Posted tagged ‘good governance’

NOYNOY: CROCODILES’ SMOKESCREEN

March 22, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

[07 January 2010]

Noynoy Aquino, presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, has been projecting an image of an anti-graft crusader for some couples of years now. To recall, he was cajoled by his Mama, the late president Corazon Aquino, to join the anti-GMA movement precisely on the issue of good governance.

After his Mama’s death, public sentiment blew the winds of electoral fortune for Noynoy to take on the Aquino’s unblemished mantle and run as president of the republic. Seeing this groundswell of public sympathy arising from his Mama’s departure, vested interests of every shade found a window of opportunity to reap future rewards as largesse of a would-be victorious campaign of Cory Aquino’s son.

Indeed, as shown by preliminary information that reached my ears late last year, Noynoy is surrounded by diverse vested interest groups that (a) couldn’t see each other eye-to-eye and (b) are in active search for a smokescreen for their largesse pursuits. Some of the leading elements were former Ramos- and Erap-era bureaucrats, while others served GMA during her early heydays. Some others represent ideological blocs that are known for their classic opportunism, obstructionism, factionalism, and ‘termite behavior’.

Anyone who is interested to do serious empirical studies on graft and rent-seeking is advised to start with the Noynoy camp. There are couples of circles surrounding Noynoy, all of which the bachelor has no control over.

• Friends and kins comprise a ring of influence-peddlers. This ‘circle’ alone comprises a diversity of “we-bulong” factions that somehow show a semblance of goodwill though on a superficial level. A Noynoy presidency would serve as bread-winning opportunity for the crocodiles within them, in case Noynoy wins.

• Experts comprise another ring of potential state carpetbaggers. While the first ring shows semblance of mutual goodwill, the experts’ ring hardly shows such goodwill at all. During the crafting of Noynoy’s platform, the factions couldn’t even see each other eye-to-eye to iron out the agenda. No wonder that the final platform turned out as a hodge-podge of mother statements that was haphazardly finished to meet the deadline of the Comelec for registration. All of these factions are crocodile nests.

• Civil society groups comprise yet another ring. The Black & White Movement, largely a social democratic-controlled coalition, seems to have the strongest “bulong power” which renders the other social democratic or ‘soc-dem’ factions ‘outside the kulambo’. The unconsolidated state of these diverse groups make it so tough for volunteers to join the Noynoy camp, as they are pressed to identify first of all which faction could be most friendly to them. The top crocodile here is led by a former GMA cabinet member whose coalition received funds from treasuries when her sibling was finance secretary.

• The Liberal Party comprises the final inner ring. Final, because this serves as Noynoy’s homebase group being a party-mate. Fr. Intengan’s ‘soc-dem’ cadres are well entrenched in the directorate and think-tank of the party (even as another Intengan ‘soc-dem’, Norbie Gonzales, is in the GMA camp). The same ‘soc-dems’ possess a lifeline in Europe—the Eurosocialists and Jesuits—who can use them for Europe’s own Bonapartist agenda. Meanwhile, other kibitzer liberals, who are simply eager to waft in the energy of the Noynoy upsurge to gain respective electoral mileage, are just that: kibitzers whose fragmentary opinions wouldn’t weigh as much as the Intengan Euro-bonding puppets and the stalwart oldies.

I was almost lured into the Noynoy trap right after the burial of the Tita Cory. But after receiving information about the inner rings and realizing the power of the Primal-Corruptitious among the crocodile leaders, I decided against this pro-Noynoy option.

Maybe Noynoy should present clear credentials of a true-and-honest saintliness that may make his words worth the salt of the earth. He is hardly any perfected human who merits my attention, which makes it all clear that the country needs a leader—a true leader who’s most experienced, prepared, and has made enormous sacrifices as prelude to his preparation for a feat with Destiny—other than Noynoy.

US GENERAL: AFGHANISTAN’S A FAILURE, STRESSES DEVELOPMENT

August 22, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good day!

A retired US general recently spoke about the overall conduct of war in Afghanistan. To the surprise and chagrin of defense experts and officials, the general most candidly declared that Afghanistan was a disaster.

The retired general spoke more like a development expert than a uniformed defense official. Accordingly, there is no military solution to Afghanistan’s problems. The ideas proposed by the same (ret) uniformed official combine relief and rehab, infrastructures, and capacity-building efforts, or those solutions that have to do more with a total development package. This is a clear departure from the demented thinking in Pentagon and DC that tend to exacerbate the destructive facets of US engagements in Afghanistan.

Below is the news item about the (ret) official’s pronouncements.

[18 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to Executive Intelligence Review database news.]

McCaffrey: Afghanistan Disaster, Unless We Send in the Engineers

Aug. 7, 2008 (EIRNS)—Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who often functions as an informal advisor to senior Army leadership on the current wars, reported on the disaster in Afghanistan following his July 21-26 trip to that country and to NATO headquarters in Belgium. In a memo dated July 30, addressed to the Social Sciences department at West Point, McCaffrey writes: “Afghanistan is in misery.” Sixty-eight percent of the population has never known peace, life expectancy is only 44, and Afghanistan has the highest maternal death rate in the world, he reports. The security situation, the economy (including agriculture, which is “broken”), governance, and the opium problems, are “all likely to get worse in the coming 24 months.”

There is no military solution, McCaffrey writes: “The atmosphere of terror cannot be countered mainly by military means. We cannot win through a war of attrition…. Afghanistan will not be solved by the addition of two or three more US combat brigades from our rapidly unraveling Army.”

Instead, McCaffrey argues that, in addition to building up the Afghan security forces, economic measures are also required. He calls for the deployment of a “five battalion Army engineer brigade… to lead a five year road building effort employing Afghan contractors and training and mentoring Afghan engineers…. The war will be won when we fix the Afghan agricultural system which employs 82% of the population…. The war will be won when the international community demands the eradication of the opium and cannibis crops and robustly supports the development of alternative economic activity.” McCaffrey pointed to the tremendous growth in the poppy crop since the US invasion in 2001 and warned that “Unless we deal head-on with this enormous cancer, we should have little expectation that our efforts in Afghanistan will not eventually come to ruin.” On Pakistan, McCaffrey warns against a US military intervention in that country from across the border in Afghanistan, which he says “would be a political disaster. We will imperil the Pakistani government’s ability to support our campaign. They may well stop our air and ground logistics access across Pakistan and place our entire NATO presence in severe jeopardy.” In dealing with Pakistan, “We must do no harm…”