The Law of Conservation of Foreign Travel – applied to Noynoy Aquino

The Editor, true to form, sheds rose-coloured light on the token frugality President-Elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III applies to the conduct of his inauguration at the end of June. This “virtue” is made stark by using the “evil” extravagance of out-going President Gloria Arroyo as a backdrop to heighten the contrast.

This is the overall theme of today’s (22nd June) Op-Ed of the Aquino family’s publicist and references to Noynoy’s goodness and Gloria’s badness peppers the piece. Nothing new there, but this passage is particularly revealing:

We hope, again in contrast to his predecessor who made 77 trips abroad in nine years (the masa have a word for this—nagsamantala), that the new President will limit his foreign travels only to the most important ones. The country has enough Cabinet members and ambassadors who can attend to its diplomatic and trade relations.

It echoes Noynoy’s emphasis on his lack of inclination to travel abroad to meet with his peers, opting to delegate that schmoozing to his henchmen instead. That’s his family publicist hard at work putting a positive spin on what’s been observed to be a likely case of the separation anxiety he has so far exhibited.

The more important point to be made here is that a reluctance to travel in a President does not necessarily translate to an absolute reduction in travel for the administration overall.

Firstly, Noynoy plans to “delegate” foreign travel to his Cabinet members and ambassadors. In effect, travel that was meant for him will simply be taken up by someone else.

Second, the number of meetings abroad requiring high-level government delegations is not likely to defer to any plans of “frugality” to be instigated by any Philippine government. Whether the President himself attends these or not does not subtract or add to the demand for foreign travel of state dignitaries.

Third, where Aquino grandstands his plan to “delegate” the schmoozing with his global peers to his minions as a “virtue” that will mark his administration, one can argue that delegating running of day-to-day activities to his staff and stepping up to the task of top-level overseas diplomacy is also a worthwhile approach. Indeed, if we recall, Noynoy also grandstands about sharing power with election loser Mar Roxas to the extent of crowning Roxas as his “alter-ego“. Contradiction alert! Contradiction alert!

The funny thing about Noynoy and the spin his henchmen in the Philippine Media dish out is that they poo-pooh meetings with foreign officials and heads of state and the overseas travel that these often entail as unimportant. This plays on the reality that foreign travel and foreign affairs are things that are quite far off from the day-to-day awareness of the Average Pinoy Schmoe.

But are high-level meetings abroad really unimportant? So unimportant, as we are led to believe, that they may simply be “delegated” to underlings?

The answers to the above question lies in a flawed regard for two key notions at work within the small minds of the Yellow Army:

* * *

(1) The importance of schmoozing with foreign officials

Consider how dependent the Philippines is on the global community for even just survival. It possesses (if at all) an utterly flaccid capacity to create, stimulate, and sustain economic activity and value domestically — the kinds of stuff needed to generate employment. As a matter of fact, our sad nation lives off scraps thrown to us by the International Community — jobs overseas no one else wants to take, labour-added value operations like chip manufacturing, tourists holidaying (and getting their teeth done) on the cheap, and foreign aid. Even the country’s chief staple is grown in farms and shipped from granaries halfway around the world. Unimportant? That depends on the sort of leader our new “President” is.

(2) The very notion of “delegating” something

There is a thin line that separates real delegation and the sort of “delegation” done by mediocre managers and leaders. Mediocre managers delegate activities that they consider — or pitch to the public — to be of “less priority” to their personal agendas. Real managers, on the other hand, delegate things on the basis of consideration over a broader scheme of things. Perhaps it is this lack of a deep appreciation of the subtleties of delegation that resulted in Noynoy painting himself into the contradictory corner of him wanting to be a “hands-on” president by “delegating” foreign travel to his underlings while, at the same time, grandstanding about wanting to “share” power with his “alter ego” Mar Roxas, the poor sod who ended up grasping pathetically at the sorry short end of the stick as a result of Noynoy’s two-bit candidacy in this year’s elections.

* * *

Indeed, there is an intractable Law of Conservation of Foreign Travel in full force here. Noynoy simply attempts to disassociate himself with what he makes out to be an unsavory activity so effectively stigmatised by being arbitrarily associated with the “evil” regime of out-going President Gloria Arroyo.


Noynoy looks good — in an emo sort of way — for zero results.

To digress a bit, it is similar to the following moronism from a member of his growing army of brown-nosers (my boldface for emphasis):

It’s a trust in governance. It is not Noynoy you are voting for but what you feel what will happen to the country if he is president. I expect investment to shoot up to about 8% of GDP, or about P632 million so that’s 632 million jobs being created without him doing anything but just be president.

The irony there is that the above idea — moronic as it may be — could be used to argue that Noynoy’s value to the country lies more in his representing us overseas than on being a hands-on administrator on the ground.

Thanks for that brief digression albeit one where I make an interesting point. Returning to the main topic, again, from where I sit, the issue is not the volume of travel per se, but what is actually done and achieved during said travels. Perhaps Arroyo had not delivered much as far as the doing and achieving part as far as her “77 trips” go, so much so that it was easy to make something of her “extravagant” dinners and large delegations. But as what is self-evident there, the amount of travel isn’t the issue.

The cost of travel is, of course a consideration. But it is not a stand-alone factor to consider — which is what Noynoy and his minions do in highlighting “frugality” as the be-all-end-all of Noynoy’s travel plans over his term as President. In a society focused on form rather than substance, “77 trips” is easy to pitch as a disgraceful track record by simply divorcing it from its proper context.

Look who’s shrinking away
from meeting REAL leaders…

nyek nyek


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14 Responses to The Law of Conservation of Foreign Travel – applied to Noynoy Aquino

  1. J.B. says:

    Very strong point of Philippine dependency to other countries with which a head of state travel easily translates to investment or supplies.

