Averting the damage of false expectations caused by Noynoy's promises

Now that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and his Cabinet have “hit the ground running”, it is time to examine the focal point around which spin the complex of platitudes and promises delivered to us over much of Noynoy’s presidential campaign — Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap (translated literally: “If no corruption THEN no poverty”).

A few of my colleagues here have already made an in-depth exploration of the void that describes the logical link between corruption and poverty. So my approach will be to do a deep-dive into what I believe to be the more profound nature of Philippine poverty. It is important that we augment our understanding of the non-link between “corruption” and endemic poverty with the following look into what makes our poverty so poignantly chronic. These two insights will help us gain a better appreciation of the massive amount of work we need to do over the next six years. Much of this work has to do with mitigating the risk of further damage to the Filipino psyche that Noynoy’s promise to eliminate poverty by eliminating corruption is already causing. The false expectations created by such a promise is already inflating a fragile morale bubble of great expectations without a commensurate highlighting of the key role that personal accountability plays in any initiative to alleviate poverty.

Let’s cut to the chase and get what is real squarely in front of our faces. If we are to look back at our track record of economic added-value creation, we can quite easily arrive at the following conclusion:

On the average, every new Filipino born represents a potential subtraction from the aggregate value of the Philippine economy.

In other words, the average Filipino individual will over his or her lifetime generate a total incremental economic value that will not cover the additional cost he or she levies on the economy in becoming a resource-consuming element within it. This is one of the fatter pillars of truth that describes Da Pinoy Condition. It goes to the core of why every effort mounted by the Philippines to prosper simply fails. It is also a key underpinning principle of overpopulation, and it ties squarely into my definition of poverty which I elaborated upon on an article on FilipinoVoices.com from way back:

Poverty is an outcome of our locking ourselves into commitments beyond any inherent ability in us to honour them.

In essence, every new Filipino warm body produced represents a commitment. And our track record of economic output per capita is a sorry record that I believe highlights our inherent inability to honour our commitments. Our impoverishment stems from the very time we enter a commitment to feed, raise, and educate every new Filipino baby born and fail to honour it. Poverty is therefore etched into the very DNA of our society.

This is the source of our poverty. And we have been for the last five decades trying to whitewash that reality with “solutions” that involve an over-dependence on short-term sources of income — overseas foreign workers, raw resources exports (like logs, minerals, metal ore, etc.), and labour-added-value assemblies among others. The big financial windfalls that many of them may deliver confounds in how these never quite manage to seep into the little cracks that interlace the bedrock of our ability to sustain ourselves. These cracks are where a strong ethic of innovation, enterprise, and foresight should have but did not come to fill. Cash windfalls from external sources simply atrophy any inclination to prosper that is driven from within.

Our poverty is not caused by corruption. It is caused by an absence of self reliance and, more glaringly, an absence of personal accountability.

The biggest irony here is that a President who pandered to the Filipino’s need for assurance that their poverty is someone else’s fault is sitting in Malacanang today.

Noynoy’s administration seems set to erode what little sense of personal accountability the Filipino has left. The Aquino Family Newsletter flashed a headline the other day whose oxymoronism will probably all but escape the vacuous sensibilities of its readership. Kayo ang boss ko (“You all are my boss”). That, in essence is the epic cop out of new Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

It is a statement that panders to populist sentiment but is devoid of tangible meaning. What exactly does it mean when the most powerful man of the land says that the “people” are his boss? Nothing much. This moronism draws heavily from the vacuous Edsa “revolution” concept that underpins what passes off as the Aquinoist’s “ideology” — that power “emanates” from the people and that the Edsa “revolution” of 1986 was a phenomenon that manifested a raw but “pure” form of “people” power. So much has this concept been perverted to political ends that it is seen to be a legitimate means for the expressing of the people’s “will” in addition to the recognised channels: elections and representation via elected representatives in the legislature.

So I say to the Inquirer.net, not so fast, dudes. “Boss” in the true sense of someone who directs a subordinate’s actions does not exist in the relationship between the President and his constitutents. Rather, the President (and for that matter, any elected official) is given the mandate to lead and direct his people. In this mandate is enshrined the people’s confidence in the elected official to use his own better judgment to guide his actions, his leadership, and the directives he issues.

