recently by criticizing the fact that a lot of people are not feeling the benefit of the economic gain. Of course not, the gain does not GO to everyone, only those who earn new jobs or qualify for the CCT program or get construction contracts or have more tourists visiting their resorts or Uber and other transportation companies. No one promised EVERY Filipino 30,000 pesos or a promotion. Nitwit. Old geezer . . . I’ll comment on them Wednesday.

      Okay. Time to cool down now . . . breathe deeply . . .

      The other thing. The intensity of some of the criticisms is obviously an intent to flip the tables on the President. He has succeeded in jailing some big fish, and is applying a lot of pressure on lesser fish. They are after him trying to make HIM the guilty party.

      Our job is to make sure it does not work.

      • chit navarro says:

        My first impression when I read the news heading “Speaker Belmonte agrees…. and then the 1st sentence : “has railed against the Aquino government…” is one of disbelief. But towards the end of the story is the following paragraph:

        “We are all asking what is happening to our public funds? We have read all these news about corrupt practices of the strong and powerful. We will be forming an oversight committee to check where the funds are going and ensure that the poor are getting what has been allocated for them,” he said….

        This is one case of the media putting a rather misleading news heading on the news. It maybe that the Speaker was putting emphasis on the rampant corruption of public funds and that he wants to have an oversight committee to check on the budgeted funds, that these are going really to where it is intended, NOT to line the pockets of teh strong and the powerful.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, thanks. That is a very different take on it. I should be more wary of these kinds of headlines. If I were a top congressman and my words were twisted, I’d think I’d give the editor a call and ask what’s going on.

  4. I am working with the government since 1976 from marcos to aquino, ramos, estrada, arroyo to PNoy and I agree with you .. he is a president with dignity and integrity…

  5. Bing Garcia says:

    I wish everyone can read this including the President.

    • Joe America says:

      It’s strange to me how many people think the President should march only to the beat of THEIR drum. I have the same complaint about the Filipino community in Los Angeles griping because the President went to McDonalds and a gun shop in San Francisco instead of heading for LA to meet with them. Good Lord! Did they follow his itinerary in Europe and the East Coast? Absolutely exhausting.

      And they can’t seem to grasp that. They feel sooooooo self important. . .

      So little respect . . .

      • RHiro says:

        I TOTALLY RESPECT YOUR OPINION, PLUS IT IS YOUR BLOG. HOWEVER FOR THE RECORD, I BELIEVE PRES. AQUINO IS A DECENT MAN BUT INCOMPETENT AND WEAK LEADER…HE IS BEING HELD UP BY A FEW GOOD COMPETENT MEN IN HIS CABINET…

        • gerverg1885 says:

          RHiro

          Haven’t you read what this writer (whose name I can’t recall as I was typing this) wrote about how he defines a leader? He said that, “How do you spot a leader? They come in all ages, sizes and condition. Some are poor administrators, some are not overly bright. One clue: the true leader can be recognized because somehow his people turn in superior performances.

          So I’d say it is exactly by that measure can we judge the President’s leadership. He is a competent and strong leader by the way he is presiding over those good men in his cabinet and even those whose performances are still , well, not so good but are trying their best to be good.

          “A true leader is not one with the most followers but one who creates the most leaders”, as an unknown writer once said and I think the last quote below will be enough to explain my point. “Leadership is the art of getting someone to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

          Compared to all the leaders before him, I’d say he is the best we have had so far because of his decency and practice of his ethical values.

          To each his own. I, too, respect your opinion

          • RHiro says:

            “I MUST HURRY AND GO AND FOLLOW MY PEOPLE, BECAUSE I AM THEIR LEADER….
            GANDHI

            THERE IS NO DOUBT HE IS NOT A THIEF……

            90% OF THE POPULATION IS LIVING AT THE RAZORS EDGE……THE BENIGN ECONOMIC CONDITIONS AT PRESENT CAN BE TRACED TO THOSE THAT LEFT TO WORK ABROAD…THEIR EARNINGS PLUS THE WORK OF ALAN GREENSPAN AND BERNANKE, YELLEN HAVE CONTRIBUTED….

