Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang umaga! Good morning!

The whole Philippine nation is glued today on the event that will see the installation of the new president of the republic, the Hon. Benigno Aquino III or ‘Noynoy’. Whatever this day forebodes let us relegate to active file for the meantime, as my fellow Filipinos bask in the optimistic air created by the election of a new presidency via the first automated elections in the Philippines and the ASEAN.

The problems of the country are gargantuan, with governance problems of graft on top of the list. Tax revenues are falling short of targets, a ballooning budget deficit is threatening another round of fiscal crisis, poverty incidence is at least 1/3 of households, education is in crisis as it remains badly under-funded, grains self-sufficiency goals are a mess, and direct foreign investments or FDIs are negligible (1% of GNP).

Noynoy inherited from the outgoing presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo both boons and banes. The above-stated situations are the primary banes. The boons are the graduation of RP’s economy from poor to middle income, the consistent positive growth befitting an emerging market, the reversal of a fiscal crisis, and the doubling of the economy since 2001.

Furthermore, the economy today has a balance of payments surplus, healthy current account situation, an annual foreign remittance level that breached the $17 Billions mark, while both exports and imports have moved upwards after the 2009 slack. Our Gross International Reserves or GIR stands at past the $45 Billion, enough to buy us worth nine (9) months of imports, beaconing that the old ailment of lack of foreign currencies (US dollar most specially) is now way behind us.

Thus, with the momentum of growth and big projects sustained at pace, the ‘high growth’ stage of our economy can end soon as we graduate to development ‘maturity’ before 2016. That done, we can move on to an ‘overdeveloped’ economy, the last phase of development, before 2025. Expectedly, Luzon will lead in that effort, followed by Visayas and Mindanao respectively.

Roughly, RP’s Gross National Product or GNP will hit $200 Billion by end of this year 2010. The figure uses the nominal value of the peso to the dollar. If we use the more accepted Purchasing Power Parity or PPP method, with multiplier of 4 to get us to our GNP-PPP, the country’s GNP is forecast at roughly $800 Billion (using UNDP index calculations).

Such a GNP figure renders the Philippines wealthier than many European countries for that matter. Even the Dutch, who were once the wealthiest people in Europe, would bow in reverence to us Filipinos for our Herculean efforts expended to get to where we are. Wait till RP gets to ‘overdeveloped’ stage yet when the GNP will hit beyond the $2.5 Trillion mark (PPP), which is now a visible possibility, thus effectively transforming the country into a creditor nation lending funds to cash-starved Western and developing countries.

Banes notwithstanding, the Filipinos had so much gains accrued across many decades of post-war survival. From geophysical to political turbulence the Pinoys experienced in grueling fashion of constant bombardments, yet the nation withstood them all as it now stands tall and confident in the community of nations.

RP has been transformed into a global nation, while its capital region Manila has mutated to a gigantic mega-city that is a constitutive part new global nexus of 35 top megacities in the world. Dr. Jose Rizal, the first Filipino and first global citizen of the humble nation, now possesses the reasons to feel happy over what has become of that nation that he died for (executed by the Spanish regime in 1898).

Now that Noynoy has the presidency in his shoulders, and a liberal-oligarchic alliance has been installed to power, what’s in store for the country? We’ve had decades of liberal reforms before us, with policy impositions from the IMF-World Bank and global oligarchy, so will the Noynoy regime recycle the same austerity measures and policies that led to greater mass poverty and the Filipino diaspora?

Will Noynoy become an Akbar whose reign saw efficiency and good governance that led to the re-emergence of a country from the shambles of fragmentation and neglect to prosperity and fame? Or will he be a Nero of Manila who fiddles in the presidential palace as he watches his polity & economy burn upon his own behest?

Where goes RP’s our gains after Noynoy’s six (6) years of incumbency? At the end of his mandate in 2016, will the Filipinos still sing “should I stay or should I go”?

[Philippines, 30 June 2012]






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  1. kervin Says:

    P-Noy, New President: New Hope

    Last June 30, 2010, history was once again made. The fifteenth President of the Republic of the Philippines took his oath in the Quirino Grandstand. He gave a very powerful inauguration speech in terms of promises for a new and better Philippines.

    The promises that inculcated my mind due to mass media are “walang wang-wang”, “walang counter flow”, “walang tong” . Small acts that can lead to greatness and I am hoping that it will lead to a better Philippines. Change usually starts by setting attainable goals and by doing small acts. One thing that I do admire in President Aquino is that, he is really serious in reaching his goal. How did I say that? Other presidents are setting goals that seem to be hard to achieve while our current president first started by scrapping out things that he sees unjust.

