By Aya Fabros, CYBERDYARYO, November 16, 2000
WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: Some of us think and believe that our inherited economic and political systems need radical changes if we were to see them work for the common good. Thus, to concentrate and/or to place blame on individual personalities of the power elite as the only causes of our predicament would not be completely addressing the fundamental issues.
But then, we sometimes have to discuss a specific regime if only to highlight or demonstrate the kinds of governance that have facilitated the social, economic and political regressions in our homeland. And there are many in our national history and current crop of public officials who, with their decisions and actions, were and are in effect traitors to the native Filipino people of the past, present and future generations.
From Diosdado Macapagal to Ferdinand Marcos, Cory Aquino to Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, them all while with political power duped the citizenry and prepared the homeland for: its plunder by themselves with help from cronies and relatives, the preservation and expansion of their economic power, the demise of our productive sectors and further exploitation of our national patrimony by their resident alien friends and transnationals.
By following the path towards absolute free trade (aka economic liberalism, economic globalization or neocolonialism) for much of the 60 years continuing past, it may be said that we Filipinos really deserve our endless and deepening national miseries because we have never wanted to recognize that we made and are still making a mistake; and/or that we have an irrational fear of not following economic liberalization, as dictated by the IMF/WB/ADB, enforced via WTO rules -designed by the G7 for poor countries to follow (but not necessarily followed by the same G7/rich nations). With economic liberalism came the powerful but subtle cultural globalization to bolster our already damaged culture.
As long as we have Americanized minds in the leadership of our government and social institutions; and among the educated citizenry, we will always have similar minded people in power positions whose honest and primary concerns do not coincide with our homeland's national interests, that is, not of the native Filipino people. Such leadership will continue rationalizing and perpetuating the dictates of their foreign masters at our peoples' expense.
Sadly, we Filipinos have no patience nor desire to think, to revisit and learn from the past, telling ourselves to forget our history, always itching to "move on" but carrying along our cultural baggages filled with colonial mentality and dependence.
Consequently, we end up continually reinventing the wheel, wasting effort/time, i.e. windows of opportunities for domestic economic development (of comparative advantages that have melted and disappeared); and repeatedly stumble on the same disastrous and compounded errors of the past. Thanks to our unFilipino leaderships and to our ignorance and denial of history.
The below Cyberdyaryo article, now a bit dated but very relevant to today's news, shows us the traitorous attitude and outlook, deceitful ways and lip service of the present regime. The commentaries and predictions of Alejandro Lichauco, Jr. and Renato Constantino are being proven correct.
What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler
"If the people are not completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own." - George Washington, shortly after the end of the American Revolution
"The selfish spirit of commerce knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain" - Thomas Jefferson, 1809
"You show me a capitalist, I'll show you a bloodsucker" - Malcolm X, 1965
""Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society" - Ayn Rand, 1961
"The chief business of America is business" - President Calvin Coolidge, 1925
"The glory of the United States is business" - Wendell L. Willkie, 1936
"What else do bankers do -- walk-in and turn-off the lights in the country." - William Slee, 1978
What will another Macapagal presidency be like?
By Aya Fabros, CYBERDYARYO, November 16, 2000
.....It is not yet clear what she stands for as a politician and as a leader. What is certain so far is that she overwhelmingly won the two electoral races she has taken part in--for senator and for vice president--some say, largely on the basis of her family name. (Partly for looking somewhat like Nora Aunor, others would add.)
.....She is, after all, a daughter of the late former President Diosdado Macapagal. On more than one occasion, when asked what kind of president she would make, she would invariably say with obvious pride: "[You] can look at my father. I am my father's daughter in almost every sense, personally and politically."
.....Nationalist economist Alejandro Lichauco Jr. agrees that, indeed, Gloria has taken after her father, but he says this in an entirely different context that is not likely to elate the Vice President.
....."You must understand history for you to know Gloria Macapagal," Lichauco told PNI in an interview on Monday, November13.
.....He noted "too many strong parallelisms" between experiences of previous administrations, including the Macapagal administration of the early 1960s, and the current national crisis. "It's a historical continuum, everything is connected," he said.
....."Before her father, we had a very nationalistic economic policy, implemented by currency and import controls. That was imposed for about ten years. We became the number one economy in Asia because of that," he said.
.....What happened during the Macapagal administration?