            THE PHILIPPINES STATE CONTINUES TO PROVE TO BE A LAGGARD WHEN IT COMES TO CREATING A STRONG STATE BACKED UP BY THE RULE OF LAW….

            THE HISTORY OF HOW HE ORGANIZED HIS CABINET IS ONE EXAMPLE AND PLACED CLOSE FRIENDS IN THE OFFICE OF THE DILG AND CHIEF PNP IS WORTH LOOKING AT..

            PLEASE NOTE HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH HIS ES OCHOA TURNED OUT WELL SINCE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OCHOA AND SPEAKER BELMONTE IN LOCAL QC GOVERNMENT WHO WAS ALREADY VERY CLOSE TO THE AQUINO FAMILY PROVED MOST BENEFICIAL AS ONE HALF OF CONGRESS IS IN BELMONTES BACK POCKET WITH HELP FROM ABAD. ROXAS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE GUY WHO WOULD RUN THE GOVERNMENT. BUT HE LOST TO BINAY… PNOY’S GOVERNMENT IS BEING RUN BY THE FACTIONS THAT HELPED HIM GET ELECTED…THE BEST GUYS HE HAS IN CABINET ARE THE REAL ANTI-MARCOS, ANTI -GMA GUYS…

            THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS WAS ONE OF THE MORE BLATANT EXAMPLES OF JURY TAMPERING AND PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT…

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I know we have different perspectives on the President. Not to be too argumentative, I would note that a strong leader is not afraid to hire strong subordinates. Also, I can’t imagine anyone else doing as well – handling crises, going with metrics and honesty in self-assessments, providing the stability that got the ratings upgrades. Who, Gordon, Villar, Teodoro, Roxas, Santiago, Binay, Poe, Escudero, Drilon? I can’t find anyone who could have done what Mr. Aquino is doing, going against the tide of Arroyo favoritism, and the significant criticism that comes his way for it.

        • who do you think are the few good men in his cabinet holding up our ‘incompetent weak’ leader?

  6. David Murphy says:

    Hi Joe, Can’t think of one thing in this article that I disagree with. About the only thing I would add is that Ninoy Aquino is not perfect but a fallible human like any one of us. He has probably already made mistakes that will be recognized only in retrospect and probably will make more. Be prepared to accept that and to defend him against those who criticize him even when he is right.

    • Joe America says:

      Hello, David. Without question, President Aquino is fallible. Decision-making requires facts and assumptions, either of which can be wrong. A lot of businesses fail because they get the calculus wrong. Government is more diverse and complex than a corporation, and is a political institution which overlays dissent and obstructionism . . . . ahaha, and Supreme Courts . . . on acts that, within a corporation, are usually undertaken in harmony. The President steers the ship through minefields, actually. Tough job. I believe it is patriotic, or just reasonable behavior when one delegates to another, to give the President a little “wiggle room” to do things differently than we might. Or even to make mistakes now and then. It weakens the Philippines to harp on any decision he takes that has a blemish. Politicians will be politicians, I know that. But I don’t subscribe to the idea that I have to be one, or that it is healthy for citizens to advocate political, versus national, interests.

  7. RHiro says:

    NAME ONE BRAND NEW POLICY PROGRAM INITIATED BY THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT??

    • Joe America says:

      ITLOS as the solution to China’s aggressions.

      • RHiro says:

        Not quite accurate…….

        WHAT NEW POLICY PROGRAM… MARCOS AND RAMOS ACTED MORE FORCEFULLY AS THE 9 DASH LINE WAS ORIGINALLY THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA’S CLAIM TO THE SOUTH CHINA SEA AND SUPPORTED THEN BY THE U.S.A.

