Noynoy Aquino's speech before the captains of Philippine business

“Presidential” candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III yesterday (21st of January 2010) gave a speech before the esteemed captains of Philippine industry who interbreed and whack golf balls with one another when they are not schmoozing over cocktails at Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, and Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines meetings.

The content of the speech is there. But it is long and unstructured (hopping from one issue to another and going from solution mode to problem statement and then back again in an incoherent ramble) which makes it difficult for most casual listeners and, now, readers to evaluate it for quality and consistency. So over the rest of this article I will do a Dolby on Noynoy’s speech, and enhance the substance in it while filtering out the noise enveloping it.

But first some definition of terms as far as this exercise is concerned:

Substance – information on concepts that are relevant to the goals expected of the President of the Philippines that are stated in a categorical manner. These include (1) descriptions and assertions of our current state, (2) a statement describing the imperatives given the assertions in Item 1, and (3) specific approaches to applying the imperatives referred to in Item 2.

Noise – information described in banalities meant to elicit emotional responses but beyond which do not imply any particular position on any debatable issue nor describe any discernible approach or roadmap to guide our march into the future as a people.

Having gotten the above housekeeping out of the way, we can now get on with it.

Noynoy’s speech presents some clear hypotheses as to what the main challenges of the country are and, presumably, what he will be focusing on as President, thus:

What needs to be changed

Damage to institutions “wrought” by the manipulations of selfish people.

A “situation” Filipinos are subject to that is characterised by suffering resulting from “years of neglect” because of a “self-absorbed leadership obsessed with political survival”

The above two imply that Filipinos are poor as a direct result of bad leadership. Therefore it should follow that implementing “good” leadership will result in prosperity for the poor. So let us see if the rest of Noynoy’s speech describes a convincing logical link between (1) bad leadership and the current wretchedness of the Philippines and (2) good leadership and the foreseen reversal of fortunes we can suppsedly expect to see after 2010 under the second Aquino presidency.

Noynoy goes on to cite some imperatives.

What the priority imperatives are

“Opportunity” and the “means” for the youth to “improve” their “lot in life”

A lack of “commitment” in government to a “transformation” from a predominantly poor to a predominantly middle class society.

To the first of the above, Noynoy cites a few factoids that allude to “500 factual errors” in a textbook series issued by government contractors and the college graduation rates in the education system. Yeah, the words So what? crossed my mind too. But even more bizarrely, Noynoy abruptly jumps from that useless exercise of citing ho-hum statistics to the issue of Government’s lack of “transformation” commitment. And then he goes on to make another breathtaking logical leap into the assertion involving some kind of bizarre failure on Government’s part to make a “conceptual” leap from “patronage” to “development”. I wonder what all that means? How exactly does a government “conceptually” leap from patronage to development?

But there’s more! In quoting a lady’s blunt observation during his 1998 “campaign for office”, Noynoy implied another imperative:

Ensure that the presidency is relevant to the average poor Pinoy sod’s fortunes.

Unfortunately he then changes the channels midway through that thought to go into a naked pitch for his bid for the presidency and why his lack of having done anything as a legislator is of no consequence when considering that pitch (indeed he is an obedient little boy to his handlers). Teka muna so how exactly does the poor lady’s lament suddenly segue into an appeal for the vote? So much for that imperative. Noynoy makes no further reference to it as he proceeds with the rest of his speech.

He goes on to mention a hodgepodge of news-making (and googleable) keywords hopping first onto the Chief Justice appointment “controversy”, then onto “intelligence funds”, then the Hello Garci thingamajig, the NBN-ZTE doodad, and the fertiliser “scam”. I suppose this is the part where Noynoy dashes into a telephone booth and emerges in his blue tights and red cape to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. Good luck with that. I think the only “American Way” Pinoys took to heart comes from that famous boulevard in Los Angeles.

So much for imperatives. But to be fair to Noynoy, he does move along. Move along to the hardcore platitudes, that is.

