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Feb 15

Manila abuzz with rumors

Manila abuzz with rumors is my Arab News column for this week.

Busy day, no time for updates.

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  1. Carl

    I’m really sorry mlq, but I am not convinced about the public getting what they wanted. Perhaps the government thought they were giving the public what they wanted. Remember, even then the country was split. The Marcos loyalists were a significant portion of the population and the government was afraid of them (what percentage of the population were Marcos loyalists? Just to have an idea, when Danding and Imelda run for President in 1992, they both rode on the Marcos loyalist vote. However, since they run on separate tickets, the vote was split. Had they run on a single ticket, they could have captured Malacañang by a comfortable margin).

    As for the rest of the country, it was willing to give the new government the benefit of the doubt, if only to move along. It’s like what you mentioned about people initially lining up to pay their taxes during the euphoria after Batista was toppled by Fidel Castro. Those lines must have really shrunk after reality set in and the government didn’t live up to expectations. It’s like Victor Yushenko idolized initially, as if his government couldn’t do anything wrong soon after the “Orange Revolution”. Yet now, slowly, the country is beginning to go sour on the Orange Revolution and rumors are beginning to surface about Yushenko being removed from power.

    But that how it is. People are initially willing to sacrifice, to give the benefit of the doubt, until they begin to see that results do not match expectations. So what real leaders do is to seize the initiative, before they are overtaken by events. Cory Aquino and her advisers hemmed and hawed. They didn’t know what initiative to take because they never had a plan. And they tried to be all things to everyone and they ended up pleasing no one.

    I don’t believe for one moment that the public had any complicity in what the Aquino government did (or more accurately, did not do). A portion of the public wanted to extend goodwill…Yes. But the public never expected “politics as usual” to make such a comeback after Marcos. The public never expected to have such superficial and meaningless centerpiece programs enacted, just to have some kind of accomplishment to show. The burden is on the politicians to come up with concrete results. And if the public is dissatisfied or disillusioned with those results, it is their right and prerogative.

  2. cvj

    Philippines GDP growth 1981 to 2005.For easier reference to the above discussions.

    1981 3.4%
    1982 3.6%
    1983 1.9%

  3. cvj

    Philippines GDP growth 1981 to 2005.For easier reference to the above discussions (2nd try)

    1981 3.4%
    1982 3.6%
    1983 1.9%

  4. cvj

    1981 3.4%, 1982 3.6%, 1983 1.9%, 1984 -7.3%, 1985 -7.3%, 1986 3.4%, 1987 4.3%, 1988 6.8%, 1989 6.2%, 1990 3.0%, 1991 -0.6%, 1992 0.3%, 1993 2.1%, 1994 4.4%, 1995 4.8%, 1996 5.7%, 1997 5.1%, 1998 -0.5%, 1999 2.4%, 2000 4.4%, 2001 3.2%, 2002 4.3%, 2003 4.7%, 2004 6 %, 2005 5.1%
    Source: NCSB & Wikipedia

  5. mlq3

    per no. 53, oddly enough while i don’t agree totally with what you say, as for your concluding three sentences, i agree absolutely. returning to what i’ve been writing over the years, i guess i should be clear with what i believe: that edsa was as much about restoration in the public mind as it was about change; but that the leadership focused so much on the restoration aspect that it quickly degenerated so that the past decade’s been spent with the leadership realizing it frittered away the chance for change, and now it’s time to pay the piper. i guess my affection and admiration for cory’s clouded my judgment on that score. on the whole, you are correct in your interpretation of events (but i can’t let go of my admiration for cory, hence the initial kicking and screaming in protest on my part).

  6. a de brux

    Carl,

    Absolutely spot on analysis.

    I appreciated Cory’s efforts to bring back ‘democracy’ to the Philippines but there is no doubt that she bungled it big time.

    I thought that the nation paid an excessively huge price for that bit of democracy that was eventually waylaid and mismanaged by Cory’s government – wasted opportunity to make the whole investment profitable for the people.

    But I do believe that in comparisson to Gloria (as a person and as a national leader), Cory is a saint!