        WHY NOW THE PRC ARE THE AGGRESSORS?????

        1956 Tomas Cloma, director of the Maritime Institute of the Philippines, claimed sovereignty over the northwestern two-thirds of the Spratly Islands, naming his territory “Kalaya’an” (“Freedomland”). The People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China, France, South Vietnam, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands all issued protests. The Republic of China and South Vietnam launched naval units to the islands, though South Vietnam left no permanent garrison. Later in the year, South Vietnam declared its annexation of the Spratly Islands as part of its Phước Tuy Province.

        1968 The Philippines sent troops to three islands on the premise of protecting Kalayaan citizens, and announced the annexation of the Kalayaan island group.
        1972 The Philippines incorporated the Kalayaan islands into its Palawan province.

        1978 A presidential decree from the Philippines outlined territorial claims to the Kalayaan portion of the islands.
        1995 The Philippine government revealed that a PRC military structure was being built at the Mischief Reef. Philippine President Fidel Ramos ordered increased patrols of the Philippine-controlled areas; the incident lead to numerous arrests of Chinese fishermen and naval clashes with PLAN vessels.

        1999 A Philippine World-War-II-vintage vessel (LT 57 Sierra Madre) ran aground on the Second Thomas Shoal. Despite initial PRC demands for its removal, and subsequent PRC offers for its free removal, the vessel remains aground on the reef.[78][

        2009 The Office of the Philippine President enacted the “Philippine Baselines Law of 2009” (RA 9522). The law classifies the Kalayaan Island Group and the Scarborough Shoal as a “regime of islands under the Republic of the Philippines.” This means that the Philippines continues to lay claim over the disputed islands.[80]

        Philippines submission to ITLOS, 2013
        On 22 January 2013, the Philippines submitted a case to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).[17]
        Philippine Justice Antonio T. Carpio states that the case is solely a maritime dispute, and not territorial in nature. The Philippines seeks clarification from the tribunal as to whether China’s 9-dashed line can negate the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone as guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS), of which China is a signatory. As part of the case, the Philippines also seeks clarification on whether rocks above water only at high tide, (such as Scarborough Shoal), generate a 200-nautical-mile (370 km; 230 mi) EEZ, or only a 12-nautical-mile (22 km; 14 mi) territorial sea. Clarification of whether China can appropriate low-tide elevations, such as the Mischief Reef and the Subi Reef within the Philippines’ EEZ, have also been included in the case. “The Philippines is not asking the tribunal to delimit by nautical measurements overlapping EEZs between China and the Philippines. The Philippines is also not asking the tribunal what country has sovereignty over an island, or rock above water at high tide, in the West Philippine Sea.”[18]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spratly_Islands_dispute

        • Joe America says:

          What is the source information for your statement that the US supported the nine-dash line?

          You have adopted the argumentative position that there is nothing new under the sun. The ITLOS filing is a unique policy decision of the Aquino administration.

          • RHiro says:

            ”After pulling out its garrison in 1950 when the Republic of China evacuated to Taiwan, when the Filipino Tomas Cloma uprooted an ROC flag on Itu Aba laid claim to the Spratlys and, the Republic of China (now Taiwan) again regarrisoned Itu Aba on 1956.[33] In 1946, the Americans reminded the Philippines at its independence that the Spratlys was not Philippine territory, both to not anger Chiang Kai-shek in China and because the Spratlys were not part of the Philippines per the 1898 treaty Spain signed with America.[27] The Philippines then claimed the Spratlys in 1971 under President Marcos, after Taiwanese troops attacked and shot at a Philippine fishing boat on Itu Aba.[34]” SOURCED FROM SAME WIKIPEDIA….

