Aquino, one year later

A YEAR after taking the reins of power, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has yet to set the strategic directions for the Philippines. All he had done it seems is to bash his unpopular and hated predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but the people are getting tired of that.

Indeed one year is too short to resolve the decades-long problems of our country like economic policy failure, political back-wardness and the absence of a true self  identity but 365 days is too long for Aquino to take the necessary step towards the right direction in alleviating our economic woes, political problems and social ills.

Aquino, during his inaugural address a year ago, promised that the Filipino can dream again and to a certain extent he delivered on that promise for all we can do now is just dream.

We are a nation so disempowered that we cannot do anything on our own (so we just dream).

We rely on foreign countries to give employment to our people (remember the millions of OFWs),  we rely on a foreign power to secure our territory like Spratly islands, we rely on foreign markets to buy what-ever goods we still produce (if there is still any) and we rely on foreign economists and banks (International Monetary Fund/World Bank) to run our economy. We rely on everybody except our-selves.

Admittedly these are inherited problems that began with GMA’s father, President Diosdado Macapagal, in the early 1960’s when as demanded by the IMF/WB he opened the Philippines to foreign influence and liberalize our economy.

However, despite the obvious flaws of Macapagal’s strategy of development, all  Filipino presidents since then followed his policy and economic strategy and the result is very clear, the Philippines is now a basket case. From having the second strongest economy in Asia next only to Japan in the 1950’s to being the sick man of Asia, just one notch higher than Bangladesh (Vietnam now has surpassed us), in 2011.

In fairness to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, he has enough insight and tried to change Macapagal’s failed economic growth strategy in the early 1980’s by instituting reforms that would make the Philippines an industrial state but was foiled by WB/IMF technocrats at every turn aside from the fact that by this time, because of the excesses of his dicta-torship, his credibility with the people is already at an all time low. The IMF/WB cannot afford a strong and industrialized Philippines.

Unfortunately for us today, Macapagal’s disastrous policies are being followed to the letter by the unimaginative Aquino. It is thus not surprising that we are poorer now than we were last year, if not a decade ago.

Data released by IBON Foundation, an economic think tank, showed that the economic growth under the Aquino administration was slowing.  Citing government reports, IBON noted that the gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2011 was 4.9% which was markedly slower than the 8.4% rate in the same period last year.

“Consecutive quarters are not strictly comparable but it can still be noted that the first three quarters of the Aquino administration has seen progressively slower growth year-on-year – from 8.9% in the second quarter of 2010, 7.3% in the third quarter, and 6.1% in the fourth quarter, followed by the 4.9% in the first quarter of this year,” IBON said.

For more information call Ms. Elaine Garchitorena at 0495620976. (To be continued)

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