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Opinion | National

OPINION | How did PH economy grow despite messy political situation?

The economy continues to grow under President Benigno Aquino III despite the messy political situation in the country. MALACANANG PHOTO

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

(Editor’s note: Amado “Bong” Mendoza is a faculty member of the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines (Diliman) and is primarily interested in Philippine politics and political economy. He used to write for Business Day covering the finance beat and the online edition of Inquirer. He has agreed to write for InterAksyon.com.)

There seems to be a firewall between the Philippine economy and the political sphere such that the economy can still grow (GNP- and GDP-wise) even if the political situation is messy.

This may mean two things: There is a learning process in earnest and that previous key economic reforms have borne fruit.

Despite the current non-achieving and blame-duck presidency, despite the thieving GMA and Erap administrations, our economy has grown nonetheless. Of course, OFW remittances played a great role in this spurt.

Nonetheless, pace Lord John Maynard Keynes, so-called “animal spirits” also got into play.

Perceptions become material force. The impression that this non-achieving administration is seriously fighting corruption (Exhibits A: SC Court Justice Renato Corona, hospital-arrested PGMA, Tanda, Sexy, and Pogi) had induced vigorous bourse activity. After all, portfolio managers will not shun any profit possibility.

Note too that this Tuwid administration is trigger-happy to clear its own ilk (starting with DILG USec R Puno to ExecSec Ochoa to SecDILG and Liberal Party SecGen Joseph Abaya, SecDA Alcala, SecDoE Petilla, and last but not least, SecDBM Butch Abad) of all hints of corruption.

Perhaps this President and his rah-rah boys (Coloma, Lacierda, and Valte) must be reminded of the separation of powers; that the executive is not the judiciary.

Credit must be given to where credit is due. The Ramos-Almonte duo locked the country into difficult and relatively-unpopular economic reforms (at a conjunctural moment) in the 1992-1998span. Key reforms were the WTO treaty accession and related trade reforms. Another is the decontamination of the new Bangko Sentral from the toxic Central Bank of the Philippines.

The GMA and Pnoy administrations should acknowledge their debts to the Ramos reforms.

Of course, no presidential administration is not without its own achievements, weakness, shortcomings, lapses, etc. Every administration after Ferdinand Marcos is hobbled not only with human weakness, foibles, and imperfections but also by the constitutionally mandated single term.

For this reason, almost all post-Marcos administrations, save for the Ramos presidency, simply had short-term, rather than strategic, planning horizons.

Legitimacy problems prevented PGMA from making full use of an unprecedented extended term (2001-2010).

I will not say much about the short-lived Erap presidency except to assert that Erap is obviously in his element as LGU chief executive.

The current presidency has yet to step down on June 30, 2016 and it’s too early to come up with a definitive judgment of its true worth. My own words about it now and in the past are at best mere impressions, or, simply my educated personal opinion.

I promise to continue studying this administration in a comparative perspective not only with previous Philippine presidencies (Ferdinand Marcos’ included) but with those of our neighbors in Southeast Asia and East Asia (China especially).

Beyond analysis, I will also essay or propose reforms for our political economy. In this regard, the interests of our people and nation will be held paramount, superior to any political administration, party, group, personality, and vested interest.

These praxiological pieces will find their way into my several outlets (FB, Tweeter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Skype, Mixx, StumbleUpon, my WordPress blogs, speaking engagements, and academic interventions, among others).

I will want to hear from you in every which way and you can reach me through ammendozajr@gmail.com.

 

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