            Extended continental shelf claims, 2009
            Via UNCLOS, the United Nations provided for countries with coastlines to submit claims to the UN’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS),[12] (for their continental shelf to be extended beyond 200 nautical miles of their shores), by 13 May 2009. A total of 48 nations made full claims, and dozens more made preliminary submissions.[13] Two of the submissions made to the CLCS addressed claims in the South China Sea (SCS) – one by Vietnam for a claim over the northern portion of the SCS (which included the Paracel Islands), and another jointly by Vietnam and Malaysia for a joint claim over a “defined area” in the middle of the SCS between the two countries, which included part of the Spratly Islands. Brunei made a preliminary submission notifying of its intention to claim a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from its shores.[14]
            China (PRC) immediately issued protests over the two submissions and called on the United Nations not to consider them. It also issued a stern warning to countries not to claim the islands which it said were its sovereign territory.[13][15]

            2009 The Office of the Philippine President enacted the “Philippine Baselines Law of 2009” (RA 9522). The law classifies the Kalayaan Island Group and the Scarborough Shoal as a “regime of islands under the Republic of the Philippines.” This means that the Philippines continues to lay claim over the disputed islands.[80]
            In May, two submissions were made to the UN’s Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS): a joint submission by Malaysia and Vietnam claims jurisdiction over their respective continental shelves out to 200 nautical miles; a submission by Vietnam claims jurisdiction over an extended shelf area. The People’s Republic of China and the Philippines both protested the moves stating that they violated agreements made with regards to the islands.[81][82]

            IT APPEARS THE FILING AT ITLOS RESULTED FROM THE ACTIONS OF MALAYSIA AND VIETNAM FOR EXTENDING THEIR CONTINENTAL SHELF CLAIMS….

            SO THE PHILIPPINE POLICY FOLLOWS OTHER COUNTRIES… WHAT IS ORIGINAL ABOUT IT?

            • Joe America says:

              “In 1946, the Americans reminded the Philippines at its independence that the Spratlys was not Philippine territory, both to not anger Chiang Kai-shek in China and because the Spratlys were not part of the Philippines per the 1898 treaty Spain signed with America”. I think you are making gross leaps of logic to believe this statement reflects an American position in favor of China’s nine-dash line. What is the point of this debate, anyway?

              No other country has filed a case against China before ITLOS. Unique. What is the point of this aspect of the debate, too?

              To win? To find agreement on some point? What constructive is to come from it?

              We can all read Wiki.

              • R.Hiro says:

                ITLOS IS ABOUT MARITIME DISPUTES AND NOT TERRITORIAL ONES..THE ISSUE IS WHEN THE PHILIPPINES WILL HAVE ITS OWN INDEPENDENT FOREIGN POLICY?

                INSTEAD OF HIDING BEHIND AMERICA. THE MDT IS A RELIC OF THE COLD WAR SIMILAR TO NATO..BUT AMERICA HAD TO PUSH THAT POLICY RIGHT UP TO THE BOUNDARIES OF RUSSIA. RUSSIA TODAY IS PETRO- STATE LOADED WITH TACTICAL AND STRATEGIC NUCLEAR MISSILES.

                HERE IN OUR NECK OF THE WOODS THE U.S. IS USING A DUAL TRACK WITH CHINA.

                CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT AND CONTAINMENT. IT ALSO HAS AND ECONOMIC CO- DEPENDENT RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA.

                CHINS USED THE DEFUNCT BRETON WOODS AGREEMENT OF CAPITAL ACCOUNT CONTROLS AND FIXED RATE OF EXCHANGE TO ITS OWN ADVANTAGE.

                IT IS SLOWLY MOVING AWAY FROM THAT ARRANGEMENT… THE U.S. OFF COURSE IS
                LOST POLITICALLY TO HANDLE THE SHIFT…

                SO CHINA IS ALSO PREPARING TO ADVANCE IT’S MILITARY POWER SINCE THERE ARE SOME IN THE U.S. WHO ARE IN COLD WAR MODE.

