by jun asuncion
This SONA 2009 sounds like a desperate appeal to the public of one of the most unpopular presidents of the Philippines- Gloria Arroyo- to change their perception of her for the better before she steps down the throne of power where, for years, she overstretched the meaning of political corruption in the Philippines. Aside from that, she tarnished badly the image of a woman politician in the Philippines- to the disadvantage of some promising and competent women politicians in the country like Loren Legarda.
To divert the attention of the public, she used strategically such positive words as “work”, “lead”, “protect”, and “preserve”. To qoute her: “I did not become President to be popular. To work, to lead, to protect and preserve our country, our people, that is why I became President. When my father left the Presidency, we were second to Japan. I want our Republic to be ready for the first world in 20 years..”
She associated her name with the memory of her father who allegedly placed the Philippines second to Japan during his time. These are all cheap psychological tricks employed to manipulate the public mind and shape their perception of her- in other words, to polish her image. This going back to history to use it to one’s advantage in face of the actual desolate situation of the country in many levels- social, political and economic- is a typical myopic perception of somebody from a political dynasty. Myopic because vested interest has always the self- or ego, or the clan if you prefer it- as point of reference, and not the all-encompasing goals set by the Philippine Constitution.
It is this megalomanic and egocentric political system in the country that prevents it from joining the first world, a goal set by Arroyo to achieve within 20 years. This is an illusion, a wishful thinking, and should not be confused with positive thinking and visonary leadership for she did not possess this patriotistic and moral uprightness characteristic of a visonary leader like Gandhi, Mandela or Obama. An illusion leads a country to nothing. To insult the Filipino mind several times by the number of corruption scandals within her family, the high records of human rights violation and killings of investigative journalists during her administration, the high rate of emigration of Filipino nationals, the astronomic foreign debts of the country which doubled during her presidency, etc. – all attest to misgovernace and dissatisfaction of her government and to the reality of her delusion. To join the first world, the Philippines must in the first place build a stable political base, reform the electoral process, penalize corruption practices and must have a nationalistic, democratic and morally strong national leader. I think Arroyo have missed correcting these flaws in our country and even missed correcting her own self. So this good sounding dream of joining the first world lacks sincerity, just thrown into the air to insult you and me.
When people flee, it’s never a sign of happines. When killings and corruption scandals are never solved, it’s never an indicator of democracy, social justice and functioning five pillars of justice or checks and balance system- but of strings being pulled behind to the center- the self. Economic statistics never tell the truth when used by an unpopular president whose intention is to repair her broken public image. So it’s hard to buy the figures she’s selling out here. They are designed to insult the Filipino mind.
Being an economist, she claims authority on this subject, claiming that the world finacial crisis did not ruin the Philippines as it did to other countries. The Philippines was spared of it- thanks to her economic programs- like the OFW which sends her billions of dollars annualy. Again one must exercise caution here. The world crisis was a bank crisis in the first place. The Philippines do not have giant banks that invested huge amounts outside the country- like the UBS of Switzerland where it lost billions of dollars in the US. But this involves mainly the UBS and not the whole country of Switzerland. Jobs were lost naturally, but the whole Swiss economy is as strong as before. It is mainly because of a stable social and political system- not because of its giant banks like UBS and CS. Local and foreign investments abound because of peace and political stability.
As we all know, political stability is never a strength of the Philippines since decades already- so don’t expect economic stability as stressed in SONA 2009 by Arroyo. Her very own administration was from the very beginning also unstable. It is ridiculous how she stands all alone before the nation and flamboyantly cites proofs to the rising economic wealth of the Philippines under her presidency- but immediately calls the aid of her lawyer to explain for her before a group of inquiring concerned citizens her own remarkable growth in wealth she has accumulated up to now. Why a lawyer? Does she honestly not consider her own wealth as a direct result of the rising economy of the Philippines under her own economic programs?It’s funny how she displays her honesty.
Here’s the latest proof of this instability and the all-pervasive odor of corruption that has engulfed her administration from the beginning till the present:
MBC asks Arroyo to explain remarkable growth in wealth
RUBY ANNE M. RUBIO, GMANews.TV 08/14/2009 | 07:08 PM | |
An influential business group joined the growing calls for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to explain her accumulated wealth after her net worth doubled every three years as a public servant for 16 years. In a statement, the Makati Business Club said the business community would be particularly interested in the remarkable growth of Mrs. Arroyo’s net worth when her personal wealth soared by 2,032.84 percent to P143.54 million in 2008 from P6.73 million in1992 based on a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). “Held against the light of economic reality and the First Couple’s declared assets and income sources, the impressive growth of Mrs. Arroyo’s wealth is difficult to fathom,” MBC said.
MBC noted Mrs. Arroyo’s stock portfolio grew by 41 percent per annum from P55 million in 2006 to P110 million in 2008, at a time when the Philippine Stock Exchange index fell by 21 percent. “Like Caesar’s wife, the President must be above suspicion. As the highest public servant in our country and in the interest of good governance, Mrs. Arroyo must set an example by making a full and transparent accounting of her and her family’s wealth. She owes the Filipino people an explanation,” the group added.
The group lauded PCIJ for a “job well done” on its three-part series on Mrs. Arroyo’s “still-to-be-explained wealth.” “The press serves a watchdog function and, disagreeable as it may be to those who have suffered its nasty bite, we must allow the press to perform this function, without coercion or threats,” MBC said. “It now behooves the President to personally respond to the issues raised by the PCIJ article. It is unfortunate that instead of clarifying matters, the President has opted to call in her legal advisers who have tried to attack the message as well as the messenger rather than respond in any meaningful and germane manner,” it added. Mrs. Arroyo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, defended the President, saying his client did not manipulate her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
Macalintal has served as her lawyer in an electoral protest. “Through her lawyer, the President has stated that she stands by the ‘truth and veracity’ of her SALN, but it is difficult to accept her statement at face value if all that she has to substantiate her claim is the paltry information provided in the document and her spokespersons’ explanations that only lead to more unanswered questions,” the MBC said.
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