By saying that the Filipino people are his “boss”, Noynoy makes a lame attempt to bat accountability back to what, in essence, is an abstraction. Epic fail, Mr President. As with most chief executives, the buck stops at your office. Deal with it. There is no “boss” as far as you are concerned. As your own family mouthpiece editorialised on its top headlined news report:

It was a speech without the usual abstract platitudes but replete with must-do things.

Indeed, Mr President. And now, so you must. Perhaps I might extend for now my sympathies to you seeing that you now find yourself in the untenable situation of being stuck with a promise made on record that you will “eliminate” poverty by “eliminating” corruption. That is what is implied in that now infamous campaign slogan of yours, isn’t it?

Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.

On this slogan rests the basis of all “hope” harboured by those who look to you for their salvation.

Look who is laughing
all the way to the bank.

nyek nyek


About benign0

benign0 is the Web master of GetRealPhilippines.com
This entry was posted in Culture, Development, Economy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Averting the damage of false expectations caused by Noynoy's promises

  1. I also think that the cause of poverty is not corruption but the lack of good work ethics and laziness.

    let’s look at it this way.

    Lety’sa say noynoy was able to stop corruption but a person Juan is too lazy to actually work. Will he be saved from poverty? of course not.

    • Dee says:

      It’s sad how the Philippines still remain so poor when it’s rich with natural resources, beautiful landscapes for tourism, abundant mineral deposits, and big arable lands. The country is lucky because despite of its geographic composition, it’s not suffering from several ethnic conflicts and secessionist movements like some African countries. Only that one big conflict in Mindanao. Philippines also has no conflict with its Asian neighbors. So there should be no reason for Philippines to be lagging behind! It’s so sad to see this country with so much potential to be falling behind others.

      I think of the biggest hindrance is overpopulation. 90 million people is really disgusting. Malaysia is even bigger than us slightly but their population is only 27 million. No wonder we’re importing rice, have classroom shortages, high unemployment, and increasing poverty. But despite the obvious problem, Filipinos still have to carefully debate whether family planning and sex education should be taught? Are you kidding me?!!! You obviously can’t provide enough for your people and there’s still that chance that you’re not gonna do anything about it? Unbelievable. I really hope kahit ito lang magawan ng solution ni Noynoy.

      So in my opinion, it’s really bad governance and poor leadership that cause poverty in the Philippines. If the country has good leaders with good management, laws will be properly implemented, decreasing the number of Filipinos who shamelessly disregard the law-from simple jaywalking to government malfeasance. There will be accountability-what the country blatantly lacks, which will result in minimized corruption and discipline among the people. And ineffective polices will be abolished including that damn protectionist policy that’s caging in the country for decades.

      • sonny merioles says:

        “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”. Long have the Aquinos took power over Tarlac province, from P. noynoy’s ancestors upto present. Were they able to obliterate poverty from the people of Tarlac? What happen to the land reform act? Farmers should be lifted from the soil they toil… did these happen in Hacienda Luisita? How can he remove poverty in the whole of Philippines when he was not able to do it in his beloved hometown? How can our fate be different from the farmers of hacienda Luisita? These farmers worked for P. noynoy”s family for so long still they were not favored. How much more for us? This is reality. 😐

      • ChinoF says:

        On population, Philippines is the 12th most populous in the world:


        Well, Vietnam is not far, and Indonesia has more, but… they’re still doing somewhat better economically .

        The main hindrance for me is the chokehold of the elite. They came up with a constitution that discourages foreign investment in order to obstruct progress and protect their holdings. All the problems you said are there, but I believe that behind all that, the oligarchy are scheming to keep those problems unsolved, since it’s in their advantage.

      • Markad says:

        Well besides overpopulation, we also have a bad zoning practices and centralized development. Overpopulation+concentration of population in an area+incorrect zoning of lands = fail 😆

    • Hyden Toro says:

      Hey Iya, Please read my comments . The long one…it will elucidate you more…

  2. ChinoF says:

    Many studies show a weak link to corruption as the cause of poverty. Corruption can be one cause, but not of poverty, but of aggravating already established poverty. In fact, more studies now show that lack of economic freedom is one of the biggest causes behind poverty (check the Cliff Stearns video posted here). Economic freedom is suppressed in our country because of the protectionist clauses of the constitution and it arrests social mobility for the rest. So the solution for most people is to get out and find a better life elsewhere. And sometimes, they stop being Filipino (change citizenship) because they’re fed up with the erroneous system in their home country. So either remove the protectionist clauses or just let the country sink into greater despair.