                SO A TIT FOR TAT ARMS RACE IS ONGOING.. U.S. IS HIGHLY DEPENDENT ON ITS NAVY BASED PRIMARILY ON ITS NUMEROUS AIRCRAFT CARRIER BATTLE GROUPS.

                SO CHINA IS DEVELOPING PRECISION GUIDED SURFACE TO SEA MISSILES.

                GETTING TO THE CASE AT ITLOS.. MALYSIA FILED SUBMISSIONS AT THE U.N. EXTENDING THEIR CONTINENTAL SHELF BASED ON THEIR CLAIMS ON ISLANDS, REEFS AND ROCKS IN THE SPRATLYS..

                WE ASKED ITLOS TO CLARIFY OUR OWN PRIVILEGES BASED ON OUR POSSESSIONS IN THE SPRATLY’S.

                BUT WE DID NOT NAME BOTH COUNTRIES IN OUR CASE BUT MENTIONED ONLY CHINA’S CLAIMS TO IT’S POSSESSIONS …

                ITLOS IS NOT A FORUM FOR DETERMINING TERRITORIAL SOVEREIGNTY…

                BASED ON THE ACTIONS OF THIS GOVERNMENT, I PERSONALLY BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALLOWING OURSELVES TO BE A PART OF U.S. CONTAINMENT POLICY VS CHINA…

                LOOK AT INDIA WHO IS INVOLVED WITH VIETNAM IN EXPLORING FOR OIL IN THE AREA WITH VEHEMENT OBJECTION FROM THE CHINESE. INDIA EVEN SENT THEIR WARSHIPS TO THE AREA.

                YET THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT AND CHINA HAVE A CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT POLICY ONGOING…

                LOOK THE FILIPINO DOES NOT BACK DOWN FROM A FIGHT EVEN WHEN OUTGUNNED..THAT HAS BEEN OUR HISTORY.. BUT THE U.S. BETRAYAL OF THE FILIPINO SOLDIER IS ALSO PART OF PHILIPPINE HISTORY..

              • Joe America says:

                Your declaratives are wrong, I fear. The ITLOS filing is clearly about economic territory, specifically the validity of the UN’s mechanism for resolution of disputes that defines an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) at 200 nautical miles from the mainland. Included in the groundrules and debate are definitions of what are rocks and what are islands. The filing is about sea territory and who controls the resources within them. The US wants open access to the seas. The Philippines wants the resources that are properly hers. Interest are different, but merge. The Philippines is not a pawn of the US. If anything, the US is being used by the Philippines because her own defenses are so weak.

                What would you suggest the Philippines do? Concede large chunks of her 200 NM EEZ to China?

    • chit navarro says:

      Grassroots participatory udgeting, initiated by the late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo and Budget SEc. Buth Abad. It was awarded one of the 3 gold awards by the UNited Nations a week or so ago.

      “The Philippines was granted the Gold Open Government Award for Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) in the inaugural Open Government Partnership (OGP) Awards last September 24, 2014 at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York City. The country was recognized for its outstanding efforts to deepen citizen engagement in the budget process. Along with Denmark and Montenegro, this was one of the three gold awards given out this year to recognize innovative and citizen-driven initiatives in designing and implementing public policy.”

      • RHiro says:

        KINDLY EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS PROGRAM AND THE COUNTRYWIDE PROGRAM FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS AROUND THE COUNTRY PREVIOUSLY…

        AS YOU WELL KNOW THAT ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL… UNDER POLITICAL CONDITIONS PREVAILING AT THE MAYORAL LEVEL IS THIS IDENTIFYING PROJECTS FOR ELECTION FUND RAISING OR WHAT????

        AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IS THERE PLURALISTIC CITIZEN PARTICIPATION OR SIMPLY POLITICS AS USUAL…

        SINO ANG BOSS SA LOCAL LEVEL???/?

        • chit navarro says:

          there are programs and there are programs….but in this grassroots budgeting, the program implementation adhered to the guidelines that’s why since the Aquino administration started, the annual budget has always been passed in record time.