  7. joey

    a de brux
    if cory is a siant then lets build her a statue.
    cory had her moment in history.she could have done more but she played it safe.in a way she thought more about herself in her saintlynes.she had a a one of a kind chance to really make a difference but satisfied herself w/ just the restoration of the “forms & symbols” of democracy & never thought of the “rutten substance” that has grown to be a monster. in a way she to contributed to our compounded problems today.that is why i find it disturbing that she have the gull to point fingers & at the same time pretend to be at a saintly level.
    if we still think that she is a saint then the church has seriosly failed in educating us on the teachings of the christainity.

  8. Carl

    mlq, I respect your admiration for Cory. You are entitled to your personal likes and dislikes and if you have great respect for Cory, I respect your choice. I have nothing against Cory as a person. But as a leader, I think that she let a lot of people down. I also think that she was too much a person of her class and upbringing and just didn’t have what it takes to rise above her limitations. That is why I admire Nelson Mandela so much because he suffered tremendously under white rule, yet he rose above the human tendency for vindictiveness and, for the sake of progress for his people, took in his former tormentors as partners for prosperity and stability.

    I also think that Cory played a “good cop, bad cop” role with Peping Cojuangco and her close advisers and relatives. I think it was a deliberate strategy, so that Cory could be above the fray while Peping, Tingting and their cohorts did the dirty work. It worked, and it insulated Cory to a large degree from charges of corruption and manipulation. I don’t think Cory was totally oblivious to what was going on, but she did manage to leave the impression that she was a saint, while her brothers and family members were the devils. That is why Cory could never have been caught on tape giving instructions to a Comelec Commissioner. Peping or someone else would take care of the dirty tricks (and still not be stupid enough to be caught on tape). In that respect, the Cojuangcos were a lot smarter than the incumbent.

    Your assessment is right-on Mrs. de Brux. The incumbent carries a lot of baggage, an affliction of the pre-Marcos political class, especially those that were sidelined and “deprived” for many years. Unfortunately, EDSA encouraged their kind to thrive and proliferate. That is one of my pet peeves about EDSA. When you carry all this baggage and you micro-manage to boot, you’re bound to get into deep, deep trouble.

  9. a de brux

    Carl,

    I’ve always thought that the biggest failing of Cory was that she was vindictive.

    That vindictiveness manifested a great deal in almost everything she did that’s why I said she extracted an excessively huge price from the people with her effort to restore ‘democracy’.

    When majority of the people are hungry because they are still so poor, are dying because they have no access to health care, when children are so malnuorished and have no access to education – where is ‘democracy’ in all that, where is freedom or liberty in all that?

    Democracy is all about sovereign will residing in the people but in the Philippines, this sovereign will seems to reside only in a tiny sector of the population, hence one can easily conclude that the Philippines is not a democracy.

    I must confess that I’ve asked myself whether the cost of ‘restoring democracy’ was well worth it. And I have no doubt that most of us here would say ‘Yes!’

  10. Carl

    Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is the contrast to Nelson Mandela. Mugabe is vindictive, Mandela wasn’t. The results speak for themselves.

    Mrs. de Brux, you are correct about the vindictiveness of the Aquino administration. They were so paranoid about anything having to do with Ferdinand Marcos that they failed to see the good things about Marcos. Marcos couldn’t have stayed in power for more than 20 years if he didn’t do some things right. There were a lot of bad things under Marcos, but they swept out the good along with the bad. When you limit your vision by putting biases and blinders, you’re bound to stumble.

  11. mlq3

    Carl, I’ve never understood “well, he had some good points” arguments about dictators. That’s like saying, let’s give Hitler a break, he gave Germany the autobahn and the Volkswagen.

  12. e de brux

    Ahh, MLQ3… but that was because Hitler didn’t have an Imelda (in Eva Braun)!

  13. Carl

    Give the man a break, mlq! He has dominated the lives of Filipinos for the past 50 years, for better or worse. Until today, Filipinos are still divided over Ferdinand Marcos’ legacy. I was a teenager when martial law was declared and I was a young man when EDSA happened. I was old enough to remember the glee at having the old political order overthrown in 1973. I was also young and idealistic enough to experience the euphoria of EDSA and to harbor the hopes that most of the nation had in 1986. I had fought and staked what little I had then for a bette future. But, after a few years, I knew better. The new political order was no better, just hungrier. I had no illusions about Marcos, but I did have illusions about Cory Aquino. There is a much more bitter aftertaste about broken dreams.

