Two incidents developed this past week that drove me up the wall. They had me muttering out loud:
- "GIVE ME A BREAK!"
- "My God, is there no hope for this place?"
- "Is there no pride in excellence around here?"
I've taken two days to calm down . . . sorta . . .
I root for the Philippines, you know. To leave the pits of incompetence and poverty and cheating behind and rise as a healthy, wealthier, wholesome place to invest and live.
Mr. Aquino as far as I can tell has done five things in 2 1/2 years in office.
- He got elected, raising the hopes of millions.
- He jailed Ms. Arroyo and evicted Mr. Corona from the judicial throne, two huge exclamation points regarding his anti-corruption agenda.
- He articulated a firm foreign policy, rational toward both China and the US.
- He firmed up financial disciplines in expenditures and revenues.
- He got a good tourism minister and embarked on a promising tourism campaign.
He has notably not made progress hunting down and jailing murderers of journalists or getting the HR Bill passed or fixing education (going to twelve years places more stress on buildings and teachers, already past the breaking point) or getting rid of the nation's feudal value infrastructure that allows cheating, broad-scale corruption, pollution, avoidance of personal responsibility and other vices to persist.
It would appear that Mr. Aquino is more of a puppet than I had imagined. A puppet to bad Filipino values. A man of the old culture, as evidenced by his getting his personal political nose into the House and Senate's impeachment business like a male dog searching for sex in a doggie harem. Overly sensitive. Macho posturing. Interfering with due process.
Now we have two more unhealthy practices, culturally engrained, front and center:
Chief Justice Nominees
I read about some of the potential nominees for the Chief Justice position and I am absolutely dismayed. The prominent criterion seems to be "close to President Aquino". This is the same old horseshit that Ms. Arroyo did with Mr. Corona. He was not picked for his legal credentials and OBJECTIVITY, but for his commitment to being non-objective and friendly to the Arroyo agenda.
One observation I have repeated over and over for the four years I've been participating in Filipino blogs is that the trade of favors is horrendously damaging to Philippine progress. I get no traction. Not with readers, not with any body. Yet it is so simple.
Being a friend has nothing to do with competence or getting things done well. It simply mucks up the system, as did Mr. Corona.
- Management 101, Principle Number 1: Have the courage and wisdom to hire people who are more competent than you are.
Corruption is on President Aquino's front burner. That's good. That was the President's campaign promise. But let me positively scream this:
- THE FOCUS ON FAVORS RATHER THAN COMPETENCE IS MORE DAMAGING THAN CORRUPTION.
- How can you create jobs and wealth when you hire duds?
- How can you inspire competent people to stay in the Philippines if you are always hiring someone's uncle to be his boss?
You positively undermine value creation. Wealth creation. The dynamic drive for innovation and productivity. The only fire you light is under the BRAIN DRAIN!
Mr. Aquino appears to be engaged in a gross failure in values when he fails to comprehend the key judicial criteria for competence for a Chief Justice: apolitical, objective, grounded expertly in the law.
De Lima? The woman who heavy handedly botched the Arroyo case? Who herself interfered in the Corona case by blurting to the press "He is a walking constitutional violation!" ?
THAT judicial bearing? THAT removed objectivity?
THAT is her qualification? She stuck up for the President? Now she is in line to receive her return favor?
Who nominated her? Or Henares, another member of the President's cabinet. These two ought to be excluded specifically for the stain of likely bias. The PERCEPTION that they are biased, in a judicial chair, becomes a REALITY when they vote the "wrong way". They inevitably lose trust. A judge MUST be trustworthy for his decisions to be received constructively.
I hope the JBC tightens up and sends forward the nominations that would be best for the Judiciary, not for President Aquino.
Haranguing the Rating Agencies
The Philippines sent its financial people to the U.S. to visit the rating agencies (Standard & Poor's and Moody's) to try to wheedle and whine investment grade ratings from them.
"You need to modify your criteria" was basically the Philippine's position. "When countries such as Spain, which is facing bankruptcy, are higher than the Philippines, something is wrong."
The rating agencies' response was on the order of, "when you have per capita income of about $1,300 per year, you don't have the foundation of stability that is needed for a stronger rating; when revenue sources are unreliable and leak like a sieve, you don't have the stability you need."
That's the point, isn't it?
The Philippines ought not to condemn the rating agencies, or wheedle and beg on the international stage, but ought to understand the rationale for a strong rating. Upon understanding the rationale, come home and implement programs that would strengthen its financial practices.
- LIKE PASS THE HR BILL TO STOP THE RELENTLESS OVERBIRTHING THAT KEEPS THE PER CAPITA INCOME SO FRICKIN' LOW!!!
- LIKE PLUG THE CHEATING AND BAD PRACTICES THAT SUCK TAXES AWAY.
- LIKE GET RID OF BANK SECRECY LAWS THAT PROTECT CROOKS AND SCOUNDRELS.
By applying the best of the worst in Philippine values, these financial yokels go whining and try to humiliate the rating agencies. They make excuses and play the victim.
I get embarrassed every time a top Filipino ambassador does this kind of thing. It is the same low-class mentality that claimed Jessica Sanchez was robbed because the U.S. is racist.
No, the show's audience liked the other singer better.
How can a people who place such a value on MACHO be such whiners? How is it they cannot grasp a sense of strong personal responsibility, and attach THAT to being manly. Or womanly.
These are PROFESSIONALS!! AMBASSADORS. TOP LEADERS. EDUCATED PEOPLE!
I need a smoke.
And I don't smoke.
I need a drink.
And I don't drink (much).