          In the previous administration, budgets were always re-enacted. So there must have been no real implementation of the program.

          This is simply my analysis. And there maybe other glaring differences. Otherwise, the grassroots budgeting would not have been noticed by the United Nations and would not have been given this gold award. It is very unlikely that DBM would go to UN and ask them to award this program, right?

          Besides, it is quite hard to dialogue with a shouting person.

        • giancarloangulo says:

          grass roots budgeting can somewhat be called bottom up budgeting. It factors in the local needs by representatives not only from government positions but from the significant interest group in an area. CD is more politician centric
          .

          • R.Hiro says:

            THIS BOTTOMS UP POLICY WAS BORROWED FROM THE GOVERNANCE MODEL OF ROBREDO IN NAGA CITY.

            HE WAS A UNWITTING HERETIC TO THE POLICY PROGRAM OF TRICKLE DOWN POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE IMF-WB.

            GANDHI USED IT EFFECTIVELY IN LEADING THE STRUGGLE AGAINST BRITISH IMPERIALISM IN INDIA.

            HE ORGANIZED THE BOTTOM RUNG OF INDIA’S SOCIETY, AND TAUGHT THEM SELF RELIANCE.

            LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS RUN BY MUNICIPAL AND CITY MAYORS…THEY ARE THE LAYER WHERE POLITICAL PATRONAGE IS STRONGEST…ON THE GROUND LEVEL THE WARD LEADERS ARE KEY TO LAYING THE SEEDS FOR POLITICAL POWER.

            UNDER THE POLITICAL ECONOMIC STRUCTURE OF THE COUNTRY THESE ARE THE INSTITUTIONS ALREADY IN PLACE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY…

            This subject finds importance in the fact that, officially, some 25 million Filipinos are poor — and worse, over half of Filipinos consider themselves poor.

            ”The main determinant of differences in prosperity across countries is differences in economic institutions, according to Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (2010) in an article in the Review of Economics and Institutions based in Italy. Their analysis reveals the challenges for those who would wish to solve the problem of development and poverty. Some countries do undergo political transitions, reform their institutions, and move on to more successful paths of economic development.”

            ”Douglass North and Robert Fogel, 1993 Nobel Prize winners in economics, define institutions as “the humanly devised constraints that structure human interaction. They are made up of formal constraints (rules, laws, constitutions), informal constraints (norms of behavior, conventions, and self-imposed codes of conduct), and their enforcement characteristics.” Institutions and the technology employed determine the transaction costs that add up to production costs of goods and services. Institutions form the incentive structure of a society and the political and economic institutions. Thus, they are the underlying determinant of economic performance.” ROLANDO DY, BUSINESSWORLD.

            A PERFECT CASE EXAMPLE IS THE EXCHANGE PRICE OF A CHIEF PNP’S BADGE, 66.6% DISCOUNT ON A LUXURY VEHICLE.. OR THE BUSINESS CARD OF A POLICE OFFICIAL WHICH IS USED TO SCARE TRAFFIC ENFORCERS FROM ISSUING A TRAFFIC TICKET…THE INSTITUTIONS OF LAW ARE PERVERTED…

            THE STATE IS WEAK. HENCE THE INSTITUTIONS IN PLACE ARE ONES RUN BY PEOPLE WHO USE POLITICAL POWER TO CREATE WEALTH…

            EVEN A PICTURE WITH PNOY BECOMES A SOURCE OF POWER TO IMPRESS, INTIMIDATE..

            VERY SIMILAR TO USING RELIGIOUS ARTICLES TO BRING LUCK..

            A TRUE BOTTOMS UP REVOLUTION WOULD BE ADDRESSING THE LONG FAILED ASSET REFORM POLICY IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR..

