Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Magandang umaga! Good morning!
The whole Philippine nation is glued today on the event that will see the installation of the new president of the republic, the Hon. Benigno Aquino III or ‘Noynoy’. Whatever this day forebodes let us relegate to active file for the meantime, as my fellow Filipinos bask in the optimistic air created by the election of a new presidency via the first automated elections in the Philippines and the ASEAN.
The problems of the country are gargantuan, with governance problems of graft on top of the list. Tax revenues are falling short of targets, a ballooning budget deficit is threatening another round of fiscal crisis, poverty incidence is at least 1/3 of households, education is in crisis as it remains badly under-funded, grains self-sufficiency goals are a mess, and direct foreign investments or FDIs are negligible (1% of GNP).
Noynoy inherited from the outgoing presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo both boons and banes. The above-stated situations are the primary banes. The boons are the graduation of RP’s economy from poor to middle income, the consistent positive growth befitting an emerging market, the reversal of a fiscal crisis, and the doubling of the economy since 2001.
Furthermore, the economy today has a balance of payments surplus, healthy current account situation, an annual foreign remittance level that breached the $17 Billions mark, while both exports and imports have moved upwards after the 2009 slack. Our Gross International Reserves or GIR stands at past the $45 Billion, enough to buy us worth nine (9) months of imports, beaconing that the old ailment of lack of foreign currencies (US dollar most specially) is now way behind us.
Thus, with the momentum of growth and big projects sustained at pace, the ‘high growth’ stage of our economy can end soon as we graduate to development ‘maturity’ before 2016. That done, we can move on to an ‘overdeveloped’ economy, the last phase of development, before 2025. Expectedly, Luzon will lead in that effort, followed by Visayas and Mindanao respectively.
Roughly, RP’s Gross National Product or GNP will hit $200 Billion by end of this year 2010. The figure uses the nominal value of the peso to the dollar. If we use the more accepted Purchasing Power Parity or PPP method, with multiplier of 4 to get us to our GNP-PPP, the country’s GNP is forecast at roughly $800 Billion (using UNDP index calculations).
Such a GNP figure renders the Philippines wealthier than many European countries for that matter. Even the Dutch, who were once the wealthiest people in Europe, would bow in reverence to us Filipinos for our Herculean efforts expended to get to where we are. Wait till RP gets to ‘overdeveloped’ stage yet when the GNP will hit beyond the $2.5 Trillion mark (PPP), which is now a visible possibility, thus effectively transforming the country into a creditor nation lending funds to cash-starved Western and developing countries.
Banes notwithstanding, the Filipinos had so much gains accrued across many decades of post-war survival. From geophysical to political turbulence the Pinoys experienced in grueling fashion of constant bombardments, yet the nation withstood them all as it now stands tall and confident in the community of nations.
RP has been transformed into a global nation, while its capital region Manila has mutated to a gigantic mega-city that is a constitutive part new global nexus of 35 top megacities in the world. Dr. Jose Rizal, the first Filipino and first global citizen of the humble nation, now possesses the reasons to feel happy over what has become of that nation that he died for (executed by the Spanish regime in 1898).
Now that Noynoy has the presidency in his shoulders, and a liberal-oligarchic alliance has been installed to power, what’s in store for the country? We’ve had decades of liberal reforms before us, with policy impositions from the IMF-World Bank and global oligarchy, so will the Noynoy regime recycle the same austerity measures and policies that led to greater mass poverty and the Filipino diaspora?
Will Noynoy become an Akbar whose reign saw efficiency and good governance that led to the re-emergence of a country from the shambles of fragmentation and neglect to prosperity and fame? Or will he be a Nero of Manila who fiddles in the presidential palace as he watches his polity & economy burn upon his own behest?
Where goes RP’s our gains after Noynoy’s six (6) years of incumbency? At the end of his mandate in 2016, will the Filipinos still sing “should I stay or should I go”?
[Philippines, 30 June 2012]
[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,