    Mabuti pa si Imelda willing to receive the scorn of Libyans thinking the first lady shared bed with Ghadaffy just to twist the arm of Nur to sign the Tripoli agreement. Opps, she’s a first lady and not Marcos 🙂

    • Jon Abaca says:

      Instead of saying that he won’t travel, he should prioritize international travel.

      And that remark about delegating international travel to other people doesn’t is foolish. Showing up personally means that one is serious about the event.

      He should go to international conferences most likely to produce tangible results forwarding Philippine interests.

    • benign0 says:

      I think Noynoy is self-aware enough to realise that his personal appeal does not go beyond the stariray/emo tastes of the 40% who voted for him, much less the strong personalities and stature of real statesmen abroad. That is probably why early on, he already nipped any expectations in the bud of him personally overseeing any breakthroughs in foreign relations and PR that could translate to more investment and tourist $$s for the Philippines.

  2. maikimai says:

    Whadapak, they expect the GDP to grow by 8% just by Noynoy being the president? I really wanna punch these people in the face.

  3. boombox says:

    Baka nga mas mabuti pang absent nalang siya sa pag tinawag ng UN meeting… baka ano pa pinagsasabi niya doon..

  4. ulong pare says:

    … daaang

    … flipland hasn’t learned a thing… ay sus ginoo…

    >>> 1. head of state must have solid resume’ to deal with the international community… prez abnoy has none… flipland is a joke, never be a joker…

    >>> 2. head of state must represent his/her country in international event to be recognized and be counted upon when requirement arises… second/turd tier personalities will not cut it…

    >>> 3. head of state must exude confidence at all times… prez abnoy falls flat…

    >>> 4… etchastera, etc….

    … hay naku, my lupang hinarang oooopsie hinirang… WAHAPEN, my pearl of the orient seas??? 😳

  5. ChinoF says:

    Noynoy looks good — in an emo sort of way — for zero results.

    You know, some Filipinos seem to want to see someone get rich for doing nothing. They seem tired of someone being successful because they passed a test for it, or they worked for it. They want a change from reality. They really love the idea of something for nothing, it really entrances them. This seems to be realized for them in the new prez.

    Thanks to local media messing with people’s minds… if there is any to work with.

  6. Hyden Toro says:

    If the Tsimoys and Tsimays of the Philippines need more jobs. And, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia needs them. Noynoy Aquino will send his Phillipine Ambassador in Saudi Arabia to meet the King? Presidents need to meet with Heads of States. Foreign Heads of States will not meet with your Ambassadors. They need to talk to Head of States face to face. To make a good deal for the nation.

    The trouble with Gloria Arroyo, was her entourages in her travels consist of “asungots” who were not supposed to be there. There were more Free Riders than officials who are really needed.

    Or maybe, Noynoy Aquino is not knowledgeable and conversant about important topics of the World. If he meets with Prime Minister Angela Merkel of Germany, for example. He cannot be on par with Prime Minister Merkel’s intellectual ability. She is a Nuclear Physicist; and a very intelligent woman. Noynoy Aquino maybe intimidated on the job of meeting World Leaders. “Mabisto siyang, walang alam”. So, he has a good alibi to spare the nation’s cost of foreign travrels. Why not send Vice President Binay? I think he is more informed to prevent yourself from embarrassments of your intellectual ability.

    • benign0 says:

      Exactly, Mr Hyden Toro. To give credit to Noynoy, he had the “foresight” to play down any expectations of him having to meet face-to-face with these stalwarts of global statesmanship early in his campaign. It’s the same as the massive campaign recently kicked off by his Media henchmen to lower expectations around his other “promises” to eradicate corruption and eliminate poverty. That initiative came a bit late, perhaps owing to the slow-brain-movement that went into realising how hollow the whole “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” slogan was starting to ring.

  7. ulong pare says:

    … daaaang

    … prez abnoy akin’o suffers from stage fright…

    … he feels safe and secure ONLY when surrounded by flip gung gong cheerleaders, traposakals and fellow flip ladrones garapales…

    … he’ll fold in the compary of foreign dignitaries… :mrgreen:

    … like a typical flip, puro bungisngis (smirks) when confronted with a basic question… bwi hi hi hi hi pwi… 😳

  8. concerned_citizen says:

    How could NA know the problems of the world when he even needs to make an inventory of the problems that

    plague our country. For God’s sake where has he been in his three terms as a congressman and as a

    senator? Has he been busy smoking in the house of representatives.. hahhaha

  9. ArticleRequest says:

    Why delegate cabinet officials? Why not Kris Aquino or Boy Abunda? Akala ko pa sinabi ni Noynoy na isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit niya pinili si BOY was because he was getting a Masters in International Relations. 😆 Less EXPENSES! 😆

  10. Hyden Toro says:

    Boy Abundia will become the best known Worlds’ Diplomatic Court Jester. Kris Aquino will onleash her Seductive Charm Offensive. It’s a good idea. We’ll save more money. We can make them work for free. Have them pay for their own plane tickets. Round Trip, to assure that, if they will be kicked out. They can go directly back home, for the next flight.

    Maybe, we are now living in Noynoy Aquino’s Wonderland. After having lived in Gloria Arroyo’s Enchanted Kingdom. “Naniniwala na ako sa mga maligno”…”Por Dios, Por Santo!”

  11. ulong pare says:

    … daaang

    … garbage in, garbage out…

    … kayong mga flip gung gongs, you got what you asked for>>>> garbage….

    … what y’all expect, ginto????

    … hay naku, flips, puro kayo mga tunggak! :mrgreen:

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