What must be done

Lead transformation by not being part of the problem

Give “our people” a “fighting chance” to “rebuild damaged institutions”

Level the playing field and then “encourage” free and fair competition

“Foster” service to the public instead of making people “jump through hoops” (wow!)

Change the current “approach” to “power” and “governance” (that is Noynoy’s and his party’s “core belief” by the way. Yikes.)

Find “a unity” that transcends the “divisions” of today (I suppose where there are divisions, one does need to find unity…)

What can I say? Not much to be honest, considering there is not much to work with above. So, we may as well go into what, to be fair to Noynoy, constitute some of the detail around the approach he plans to take to realise the above musts:

How things will be done

Reduce taxes (you can almost hear the shuffle of tsinelas-clad feet as voters scramble to tick Noynoy’s name on their ballots on this one…)

Transform infrastructure agencies and LGUs into “cooperative ventures” with the private sector by bringing forth an “agreed” infrastructure program based on a “cohesive plan” that “optimizes” the “value” of the entire network (ok, I think Noynoy should be an Accenture consultant instead…)

– ! bonk !

That last item was the sound of me hitting the bottom of the page as I tried to scroll further down after foolishly thinking there was more to read.

What I did read somewhere was that Noynoy was actually given a standing ovation by the supposedly well-heeled and well-educated members of the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, and the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines. Now that was what was truly disturbing.

Thanks to Cocoy Dayao and MLQ3 for re-posting the transcript of this excellent speech.


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25 Responses to Noynoy Aquino's speech before the captains of Philippine business

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Noynoy Aquino’s speech before the captains of Philippine business | The Anti Pinoy :) --

  2. BongV says:

    Where’s the beef?

  3. BenK says:

    Why wouldn’t he get a standing ovation? The essence of his speech as far as the MBC is concerned could be summed up as: “If elected president, I will stay the hell out of your way.”

    • UP n grad says:

      Politeness says that all in the audience should clap — that was the setting, that was the speech.

      And given NoyNoy wlll be one hell of a contact should this 40-percenter win Malacanang, the brightest in that setting (whatever they think of GMA or Cory’s bereaved son) would have gotten closer and handed NoyNoy a business card said “Great speech!!! Inspiring!”

      • Joe America says:

        So let’s say you are a mediocre guy who got thrust into the limelight because your mother died, and a bunch of rich, powerful dudes rallied around you and said, “we can make you powerful and successful”, you’d do what, stand up in a speech before them and say, “I’m gonna take you down, you greedy corporate industrialists!!!” And the crowd is clapping to make it appear their golden calf appears bright.

        Still, I read the words and I see effort to say the right things. Forgive me for swimming upstream, but I think he is different than Arroyo. And those who would expect perfection are themselves a tad out of whack, and those who would say “he must think as I do” are largely irrelevant.


      • BenK says:

        So what if he’s different than Arroyo? So’s everybody else running for president.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, Ben, they are all different. I think Mr. Aquino may have an anchor of fundamental goodness within, birthed, instilled and inspired by his mom. Does he operate in a culture that does not respect right over wrong, like everyone else. Yes. Is he trapped within a political system that bows to those who fund it? Yes, like everyone else here and in the US.

        My “Arroyo” ranking, where I see deceit as the ruling mein, I rank from farthest to closest among five candidates:


        Who you for? Or do you mainly critique . . .


      • UP n grad says:

        JoeAm: You may have been led to believe so, but go through the text of the speech again and NoyNoy did not promise to the Makati Business Club “….take you down, you greedy corporate industrialists.” Among the things he said:
        (i) One not need be a crony in order to succeed in the field of business. More importantly, government will not compete with business. Nor will government use its regulatory powers to extort, intimidate and harass…..
        (ii)e will streamline the approval process, not only for setting up new businesses but also in the regular day-to-day transactions with government, such as the payment of taxes…
        (iii).. vision is to transform our country into one where we have lower tax rates enjoyed by all…

      • Joe America says:

        UP n,

        I think Mr. Aquino said a lot of good things. I was writing about the cynicism expressed here about the audience giving him a favorable reaction.