  3. Dragonslayer says:

    Ah, Benigno, your love affair with the word “vacuous” is making me swoon … ❓

    Success doesn’t occur overnight. Rather, it builds slowly like a snowball and there are times along the way where some actually lose ground. For most successful people, achievement is the result of intense, dedicated hard work and there is often little if any surprise or amazement associated with it. It becomes a matter of fact. And it is.

    Our people need to understand that having Noy at the helm is not the answer to all their miseries. Unfortunately, this is what Noy is trying to make them believe. And the sad thing, most of them would most likely subscribe to this idea.

    You ask anyone who’d been poor and snapped his/her way out of it, the answer is almost the same, discipline, hard work and resilience. All that is being clouded and corrupted by a promise (kung walang corrupt walang mahirap) that has no chance of being realized.

  4. benign0 says:

    Indeed, guys. Poverty needs to be CLEARLY understood. Like corruption, it seems to be understood only at a superficial level (ironic, considering there is so much of both in our society), so much so that moronisms like Noynoy’s “kung walang korap…” bs so successfully captured the sensibilities of the electorate in this year’s election,

    • Hyden Toro says:

      He is trying to solve the country’s problems by “sloganeering.” It will not work; I assure you. It will fall flat on his face.

  5. ArticleRequest says:

    Does Mr. Aquino realize that his pathetic stay in Senate and Congress and the HUNDREDS of millions WASTED are tell tale signs of him being a practitioner of silent corruption because he does not have any sense of accountability?

    • Jay says:

      I think he does. That is why he’s trying to prove to everyone that omission of information is not as bad as actually doing the deed. I think his entire political career has been one where he omits or evades accountability, except where it doesn’t tarnish his name.

    • Hyden Toro says:

      I see Political Divisiveness in the in his term. He cannot work with his Vice President Binay.
      At least, Gloria Arroyo worked with her Vice President Noli de Castro.

      By putting EDSA mentality on the forefront. He is promoting divisiveness, instead of unity.
      The Philippines is already torn apart by insurgencies of every kinds.

  6. mix says:

    The problem with Noynoy’s promises is that the Filipino people will now think that the problems of our country will now simply go away.

    Maybe Noynoy realized that he was indeed preaching false promises, hence the “I’m not Superman/Einstein” excuse when the expectations of da Pinoy skyrocketed.

    Now the problem here is the possibility of more Pinoys taking it easy waiting for the country to magically change to a first-world country, waiting Mr. President to steer us out of our troubles 🙄

    • Jay says:

      Well the last part can be punctuated with the recent people here posting about the site and writers’ unwarranted criticism on the president. Not even those who support him or support him now by default want the accountability of backing him up. In fact everyone playing the wait and see approach is doing just as you wrote with no real goal in mind as to what he is going to be accountable of.

      • ChinoF says:

        And if they’re going to wait and see without any idea of what to hold him accountable for, is that tantamount to just letting it all go? What happens, happens? Then that’s apathy, and that’s also irresponsible. I guess that’s why we at AP are noisy and active about our criticisms. Once we stop, who knows if it means stopping forever.

      • Lilly says:

        I guess those starry-eyed masa blinded by Noynoy’s star appeal won’t realize what grave wrong they did to the country by voting that trainwreck.

        Sasabihin lang nila “ay naku, paki namin, nanalo sya eh. Di lang naman kami ang bumoto.”

        We’re pretty much doomed since the majority aren’t responsible enough to KNOW who they’re voting for. Who was it that said “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute talk with the average voter”? It’s gospel truth.

    • Hyden Toro says:

      Just give the man the benefit of the doubt. He wants the job, and thinks he can tackle it. So, give him the chance to prove himself. If he will fall on his face: it will be his fault. Our laughing stock, more than Dolphy and Pokwang.

  7. BernardP says:

    I think that how one of my favorite critics sees everything is the best approach on judging the Aquino Administration, and that approach is the Guantanamo Bay approach assume everything is S**t unless it proves itself otherwise.

