Saturday, July 9, 2011

When a Dull President is What the Doctor Ordered

I recall having an argument with the main writers at Anti-Pinoy right after President Aquino won the election. The day after the election, the Philippine Peso strengthened markedly against the US dollar, more than the global trend of a weakening dollar would suggest it should. To me, there is nothing more factual than markets speaking , but the Anti-Pinoy people refused to accept this as a "fact" worth respecting.

They claim the President of their country is lackluster and lazy. Dull. They pound him at every opportunity, for every reason, big or small.

Methinks they cannot smell the roses for lack of a sense of what flowers contribute to the landscape of bees and honey.

The World Bank has just commented on the Philippine economic circumstance and cited an increase in money flowing to Philippine reserves. Here is what World Bank said in its latest quarterly update on the Philippines:

“The Philippines may already have moved to a new ‘normal,’ one with more robust and less variable growth. Such a growth pattern contrasts with the pre-Global Recession perception of the Philippines as a ‘high beta’ country with a weak fiscal position, and with recurrent political crises exposing the country to shocks and volatility."

A high beta country has a great deal of volatility because its finances are being yanked around. It certainly appears that under the less dull President Arroyo, money was being yanked around. The latest PCSO scandal suggests she was using that organization as her private piggy bank to award fancy cars to priests who supported her and to other mysterious "security" uses. It is one of several major financial scandals during her term, from ZTE to fertilizer to paper bags of money given to congressmen. None of these is a "country-breaker", but it did undermine trust. Because few trusted President Arroyo, few trusted how she managed the county's finances.

"Recurrent financial crises" are, I suppose, not dull, and more to the liking of the AP collective. More to write about, I suppose.

Today the peso strengthened to 42.88 pesos per US dollar.

Before President Aquino was elected, it ranged between 48.98 and 47.42.

Rating agencies have upgraded Philippine debt. They do not do this absent a change in fundamentals.

I might note, one of the four "c's of lending is "character", and the "character" of this government is vastly improved over its predecessors.

You can bet the Anti-Pinoy gurus will be able to make up an Anti-Aquino reason as to why the numbers don't mean anything. But, undeniably, something meaningful is happening.

And the World Bank knows what: (1) Stability, and (2) an intense anti-corruption drive. A botched bus massacre or the hours the President works or the troubles he has getting his communication team organized or who he dates have little bearing on what makes investors choose where to invest. Stability has bearing. Trust has bearing.

I write this knowing I am poorer today because the Philippines is richer. Much of my savings is lodged in US dollars. I could certainly root against President Aquino or try to undermine his success. It is to my advantage to have an unstable "high-beta" Philippines.

But I want him to succeed, frankly. A stable government is one that can begin to solve the many problems facing Filipinos. I said shortly after he was elected that I feel more secure in the Philippines today than under President Arroyo. That was just a personal sense that the new government was not interested in revenge or intimidation, but in stability and an end to the corruption that has plagued the government for years. Dull it may be; thuggish, it refreshingly is not.

I have never been able to grasp exactly why the writers in the Anti-Pinoy crowd want him to fail. Or why they make such a loud noise as if it is pre-ordained that he WILL fail. The only reason seems to be that they are following the time-worn Filipino tradition of rationalizing the facts to save their own Ego-bound faces. They are what they criticize.

President Aquino isn't failing, for investors. No matter how many shades of off-color those with an agenda throw against the dull progress being made, the Philippines is moving in the right direction. Only those with an axe to grind would claim otherwise.

Dull, stable and trustworthy is positive. Investors prove it with their money, not their lip.


  1. Thank you for this post Joe. Though there is very little facts stated regarding the strengthening of Philippine economy under Aquino's admin, I believe it does move in the right direction now. I am also one of the many Aquino skeptics because I wasn't rooting for him as my Pres before (Avid Gordon supporter here!) but what he has done for the country at least for the first year of his term is satisfactory and far more reliable and honest than the previous admin. And I guess, for now, I will have to be satisfied with that.. ^__^

  2. I have said it once and I will say it again.

    Noynoy will turn out to be one of the best (if not the best) president we will ever have.

    But the mere fact that the anti-pinoys (Benign0, Bing, Ilda, and Benk) refuse to even acknowledge the FACTS such as the the economic numbers you have already mentioned above, shows the intellectual bankruptcy of these so called "intellectuals" which they are not.

    They have never been open minded and will never give an inch of praise or admission to anything that Noynoy accomplishes. History will show the anti-pinoys to be blind fools.

  3. economic indicators during the aquino re-administration? i'll give you some.
    *increasing inflation rate
    *increasing incidence of self-rated poverty
    *increasing numbers of self-rated hunger
    now, don't tell me that you'll blame the previous administration for that. if you put on the previous administrations "mishaps", then how about the "credit stealing" of this current re-administration?

  4. the effects of the so called "World Banks" claim are from the fuits and labor of the previous admin.. pls. check it correctly! the time frame of which the GDP started to increase...