        I sense some good minds here at AP are doing the old waffle-about soft-shoe, choosing not to choose a preferred candidate. It’s the old “avoid the platform” trick; if you don’t have a platform that provides tangible specifics, no one can attack your positions. If you don’t choose a candidate, you are forever free to take potshots at those who do . . . You can forever lord it over others, with no real risk . . . you can forever tear down without having to expend the energy to build . . .

        There is precious little building going on at AP, and one hell of a lot of tearing down . . .

        Safe . . . empowered . . .

        Rather like Noynoy in some respects . . .


      • benign0 says:

        Thanks for the inspiration Mr Joe America. What started out as an attempt to respond to the above turned into a full article. 🙂

        Here is an excerpt for your benefit and to those who are currently reading your comment above.

        So to debunk your false analogy, Mr America, one cannot compare the obligations of a voter to the obligations of a presidential candidate. A voter’s agenda is, by default, private. A politician’s agenda, on the other hand, is public — or at least it is private initially but is fair target for intelligent enquiry (the kind that is able to tease out substance, or highlight a lack of it). But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that I am to respond to the criticism that I (can’t speak for the rest of am guilty of “the old ‘avoid the platform’ trick”. I will beg to differ. My (and in most cases our) platform here, in the sense of what we contribute to the National Debate, is to put forth a clearly-articulated set of standards as to what I believe a platform of a quality befitting one who aspires to lead the Filipino people ought to look like.


      • ilda says:


        You can’t fault us for asking Noynoy to lift his game. I have a feeling your standards are getting lower the longer you stay in the country 🙂

      • Joe America says:


        Always happy to inspire a good debunking. Yes, public and private are different. But any building you look at, public or private, is harder to build than to rip asunder.


        Juices, I hope not. I am simply looking for a plank to hang onto in the flood of condemnation I see, that does not even try to give credit where maybe a small bit of credit is due. Most of us have a lot of good in us, and some bad, but one would think that Mr. Aquino is the vilest creature to walk the planet since, umm . . .

        oh, yeah . . .

        Arroyo . . .

        So amongst the cry for platforms and facts and truths is one way out of balance perspective being strewn across the electronic countryside . . .


  4. UP n grad says:

    They are not the masa (“masa” do not blog), but nonetheless, the reaction of the folks at EllenT’s site to NoyNoy speech tells me NoyNoy appeal is wearing out very fast across all quintiles. Pakikidamay-sentiment is wearing out very fast, all the more each time that NoyNoy makes utterances. Laban!

  5. jethernandez says:

    Ignoy’s rants at the MOB BUSINESS CLUB should have been the context of the bills he should have authored during his engagements at the congress and in the senate… kaya lang natutulog sya at nagkakamot lang ng ano nya…

  6. benign0 says:

    Still, I read the words and I see effort to say the right things. Forgive me for swimming upstream, but I think he is different than Arroyo. And those who would expect perfection are themselves a tad out of whack, and those who would say “he must think as I do” are largely irrelevant.

    Mr Joe America, of course no one can reasonably expect one to think as one does nor seek perfection and actually get these. But that does not mean one should stop attempting to influence what others think. It is a worthwhile personal goal to bend others to one’s will and the degree of success by which this goal is attained is a function of the skill with which this effort is applied.

    That is what democracy is really all about. The implementation of an environment where a free exchange of ideas can rage.

    Noynoy took an “effort” to say “the right things”. Others take an effort too – to evaluate these words and challenge the perception that these are indeed the “right things”.

  7. ilda says:

    Reduce taxes (you can almost hear the shuffle of tsinelas-clad feet as voters scramble to tick Noynoy’s name on their ballots on this one…)

    For sure he is going to make a lot of voters happy. The question is, how is he going to implement all the changes he wants to do once he has reduced taxes? This must be a trick.

  8. BenK says:

    I’m actually for Noynoy, so that this country will get the comeuppance it needs to pull its head out of its ass and starting doing things sensibly.