    I do agree with Professor Argonza’s blog post that the budget of our country should fit its current status especially the budget for education. Education is essential to every citizen of any state or country.

    Now that President Aquino is on top of the hierarchy, I am hoping that he will see to it that education will be properly appropriated and the budget for our country will be tantamount the budget suited for a developing country.

    Hacienda Luisita is owned by the Cojuancos and we all know since time in memorial that issues regarding Hacienda Luisita were used in order to question President Aquino’s viability for presidency. President Aquino stated that he should not be affiliated regarding the issue for he only owns a percentage of the property.

    One of the issues regarding the Hacienda Luisita is the long time Agrarian Reform issue. For the lands of the Hacienda Lusita should be properly returned to its rightful owners. It is left to President NoyNoy Aquino by his own mother. The former President Cory Aquino promised the tillers of Hacienda Lusita that the parcel of land that they owned will be returned. But it is said that President Cory Aquino included SDO or Stock Distribution Order in her Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) so that stocks of the corporation would be distributed instead of lands, thus the Cojuancos can still have full power in the Hacienda Lusita.

    The question whether President Noynoy Aquino will return the land to its rightful owners still remains unanswered. But I do believe that our current President will return the properties to its rightful owners. Just like the Arlegui Mansion which serves as the home of the previous presidents. It started at the Marcos Regime on which former President Marcos took this property by force, pushing the owners out of the mansion leaving them only with night clothes. The previous presidents did not even have the guts to return this property to the Laperal family, the owners of the mansion. What the other presidents failed to do is what President Noynoy Aquino did in his first week as the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

    Regarding the blog entry of Professor Argonza concerning the Hacienda Luisita, I can say that in the hands of President Noynoy Aquino there is hope that anachronistic feudalism of our country can somehow be scrapped. Everything takes time. Our current president had the guts to return the Arlegui Mansion, let us just hope and pray that he also have the guts to correct what her mother, former President Cory Aquino, failed to implement and return during her term.

    President Noynoy Aquino is just beginning his term in leading our republic. What will happen in his six years term is still a question of whether he we lead our country to a better one or he will just do the same as the previous president that inflicted so much problems that may lead our country to its down fall. It is a matter of waiting for the next proclamations and actions that he will make.

    As what Professor Argonza has stated in his blog entry, President Noynoy Aquino inherited boons and banes from the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It is quite normal to inherit problems from previous administration. It is like a norm that is continuing to progress as time pass by. Every president wanted to resolve these issues. But none of their strategies seem to work. The problem that I see why they weren’t unable to resolve this is because our leaders themselves are the cause of these issues. They are unable to stop themselves from doing corrupt acts. Haven’t they realized that they themselves are making situations on which the Filipino people are suffering from? Like graft and corruption. Our leaders cannot stop from committing this act. It is like a disease that is incurable among leaders. Due to their action the poverty incidence of the Philippines is increasing. They are given pork barrel in order to resolve issues not to use for themselves. They are stealing money from the Filipino people. These Filipino people are working hard in order to pay taxes yet they are not feeling any benefits from doing so.

    What will President Noynoy Aquino do regarding this boons and banes that he inherited? We just have to wait and see.

    One thing that President Aquino is at advantage of is that he wants to listen to the Filipino people which is an unusual act for someone with tremendous power over the state. If I can remember it right is that he said during his inaugural speech “kayo ang boss ko” pertaining to the Filipino people. I am really hoping that what he said is true and it is not just like other leaders trying to set a good image and saying statements which are really not intended for action.

    But of course we should not only rely for good governance. We should support, participate, and cooperate on whatever plans our current president is setting in order to reach our goal, which is a better Philippines. Change will not happen if only one person is committed and serious about it. We should all be expecting too much in our president for he is only one. We should be expecting more to our co-citizens that they will also join and participate in our president’s goal which is “tahakin ang tama at tuwid na landas”. We should not just say it but we should do it.

    I cannot wait for the first State of the Nation Address or SONA of our fifteenth president for I am hoping that what he said during his campaign for presidency will be done. After his inaugural speech last June 30, 2010 it seems that there is a new hope for Filipinos. Those changes will be made. And this time it will be for a better Philippines.

    My co-Filipinos, let us not lose hope but rather let us continue hoping. We must act accordingly if needed. We cannot inflict change if we will not work together. Our current president offers us new hope. We should not be pessimistic about it, for as long as we are living, there is hope. Let us hope together and act together. We are in this fight for a better Philippines hand in hand.

    .ibasco, kervin.

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