    Fortunately, no thanks to government and the system, my business has been able to grow, albeit little by little. Mostly, it has been due to hard work, persevarance and some goodwill from my buyers abroad.

    GMA has a lot of faults. But she is the monster created by the unbridled politics after EDSA. Warts and all, she is the bastard child that EDSA created. Ironically, GMA and Cory deserve each other. I never had any illusions about GMA, the same way I never did about Marcos. GMA has behaved exactly as I thought she would. But I did think, at one point in time, that Cory would have the depth of a Ninoy. That she could overcome her class and her background and be a leader. Cory has disappointed and let the country down on a level much more profound than GMA ever could.

  14. Carl

    Marcos deserves much more than such a cavalier dismissal, mlq. He has dominated the lives of Filipinos for the past 40 years, for better or worse. That’s much more than most mortals could hope for. Until today, Filipinos are still divided over Ferdinand Marcos’ legacy. I was a teenager when martial law was declared and I was a young man when EDSA happened. I was old enough to remember the glee at having the old political order overthrown in 1973. I was also young and idealistic enough to experience the euphoria of EDSA and to harbor the hopes that most of the nation had in 1986. I had fought and staked what little I had then for a better future. But, after a few years, I knew better. The new political order was no better, just hungrier. I had no illusions about Marcos, but I did have illusions about Cory Aquino. There is a much more bitter aftertaste about broken dreams.
    Fortunately, no thanks to government and the system, my business has been able to grow, albeit little by little. Mostly, it has been due to hard work, persevarance and some goodwill from my buyers abroad.
    GMA has a lot of faults. But she is the monster created by the unbridled politics after EDSA. Warts and all, she is the bastard child that EDSA created. Ironically, GMA and Cory deserve each other. I never had any illusions about GMA, the same way I never did about Marcos. GMA has behaved exactly as I thought she would. But I did think, at one point in time, that Cory would have the depth of a Ninoy. That she could overcome her class and her background and be a leader. Cory has disappointed and let the country down on a level much more profound than GMA ever could.

  15. joey

    talking about cory so much.I remember the parable about the talents in the gospel.
    the charcter who played it safe & did not do much of what God entrusted to him as against the other who made use of what God entrusted to him.
    they where both good people.
    but the one who used well what God gave him was the winner in God’s eyes.

  16. a de brux

    Carl,

    Marcos and Cory as leaders had serious flaws but personally, I don’t know if they could be any more flawed or ‘badder’ than Gloria.

    Marcos was as visionory as he was audacious but somewhere along the way, he lost his vision and his audacity allowing for his most serious flaw – his wife – to blur that vision and grit. When he failed to make her toe the line, he too stumbled.

    Cory, an educated person, brought hope to a country that thought it wanted to move on. Being a product of her indomitable, tradition-laden upbringing and class, she personified a woman who was raised to become a wife but limited to the confines of her husband’s home and immediate universe; a woman whose husband could behave towards her as if she was his chattel. Cory couldn’t completely comprehend that taking on the mantle of national leadership was above and beyond grief or personal feelings. She was a wife who had, by tradition, expected her husband to make the most difficult decisions in life for her but when he was gone, she fell back on time-warped traditions; she drew from the stregth of her religion first and then from the strength of the men in her family and circle of friends. In so doing, she fumbled and committed blunders. She didn’t know that a leader HAD TO STEER AND NOT BE STEERED. Her reaction was classic of the 18th century women of similar station.

    Erap, to me, was a by-product of Marcos and Cory’s flawed leaderships.

    Gloria, on the other hand, intelligent and educated as she is, has no vision, she only has personal ambitions. Ambitions nurtured by her political upbringing and training that dictated that ‘leadership’ was considered a prized trophy and not an at all a moral ideal. And to make things worse, she’s seconded by a husband who has no moral principles.

    They say, a nation deserves the leaders it elects. Still, that saying could be reversed, in other words, it’s time the nation, its PEOPLE took hold of its own destiny because I believe that the nation today, have the men and women of serious leadership caliber to choose a true leader from, one who could steer the course of the nation towards progress in the 21st century.

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