  8. Hyden Toro says:

    “Kung walng corrupt, walang mahirap”. My heart is really torn apart and my soul is bothered by this empty slogan of the new President, Noynoy Aquino. Then, he points out that the Filipnos are indolent, not self reliant. Concluding: “Kayo and Boss ko.” His personality moves from one color to another color. Is he mentally stable? Some sort of ambigous personality? Or he just don’t know what he is talking about.
    Poverty in the Philippines will continue; same as corruption. It is because:

    (1) No job generating industries, vital industries that will power the Philippine’s economic development. We rely mostly on the remitances of OFWs. The world is in a recessionary period. I don’t see any good economic recovery. Citing our cooper production. There is no single cooper smelter in the country. We sell our cooper concentrate to Japan, for final smelting.

    (2) Most manufacturing jobs in industrialized countries, are done by automations and Robots. Supplanting human labor. Unemployment will continue in industrialized countries. Even our OFWs menial servants can be possibly supplanted by Robots. There is an experimental prototype servant Robot invented already. So, if you rely on OFWs. Sooner, there will be not OFWs already.

    (3) We are deeply in debt. Our national earnings is mostly used in servicing these foreign debts. We will soon be bankrupt, if he will not watch out. Iceland went bankrupt. Then, Greece. Whose next? We?

    (4) The usual “tayo-tayo” system, or “tribal custom” inherent in Filipinos. This is why we have the Political Warlords and their Private Armies. Like China, before Mao Tse Tung came to power. It was ruled by Warlords, with Private Armies..

    (5) The Philippines is still Feudal. Noynoy Aquino is the biggest Feudal Lord with his Hacienda Luisita. Next is the Catholic Church with its Church owned Friar lands. During the Spanish times; the Spanish Friar will go to a rich landed person; asking to turn over his lands to “go directly to Heaven.”

    (6) Insurgency and lawlessness are rampant in our country. With my apology to our Muslim brothers. How would a government Auditor go to audit in a far flung government office in Mindanao, and expose the corruption? Or in Provincial setting. A Governor, who is a Provincial Warlord. You see, he is corrupt. Would you point him as corrupt, with the risk of your life? Some of these Warlords are his rabid followers. And they have Private Armies, to fulfill their threats.

    (7) I have never seen a country, that eliminated corruption and poverty, in our time. Maybe in the future, but not our time.

    Solve the problem, Mr. President. Don’t use gimmicks, because they are nonsense, and will not work.

  9. Tessie Mora says:

    I think that a president’s task regarding poverty is to attract investments which in turn create jobs that will provide the opportunities for the people to have at least the basic things in life. That’s why the presidents before him went to other countries to encourage foreign investments. But attracting investments require also the building of infrastructures to make businesses run. But there seems to have no program in this new administration on how to make the Philippines an attractive place for foreign investments to come rushing in. No 10-point agenda, no plans, no foresight. Or even, say, just a 5-point agenda that will be the blueprint of his 6 year term. It’s like building a house without a plan. We need to hear from him the solutions to the problems that were left behind by the past administrations. Or the solutions to the problems he created himself. He cannot solve poverty within 6 years , more so if he thinks corruption go hand in hand with poverty alone. Corruption is a moral issue. Poverty is economic. Filipinos are NOT lazy. The opportunities are just not there for them to have work. Because of poverty, they cannot go to school or finish school. Education gives them the basic skills to land a job. When they are educated they will now have the right frame of mind to seek their own fortune without depending on government. Poverty does not breed corruption. Those who are in high positions, rich in their own right, are the ones who want millions in kickbacks……sometimes the lowly taxi driver will return a wallet full of money back to its foreign owner. The rich will have money in its mind set, the poor sometimes will have honor in its own. So, Noynoy’s task is to get his job done here and now, without anymore referring to mama and papa, EDSA and Gloria.

    • UP nn grad says:

      Tessie: Take away “wang-wang”, take away “Davide Commission”, and the difference between the Noynoy-administration 10-point–plan and GMA’s 10-point-plan is ___fill-in-the-blanks________.

      Answer: ????? On VAT, the BIR plan is “…to road-tax VAT and other taxes that GMA should have collected but they didn’t know they were allowed”, and to focus on those underground-economy taxes that do not get collected.

      Answer: ????? On school buildings : we’ll build school buildings, but on a sssss—-llll—-oooo—wwww schedule, how many and when manghula ❓ na lang kayo. [Baka mag-donate ulit ang European Union????]