            CORY AQUINO PERVERTED IT FOR HER FAMILY’S BENEFIT…

            • giancarloangulo says:

              Now I am confused. what you said was:

              NAME ONE BRAND NEW POLICY PROGRAM INITIATED BY THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT??.

              Now name me a previous president from the Philippines who initiated this policy? If not then this is a brand new policy. Same with ITLOS. The Budget ng Bayan initiative was started in this government.

    • chit navarro says:

      Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps (formerly Ahon Pamilyang Pilipino

      This is a conditional cash transfer program of the Philippine government under the Department of Social Welfare and Development. It aims to eradicate extreme poverty in the Philippines by investing in heath and education particularly in ages 0–14. It is patterned on programs in other developing countries like Brazil (Bolsa Familia) and Mexico (Oportunidades).

      The 4Ps program now operates in 17 regions, 79 provinces and 1,261 municipalities and 138 key cities covering 3,014,586 household beneficiaries.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantawid_Pamilyang_Pilipino_Program

  8. andrewlim8 says:

    sent you an email, Joe.

  9. Dolly Gonzales says:

    Such a sensitive, discerning portrait of the President, Joe! 🙂

    Yellow-zombie, haha! If being yellow means supporting a patriotic leader who puts the country’s welfare above his own, then being yellow’s a great thing.

    Apart from the traits you’ve mentioned, I think PNoy also possesses a weapon that only an enemy can provide: being underestimated.

    He’s fortunate in the enemies he has made, as their inflated ego prevents them from seeing PNoy as objectively as you’ve described him here, Joe. His opponents are unable to accurately gauge his real strength and, therefore, set themselves up for failure when they go against him. They unwittingly give him a distinct advantage over them. Because of this, from what I’ve observed, he has so far won every war, even when certain battles have been seemingly lost.

    Great news for us non-crabs! 🙂

  10. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. The distinction is made that the President has not undermined “his church family and bishops.”

    2. While this is true of the President’s immediate circle of church family, it definitely is not true for the Church as an institution. With his support of the passage of the RH Law, Pnoy is the first president to break the monolithic hold of the Church on Filipino moral norms.

    3. This is of great significance. The power of the Church has been relegated to the background. It signals to the Filipino that the Church – for the first time in close to four centuries – is not the ultimate arbiter of moral standards.

    4. This is so unlike the behavior of GMA who courted – and was courted in turn – by the bishops and archbishops in a macabre misalliance of state and church.

    5. The Church has not forgiven Pnoy. To this very day, the Church is actively seeking his resignation. This is from a PDI article published October 4, 2014:

    At an assembly in Cebu, the National Transformation Council asked Mr. Aquino to step down for supposedly losing the moral ascendancy to lead the country.

    Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Batangas, and Bishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao City led the meeting.

    “He [Aquino] has damaged the moral fabric of the society and has therefore lost the moral right to lead the nation. The assembly calls upon the incumbent to relinquish his position now,” Vidal said.

    Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/642523/aquino-will-always-listen-to-his-bosses#ixzz3F7api7fr

    6. The irony of “trapo” prelates claiming moral ascendancy is beyond grotesque.

    7. In time, this breaking of religious colonialism will be seen as one of Pnoy’s greatest accomplishments.

    P.S. We need an equivalent word for “trapo” to describe wayward clergy. “Kapre” for ka-ching prelates? Kapre is the Filipino Bigfoot.
    *****

    • Joe America says:

      Yes. But the President has not set out to break the Church grip on Filipino moral norms. He has set out to do a better job for the people, and that broke through the Church oppression of human rights (women’s health). He has not verbally confronted the Church, even if the political bishops are so rude and vengeful as to demand his resignation.

      Point 6 is true. I wish the Church had a hierarchical structure so that Pope Francis could actually rule the church. Rather than just pray the local bishops would develop a conscience.