    My point about the irrelevance of Noynoy — or anyone else — being different from Arroyo is that it is taken for granted that there is a certain perception of malfeasance that no one intends to repeat. Since that is the same for everybody, it’s a wash, and there has to be some other criteria, meaning PLATFORM and PERFORMANCE RECORD to differentiate them and make a choice. None of the candidates have really addressed policy issues that they would do differently than Arroyo — the only logical comparison that should be included in the debate — they just promise not to behave like her. From Noynoy, that’s about as much as he seems to be able to offer; the rest, a bit more, not quite enough.

    As far as Noynoy having some ‘fundamental anchor of goodness’: BULLSHIT, in my opinion. He is an arrogant, opportunistic liar. The only reason I don’t rate him as worse than Villar (he’s the Retarded Sock Monkey, Manny’s a Gila Monster), is that Villar is a lot smarter.

    • Joe America says:


      If I read you right, you want Nonoy elected so that the people can find out a few years from now that things are still corrupt and the empowered elite are still enriching themselves at the expense of the poor.

      So basically you are for failure, which I must say is a unique position. You can’t find anybody to be legitimately FOR? No one to back, to support?


  9. UP n grad says:

    If he was not working hard last year and the year before to show he can be promoted, why assume he will work hard this year and next year as President?

    This is my other take on NoyNoy. My sentence starts with the premise that even NoyNoy the day before Cory died (and all through the years that Cory was alive), even NoyNoy knew that he does not have the vision, leadership and managerial skills that it takes to be President of Pilipinas. He knew he is not up to snuff, and all the “powered”-people (the intelligentsia, the mayors and congressman and senators, the cabinet members, the movers-and-shakers) all the many days of the many years, the conclusion was that Malacanang responsibilities needed someone way better than NoyNoy.

    Now read again the speeches from NoyNoy. Please someone tell me what they see.

    I will give Noynoy that momentary flash of “eureka” to see the opportunity to get promoted from Senator into super-Senator. But dang…. if he was not working hard last year and the year before to show he can be promoted, why assume he will work hard this year and next year as President? It is a lack of confidence he is trying to hide with the words “… but the people are asking me to volunteer to be the next President”.

  10. GabbyD says:

    “- Reduce taxes (you can almost hear the shuffle of tsinelas-clad feet as voters scramble to tick Noynoy’s name on their ballots on this one…)”

    he never said he’d reduce taxes.

    he said: “In addressing the looming fiscal crisis, good governance and the drive against corruption are critical components in our strategy. We will refrain from imposing new taxes or increasing tax rates.”

    • UP n grad says:

      gabbyD: You are right. He did say “…refrain.”

      He also said: ….f the people at the Department of Finance and the BIR who have tried to implement reforms before are with us now, and together with reform-minded career executives, we intend to put their commitment and talents to good use under my administration.

      My vision is to transform our country into one where we have lower tax rates enjoyed by all.

      • GabbyD says:

        yes, thats his vision. this happens in the future, and is NOT what he wants to do before addressing “the looming fiscal crisis”.

        his plan is to increase collection given current rates.

        IF he is correct that he can raise tax collection under current rates, then he can definitely lower taxes in the future.

      • UP n grad says:

        There may be a couple of voters who have latched onto this “NoyNoy promises to lower taxes” as major reason why their hearts belong to NoyNoy… boy, will they be disappointed when 2012 comes and they get told what “vision” means.

  11. vasil valdz says:

    Taxes is the lifeblood of the government, with the current budget defecit, how would this dumb ass improve the government services??? —> Yeah! lets Lower Taxes and now everybody is Happy!!! what a dumbass idea….

    d problem with tax collection is that ordinary/middle class society bears the burden of paying them while the multinational companies finds a way to evade it….

    • jethernandez says:

      that’s right vasil… it’s not a simple question of lowering or removing taxes…. The multinats and big businesses have their tax shelters and incentives. an ordinary sari-sari store will always be assessed AS-IS… while a retail stores with fancy high value products will employ accounting firms to CHEAT FOR THEM….

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