      Answer: ????? On military modernization, we’ll hire more policemen and soldiers and we’ll give them the correct weapons. How many additional troops?? Manghula na lang kayo. How much additional funding, eh di kung magkano ang puwedeng idagdag.

      And on “garcification” court-case, the stance is “Well, blame Merceditas Gutierrez. Start blaming her now because surely she is at fault!” when “garcification” court case fails. 😯

    • Hyden Toro says:

      It will not work. Attrracting foreign investments to create jobs; when the world is in recession?
      Foreign companies outsource their manufacturing because of low labor costs. Why not develop local industries? We cannot even feed ourserves; because the Land Reform Program is not implemented. He is the biggest landowner (Cacique), next is the Catholic Church and third are his Political Cronies (Hacienderos mostly). If he can implement the Land Reform program within a month: I will give him the benefit of the doubt. All parts of the country must be Land Reformed. This is the first step for food self sufficiency.

  10. Phil Manila says:

    Hmmm, give the new President some slack will you? Honeymoon ika nga. Hindi pa naka one week si President Benigno S. Aquino III, dami ng articles against him.

    But if you are much dedicated or focused in criticizing and second-guessing the guy, then better change the mast head of this site to Anti P-Noy. 8)

    • benign0 says:

      Hmmm, give the new President some slack will you? Honeymoon ika nga. Hindi pa naka one week si President Benigno S. Aquino III, dami ng articles against him.

      @ Phil Manila, one can also argue this way: Naka one week pa lang si PeNoy, dami nang aricles PRAISING him. Have you checked out mainstream media lately? There you go. We’re just a small voice of reason in a sea of vacuous emotional diarrhea. 😀

    • NFA rice says:

      So we should go along with the rest singing high praises to the Chosen One? Makasuka.

    • Hyden Toro says:

      He did not bring out his platform during his campaign. He used the Media to protect him from scrutiny.
      He did not want to debate with other candidates. This is the reason, we are attacking him. He is mentally dishonest. He shortchaged the voters, who voted for him.

      Now that he brought out his plans. We scrutinized them. They are out of this world!

  11. UP nn grad says:

    LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE — message of __fill__in–the–blanks_____.
    On the 4th day, Aquino takes day off
    By TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 00:36:00 07/04/2010

    AFTER ONLY THREE DAYS IN MALAcañang, President Aquino, who declared that he would be a servant to all Filipinos, decided to take a breather Saturday.

    “Kayo ang boss ko (You’re the boss,)” he said in his inaugural speech. But on his fourth day in office, Mr. Aquino did not have any scheduled official function or appointment in Malacañang or elsewhere. Otherwise, the press would have been advised about it.

    Even presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda couldn’t say if Mr. Aquino had taken the day off. And if he had, Lacierda said he had no idea know where the President would spend it. “I don’t know his schedule for the weekend so I cannot make any conclusions,” the presidential spokesperson said in a text message. Lacierda himself had taken the day off and was out of town.

  12. elle says:

    walden bello’s column and book are actually very enlightening. he’s developed a clear argument why anti-corruption drives are not key to poverty eradication. the solutions lie in the economic policies which pNoy and his mouthpieces continue to conveniently ignore.

  13. Miriam Quiamco says:

    The Philippines has only been economically competitive thanks to its proficiency in English. We are lagging behind economically not because we are proficient in English, but that our government policies have not been pursuing economic development single-minded determination. Our media institution is full of gossip-mongers who blow every scandal out of proportion, and thus government has not had time to implement rational policies to move the country forward. Malaysia has oil resources and its population is not ballooning like ours, Indonesia had a dictatorship that somehow consolidated state efforts to pacify the country, Thailand has had population control policies since the 70s, and a king who has been able to unify the country and thus their insurgency problem ended decades ago. The Philippines only has hacienderos with private armies, self-serving and more, the problem of the country is not that we have English as medium of instruction at schools, but because our institutions have been weak, our nation-building efforts have been half-hearted. And what is this government focusing now, vendetta, will this strengthen the country’s institutions when he is undermining the judiciary through his pettiness and childish antics?

  14. Mike H says:

    The times, they have changed, and Noyinoy Aquino has been setting the example.

    No more wangWang — example number 1.

    Oversleeping 😯 and being r-e-a-l-l-y late :mrgreen: to a mass attended by several bishops, members of the Supreme Court, cabinet secretaries — example number 2.

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