Category: economy

100 years of ferdinand marcos

BATAC CITY—Opening a forum here on the legacies of Marcos, whose 100th birthday on Sept. 11 had been declared by Malacañang as public holiday in Ilocos Norte province, Imee referred to her late father’s comment when they landed at the Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu after their ouster following the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution.

“We were all in tears and everyone said, ‘The end is nigh, it is finished, we are dead and doomed,’” Imee narrated.

“My father said, ‘No, children. To my family and to everyone, history is not done with me yet.”

… Imee said some people had described the Marcos 100 Forum as “very disappointing because it is very simple.” But the family organized a “humble celebration for an extremely austere and simple almost monkish man like my father,” she said.

She said: “There will be no parade, like what my mother [former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos] wants. No concert, like what [former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.] wants, and there will be no shows and dancing, like what I want.”

Instead, the family and the Ilocos Norte government organized debates, storytelling sessions, and a lecture series “that will define Marcos 100 in this very reflective effort, the Marcos legacy,” she said.

hard naman to fault the wife and children, family and friends, for celebrating the centennial of ferdinand marcos in as big a way as possible.  ferdinand marcos, after all, was, truly, unlike any other president we have had. 

The forum, hosted at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) Teatro Ilocandia from September 8-9, is an effort of the Marcos family to make this year’s commemoration of their patriarch’s birthday mirror his character: “very cerebral, reflective, and mindful.”

It contrasts previous celebrations of FEM’s birthday every September 11, which had involved parades, flash mobs, concerts, and other festivities. Governor Marcos explained, “Gawin natin ang gusto ng tanging ama ko: simple, diretsuhin, payak, intelektwal, at palaisipan.”

The North remembers,” she said, “Ferdinand E. Marcos is, after all, every Ilocano. The story of every Filipino is embedded in that biography of being born of an arid and harsh landscape, struggling through life and every adversity, and finally coming out triumphant.”

Gracing the forum as lecturers are De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor Antonio P. Contreras; Former Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) President Dr. Raul M. Sunico; UP Prof. Clarita R. Carlos; lawyer Estelito P. Mendoza, solicitor-general during the FEM presidency; Marcos’ former Budget and Education Secretary Dr. Jaime C. Laya; and the former president’s namesake, Former Senator Ferdinand “Bong Bong” R. Marcos Jr.

Discussions revolve around Marcos’ sense and narrative of nationalism; the “Golden Era” of arts and culture during his administration; his foreign policy; FEM’s martial law; the Philippine economy during that time; and the barangay in institution-building.

“Why is it that this debate, this argument about who President Marcos is, continues to burn, unabated, a hundred years after his birth? What is his legacy? What do we bear today that bears his mark and will have changed the Filipino people forever and made the Ilocanos what they are today?”

the non-ilocanos remember, too.  i look forward to transcripts or videos posted online.  it could be enlightening to read / hear what some of our public intellectuals are saying about the marcos dictatorship these days, 28 years after his death, 31 years after his ouster.  palaisipan naman talaga.

Ang problema kasi noon, ang dami-daming trabaho ng papa ko na lahat umaasa sa kanya. Sa bandang huli, noong nagkasakit, nagkaloko-loko na kasi. Either talagang nakikinabang, o nag-abuso, o hindi alam ang ginagawa yung mga nasa baba. Kasi everybody, for years and years, siya ang inaasahan (The problem then was that my father was loaded with work that everyone relied on him. Towards the end, when he was sick, things got crazy. People below him either gained, abused or didn’t know what they were doing because everyone relied on him for so long),” the governor pointed out.

it can’t be easy spinning marcos history, especially now that they’ve offered to return some of the wealth that imelda had always claimed to be rightfully all theirs. i wonder now if duterte wasn’t supposed to announce it until after the centennial fiesta, but he couldn’t wait, needed to distract us from all the killings?

marcos was right, history is not done with him yet.  or with imelda and kids.  heto nga’t magsosoli daw ng yaman na hindi daw nila sadyang natangay.  kaloka.

by the way, it is not the first time such an offer has been made.  back in ’89, said vp doy laurel, marcos’s dying wish was to come home and be buried beside his mother, and he was prepared to donate 90% of his wealth to the philippine government and the filipino people via some foundation, except that imelda was willing to donate only 75 to 80%, and anyway cory didn’t even want to hear of it.

so this is a take two.  90% sounds good to me, actually.  that is, 90% of ALL the wealth, found AND unfound.  time to come clean.  may the spirit of the “monkish” father so inspire.

and then maybe let’s put it all in a trust fund of sorts, waiting for a visionary kind of president who truly cares, and actually knows what to do, to make the economy, and the politics, work not just for the few rich but for the many, many, many more who are poor.

Will we be the West’s ‘tank man’ vs China?

Rigoberto D. Tiglao

I CERTAINLY hope we won’t, or President Duterte’s term will see an economic downturn, a year or so after what this overexcited Solicitor General Jose Calida called the country’s “crowning glory,” our victory in the UNCLOS case we filed against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. It’s a real possibility, though, that Calida’s crown of glory could be our crown of thorns.

Remember the “tank man” during the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989? He was the man carrying what looked like a small plastic grocery bag, who stepped in front of a column of People’s Liberation Army tanks, trying to stop them on the way to the square to crush the “democracy” demonstrators there who had been convinced that they were on the way to replicating our 1986 “People Power Revolution.”