  11. giancarloangulo says:

    I have to admit before finding this blog I was in mini despair mode about how dense/un nuanced the view about our president from most of the people I interact with. If grey (because I am not a yellow zombie) is the same as black for most of the people I know then what a sad revelation that is either on my network or even about Filipinos in general.

    • Joe America says:

      I think people paint other people (not just President Aquino) as black and white because it helps them justify themselves, to themselves. If they were to say, “well, President Aquino is doing basically good work even though it drives me nuts that he favors his friends and won’t fire them, I won’t be able to win the argument that he should fire his friends”. If fits in with the desperate need to win debates that fuels most discussions hereabouts. That need to win is also what takes conversations easily toward insult.

      This blog is different because most people are not here to win debates, but to learn or teach. And I don’t carry an agenda to defend, other than what makes the most sense, or does the most good for the Philippines. It is good for the Philippines if people don’t so easily condemn their president, and, indeed, support him. In spite of what they perceive as flaws in his decisions or deeds.

  12. hello sir. how would you explain the significance of the trillion budget of PNOY if majority of our national asset is privatized such as the expressways, military camps, LRT, MRT, Hospitals, Electric Industries etc? so far we have not seen any infrastructure projects during his term but one. the improvement of drainage system in Manila. what are some concrete achievements of Aquino that the whole country would benefit to. im not talkin about a certain group of people but the country as whole. besides our economy which is a very vague basis since the big businesses are the major contributors.

    • do u deem such an amount still neccessary? comparing with a billion govt budget of Marcos for 20 years. the marcos budget became really useful as you an see even now we still use those quality projects hes done. such as the nuclear in bataan which would have solved our power crisis and the AFP modernization where he significantly modernized AFP that the US was alarmed on how was the Philippines able to afford the upgrade. he accomplished all this for the country even hes accused of looting govt funds which was never proven. anyways back to the president. do you really think that our current president has the capability to really improved the lives of the impoverished people just by the improving economy alone?

    • Joe America says:

      Welcome to the blog, Jarrel. I recently did a blog on the 84 infrastructure projects approved by NEDA: https://joeam.com/2015/01/18/slicing-and-dicing-the-nations-investments-in-itself/

      Actually, 3 projects have been completed, but the flood control has not been. There may be a lesson to that. Some projects have value if the whole of the project has not yet been deemed completed. So there is reason number one that the claim of little being done is a mis-statement.

      Why so little done?

      1) There was an 18 month delay in starting as Arroyo projects were reviewed and some scrapped, and before plans got in place for Aquino investments.

      2) The projects are extraordinarily complex, requiring proposals, funding, acquisitions of private lands, court actions, and the building. But the pipeline now is roaring along. Soon the completions will start rolling off the production line, 4 or 5 per year. Or more.

      3) The Philippines is a nation of red tape, trading in favors, easy lawsuits and perhaps some measure of incompetence at doing big, complex projects. I’m not impressed with Sec. Ayala myself, but don’t know who could easily replace him. The LRT/MRT common station decision, splitting it between to big malls to benefit the owners of the malls, while forcing those passengers transferring trains to walk down a long tunnel is a perfect example. I’d probably fire Abaya if I were president, but maybe I don’t know the whole story.

      The “privatized” aspect is one I have not studied. I think you are right, there are big problems, and electricity is the biggest mess. The PPP (Public Private Partnerships) are one way that projects get funded. They require funding because of the size and long-term life of the projects, and funding comes from big Philippine companies or foreign development funds. The big Philippine companies do it to make money, and a part of that is in the management of programs going forward. So I think it becomes a part of the negotiation. I think privatization is okay in a capitalistic nation, but there ought to be better, more competent regulations and management of the private interests.

      • Joe America says:

        I’d add that the Aquino investments represent a huge step up from what was being done by other administrations which were not as administratively capable or as focused on building the framework of the nation. It seems they may have been too busy doing squirrely transactions for personal gain. And do include 60,000 school classrooms built under Aquino as an achievement, through regular operating budgets.

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