Wouldn’t it be great if there was an election every year? The six year term given to the incumbent president is too long in my opinion. Just think about it. Every six years, the Philippines goes into fiesta mode during the campaign period and every politician switches into “sip-sip” gear in an effort to reach out to the electorate and hopefully catch their votes. As that Washington Post article aptly described it in reference to the atmosphere during election period, roads are suddenly getting paved, playgrounds are being built, and freebees like sponsorship for beauty pageants, medicines and doctors check-ups and not to mention campaign shirts are being handed-out. Who wouldn’t want these things on going the whole year round and not just every six years?
Every election, politicians aspiring for no less than the presidency or those seeking a re-election in the senate, local councils and any other public office, promises to eradicate poverty once and for all if elected. We all know that in this part of the globe, after the election is over, it has been noted that the politicians who win intentionally forget to keep their promises. Filipino voters themselves keep forgetting that the same politicians forgot to keep their promises so they re-elect him/her again back into office. Worse, they elect a new face but with the same style of mismanagement. Gary Valenciano said it best when he sang, “Di na natuto.” I don’t know why Filipino voters can’t tell that some politicians are so not into them.
Why do Filipinos never learn? It’s because Filipinos are addicted to instant gratification. Instant gratification describes the short-term satisfaction gained from impulsive behavior. The credit card, for example, is a tool of instant gratification. Instead of saving money to buy what people need, people use a credit card to purchase goods or services now and then suffer the repayments plus interest later on.
Filipino politicians in effect, give voters credit for their votes by way of offering freebees during campaign period and once they are in office, politicians misguidedly feel that they are entitled to the privileges of their positions. So, it’s not just the politicians who are the culprits here, it is also the voters who have very little scruples because they can be bought. Noynoy Aquino’s “Walang mahirap kung walang corrupt” slogan is another form of instant gratification. We all know that it takes more than eradicating corruption to fix the economy. Anyone who falls for this trick should seriously have their head examined.
To those who would rather defer to international opinion, Bloomberg.com, among the top five most-visited financial sites on the Web recently published another scathing assessment of the 2010 Philippine election and the top three presidential candidates.
First, Bloomberg.com news columnist William Pesek gave an almost identical description as the one on the recent Washington Post article of how Philippine campaigns are held every election:
Candidates in the Philippines are skilled at exploiting what development economists call poverty porn. They’re great at shanty-town photo opportunities and promising prosperity. A fresh sense of betrayal sets in as leaders return to the business of enriching their cronies or doing little.
Next, the financial site gave a gloomy appraisal of presidential candidates Noynoy Aquino, Manny Villar and Erap Estrada. The author said this of the three:
The big concern is competence. Aquino’s family name — he’s the son of beloved former leader Corazon Aquino — doesn’t ensure he’ll be a capable reformer. Villar says his rags-to- riches life story makes him the best candidate to right the economy. Estrada thinks he was unfairly ousted in 2001 and that he’s ready to save the day.
Why, it must be asked, is a nation with so much potential turning to a group of untested men to repair its long-neglected economy? That’s a question investors should be asking early and often as the Philippines heads into a potentially market-shaking election.
Pesek is in not so many words saying that we must choose another candidate over Noynoy, Manny and Erap. Likewise, the author, like that TIME article’s profile of Noynoy, described Noynoy as being “from the pampered oligarchy” and therefore part of the problem. It is a good thing the author did not write off other presidential candidates Dick Gordon or Gibo Teodoro.
As a source of financial information, business leaders look to sites like Bloomberg.com for economic trends in local and international settings like the Philippines. As the election draws to a close in the country, international investors are watching how the events unfold very very closely. Unfortunately, Noynoy Aquino’s warning or his subtle call for another people power demonstration if he does not win in the election is not good news to foreign investors.
In a recent interview, Aquino said that “if we have a correct counting of the votes I think we will be very victorious.” If not, and “the people’s will is frustrated,” he added, demonstrations could make recent protests in Thailand seem “mild” by comparison.
What a breathtaking comment. It seems as if the election favorite is saying that if he loses it will be because of fraud and the nation’s 100 million people should revolt. Such risks help explain why Standard & Poor’s rates the Philippines’s foreign-currency debt three levels below investment grade.
It’s good to know that I am not the only one who finds Noynoy’s move so risky if not dangerous for the economy and Filipino people. Even if Noynoy wins the election and finds no need to go hit the streets, do Filipinos still want a leader who does not want to uphold the law and use due process? As the Bloomberg.com writer said,. “Filipinos need and deserve an able and inspiring leader” and “the Philippines needs a seriously focused leader — a skilled policy wonk to attack the corruption that keeps economic growth from benefiting all”. Obviously, Noynoy Aquino in particular does not fit the description.
As Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said of Edsa “revolution” mongering: “just crazy, crazy, crazy”.