The photo of the bold man in front of the tank column became an iconic image of the noble, heroic resistance not only of the youth against Chinese dictatorship, but of democracy movements all over the world. However, and sadly, the Chinese Communist Party didn’t follow the Marcos playbook, and instead very violently crushed the “democracy movement.” According to non-Chinese estimates, a thousand young protesters were killed and another thousand imprisoned, rotting in dingy prisons to this day.

The world of course was outraged, with the European Economic Community suspending even its official development loans, and the US stopping its military sales and high-level contacts with China. Pundits predicted China will be the world’s pariah, and investors will be shunning it.

What happened was the opposite. It was in 1991, when the memory of the Tiananmen massacre started to fade, that China’s economy started to zoom, at a phenomenal 9 percent GDP growth so that in the 10 years after Tiananmen, its average GDP growth was an amazing 10 percent (ours was a pathetic 3 percent). That was the start of China’s emergence as an economic superpower. American, European, and Japanese investors flocked to China, evading a country that had won its People Power Revolution—us.

What happened to the poor “tank man”? Actually, a soldier simply got out of his tank and shoved him aside, and the column rumbled on to the square. The foreign press, which had cheered him, got tired of him. Nobody even knows his name, or determined with certainty whether he was imprisoned, still in prison, or executed. He was most probably killed—maybe even with his family—as he would have come out publicly now to claim his right to be recognized as democracy’s hero. That’s the harsh reality of this unfair world.

Deja vu
It was Jose Santiago (“Chito”) Sta. Romana, who lived and worked in China for 30 years, with his last job as ABC Beijing Bureau Chief, who saw a deja vu between the global demand for China to comply with the PAC’s recent award on the South China Sea dispute and the international outrage against the country over the Tiananmen Square massacre. “China will not buckle under international pressure, as it didn’t in 1989,” he said in a television interview.

I agree with him, and despite our own legal experts’ certainty that the PAC conclusions are incontrovertible, China could raise a lot of arguments against these, foremost I think involves the issue on how arbitration—which is in the very name of the body—could involve a party that is not willing to be arbitrated.

The West, especially the US, has been ecstatic over the award, as its declaration that China’s “nine-dash line is nonsense, is a colossal propaganda weapon against the emerging superpower, especially against its activities in the region where the US or any European nation really has no business in being involved. Their message: “Trust us, not China which a world body has concluded is illegally expanding its territory in the South China Sea.”

How I wish the other richer claimants—like Taiwan, Brunei, and even Malaysia—had leaders like President Aquino, who could easily be led by the nose by the US, so they would have instead filed the case against China, instead of us.

Taiwan, after all, is already considered by China as  its illegal breakaway territory,  while tiny Brunei Darussalam and hi-tech Malaysia are rich nations, with their GDP per capita at $36,600 and $9,800, respectively, making us with our $2,900 GDP per capita look like paupers.

But no. It was this pauper that took on China, spending at least $30 million for its case at the PCA, and whose “netizens” are now calling for a trade boycott against the economic superpower. Boycott?

Right, but here are the realities in 2014, not 2000.

Accounting for just 5 percent of our imports in 2000, China (including Hong Kong) in 2014 accounts for 18 percent of our shipments from the world. Japan and the US’s shares, which in 2000 each accounted for 17 percent of our imports, are now down to 8 percent each.

And what’s the share (in 2014) of Chinese (including Hong Kong) imports from the Philippines? Some 1.1 percent. And the share of Chinese exports to the Philippines to its total exports? Some 0.94 percent.

If the meaning of those figures aren’t clear yet, let me put it this way. If some crazy Chinese Communist Party leader manages to get his government to just declare, let’s just forget about this troublesome Philippines, the Chinese economy won’t likely miss us, as its trade with us is just 1 percent of their total trade.

In our case, though, we’ll have a lot of empty shelves in our supermarkets, and certain industries will be starved of their raw materials as 18 percent of these come from China, including 99- percent likely the cell phone you use to post those anti-Chinese memes on Facebook.

Duterte has his work cut out from him, because his stupid predecessor decided to be America’s “tank man.” He should fire Calida with his public gloating over the award, as his statements would be interpreted as the official government position. Duterte should plan how to prevent the country from being the West’s “tank man.”

Philippines’ City of Illusions: Time for an Economic ‘EDSA Revolution’

Richard Javad Heydarian

Earlier this year, I was astonished by a commercial, which features no less than Leonardo Di Caprio, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, who playfully endorse a luxurious and lavish new casino and integrated resort in the Philippines, City of Dreams Manila. By all means, both the glossy commercial as well as the casino itself is impressive, if not obscenely ostentatious. One could witness the City of Dreams‘ captivating exterior after passing by a nearby competitor, the Solaire Resort and Casino, which stands as a worthy rival to the new kid in town.

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The economy grew—so what?

By Mahar Mangahas

A week ago (8/27/2014), Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan was pleased to report that economic growth had accelerated to 6.4 percent/year, adjusted for inflation, in the second quarter of 2014. He touted the Philippines as the second fastest growing economy among major Asian countries, with its growth rate equaling Malaysia’s and topping Indonesia’s 5.1 percent and Thailand’s 0.3 percent.

Some technicalities. How well does economic growth signify betterment of the people’s economic wellbeing? The cited number of 6.4 is specifically the growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is the aggregate of production and also of income—since value-added in production is also value-earned as income—within Philippine domestic territory, including that of foreign entities based in it.

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