  5. The Pro-Pinoys have exposed the Anti-Pinoys as paid hacks of the Villar campaign to ruin Noynoy's name. One of their most prominent members, Benign0, works for a multinational bank that has ties to the IMF/World Bank. Also, BenK is allegedly to have studied informational warfare in a prestigious university. He is perhaps an intelligence asset? And finally, the heckler known as Conyo is rumored to be an international financier for the elite.

  6. Anons, mOmmy

    Yes, I believe some of President Aquino's economic success carries forward from President Arroyo's term, and some is from "non-activity", simply refraining from spending because he doesn't wish to dole out "pork" or support expensive projects of questionable value. My point is that the reason he was elected . . . trustworthiness . . . has a REAL positive impact on investors willingness to put their money into the Philippines. Dull is stable cast against the mistrust that has been rampant for years, a bastard child of corruption. I think had Villar or Estrada been elected, we would not have seen the same favorable result. Gordon, maybe the same positive.

    The facts are adding up, stronger peso, higher ratings from rating agencies, better reserve standing. I fully expect the Philippines to move up on Transparency International's annual corruption ranking. These positive benchmarks ought not to be denied out of envy or whatever drives certain Filipinos to relentlessly seek to undermine their President . Trustworthiness is an incredibly important value, and President Aquino at least deserves acknowledgement for what he brings to the Philippines.

    I worry when I see the whole economic world recognizing this, but many Filipinos remain closed to the idea. Where there ought to be pride, there is none. It seems to me to reflect an Ego-bound NEED to justify one's prior stance, no matter the current facts or outcome. Too many people, I fear, are absolutely unwilling to let the idea in . . . that President Aquino just might be exactly what the Philippines needs: a step toward stability and respect .

  7. Anon, "The Pro-Pinoys have exposed the Anti-Pinoys as paid hacks of the Villar campaign . . ."

    I view that ulterior motive with suspicion, although I admit that BongV has an agenda I don't really comprehend. I respect BenK and Benigno for the ideas they express, and don't know or care about their personal backgrounds. I agree with them about 80% of the time, and disagree 20%. They have never "disrespected" me for disagreeing with them, and they have enlightened me quite regularly. However, when I contributed at AP, the thugs had the run of the place and it was difficult to simply express a viewpoint without being insulted.

    On the other hand, my comments on Pro-Pinoy for some reason never get posted. So I dropped off that site, too. My daily engagement is mainly with Benigno's "Get Real Post". Ilda, who writes there, still has to recover some credibility with me, as she was one of the thugs at AP. Still, she writes a lot of thoughtful commentary at "Get Real Post", so I've set that aside.

  8. Joe,

    BongV's family serves a political dynasty in Mindanao that I rather not name but it is quite obvious. His loyalties and motivations are very tribal despite claiming to be a progressive anti-pinoy.

    Ilda, interestingly, is not a she but rather a he pretending to be a she. So to all her readers fantasizing about romancing her in some form or fashion, forget about it! Unless, of course, you are into swordplay.

    I cannot speak for Cocoy on why your posts don't go through in Pro-Pinoy but I am sure he has a very good reason. Cocoy's integrity is such that all the anti-pinoys put together cannot match it.

  9. Anon,

    Ah, that falls into line. I had wondered why Ilda was not more sensitive to women's issues.

    I'm developing an understanding of "tribal" as a sequence of vested interests going from Ego to Family to Clan/tribe to Region to Nation. The Nation seems to get the short end of most sticks hereabouts, and thus, lags behind those countries acting as unified wholes.

    I agree that Cocoy has a great deal of integrity.

  10. @Anonymous

    *****Ilda, interestingly, is not a she but rather a he pretending to be a she. So to all her readers fantasizing about romancing her in some form or fashion, forget about it! Unless, of course, you are into swordplay.****

    Quite an interesting story you have there. Is that why you prefer to be anonymous? Sorry, but only fools believe that kind of lie.


  11. I have to say, after a year of mediocrity, PNoy's apologists are still spreading this "PNoy's critics are paid hackers" lie. I thought that went out of fashion after FV went down the drain. You guys have to do better than that guys.

  12. It's funny but I have a feeling that Cocoy sent a messenger to badmouth writers who are critical of President Noynoy Aquino. I wonder if his/her real name starts with the letter "L"? 

    That is so pathetic. How is Pro-Pinoy doing by the way? I can't even comment there because the owner keeps deleting it. He is too scared of criticisms on his blogsite.

    Hey anonymous! What is your proof that they are hackers? Why are you spreading lies about Ilda? Has she done anything to you? I think you are an idiot. 

    Stop with the lies, man. Just because you voted for a loser it does not mean you can start destroying other people's reputation.

    Get a life!

  13. "*****Ilda, interestingly, is not a she but rather a he pretending to be a she."
    First of all, how do you know and what does one's gender have to do with this? Do you have 1st hand knowledge or do you have nothing better to do then spread malicious rumors and gossip?


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