....."We were not number one during her father's time," Lichauco said. "That's when we started going down. But since we were way up, it took a while for our fall to take effect."
Major issues in 1961Diosdado Macapagal, then the vice president, ran against reelectionist President Carlos P. Garcia in 1961 on the issue of widespread corruption and loss of confidence in the government. While currency and import controls enforced by previous administrations reflected a nationalist policy, these had created opportunities for graft and corruption in high and low places, with government officials using their positions to sell import licenses.
.....Left at the sidelines during Garcia's and the Nacionalista reign, Macapagal of the Liberal Party toured the countryside "denouncing the Garcia administration as wasteful and riddled with graft and corruption," Teodoro Agoncillo wrote in the History of the Filipino People.
.....By Agoncillo's reckoning, the nationalist stance of President Garcia and his "Filipino First Policy" failed to meet the expectations of the Filipino electorate. "In desperation, the people voted Macapagal into office. He immediately set the machinery of the government in motion to implement his socio-economic integrated program by doing away with the economic controls and, significantly for the agrarian economy, by pushing through Congress the Land Reform Code."
.....In his first State of the Nation address on Jan. 22, 1962, Macapagal outlined before Congress the objectives of his socioeconomic program: 1) immediate restoration of economic stability; 2) alleviation of the common man's plight; and 3) the establishment of a "dynamic basis for future growth."
.....Five goals were set:
Reduction of unemployment.
Self-sufficiency in two staples, namely, rice and corn.
Creation of conditions that will provide more income to the people'income for those who have none and more income for those whose earnings are inadequate for their basic needs.
Establishment of practices that will strengthen the moral fiber of the nation and reintroduce those values that invigorate democracy.
Launching of a bold and well-formulated socioeconomic program that shall place the country on the road to prosperity.
From "Filipino First" to free enterprise
.....The people's disillusionment and their cry for change made it easy for Macapagal, who gained American support during the elections, to switch to a "free enterprise" policy of decontrol and devaluation from Garcia's "Filipino First Policy"
....."On January 21, 1962, President Macapagal, proclaiming his faith in the virtues of free enterprise, lifted exchange controls," wrote Renato Constantino in The Continuing Past.
.....Macapagal explained in his State of the Nation address: "The urgency of the problems of the present definitely calls for drastic changes in our monetary, fiscal and exchange policies". We have taken the measure of genuine decontrol for the well-being of our people."
.....Licenses were no longer required for imports, the only condition being that imports must be covered by letters of credit, accompanied by special time deposits.
IMF-World Bank imprimatur
.....The new President said his decision had the prior approval of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He also proudly announced that the US government and private banking institutions had committed $304 million as a stabilization fund to support his decontrol program.
....."Macapagal's decontrol program set off a process which successively depressed the living standards of the ordinary citizen, wiped out many infant industries owned by Filipinos and with them the hope that Filipinos would eventually dominate their own economy," Constantino wrote.
.....He also said "the Central bank floated the peso in the free market until the rate reached P3.90 to a dollar."
Blow to Filipino enterprises
.....Decontrol put an end to the protection of Filipino enterprises. "As soon as exchange controls were lifted, American corporations remitted out of the country around $300 million representing profits they had accumulated and which they had not been able to repatriate under exchange controls," Lichauco wrote in his book Nationalist Economics.
.....After remitting their profits in dollars, foreign companies borrowed pesos from local financial institutions to finance their operations, thus depriving Filipino businessmen of already scarce credit resources. This scarcity was made worse by the IMF demand that the government impose a restrictive credit policy.
.....Profit remittances and virtually unrestricted imports seriously depleted international reserves, creating further dependence on the US and on the international financing agencies. "The Philippines was trapped in a vicious cycle in which low reserves made the government seek so-called "stabilization loans" from US-dominated international banks and lending institutions which in turn enforced conditions that further depleted these reserves," Constantino said.
.....In theory, devaluation inhibits expensive imports and encourages exports with a promise of larger profits; hence, the argument that devaluation hastens national growth. In practice, however, Constantino said, "devaluation, given the historical circumstances obtaining in the country, becomes only another weapon for greater control of the national economy by foreign business interests."
....."One of the clearest examples of how devaluation worked against Filipino industries and in favor of foreign-owned enterprises was the case of Filoil Corporation, set up in 1959 by Filipino entrepreneurs to break the hold of international oil companies on oil refining and marketing," Constantino said.
....."To ensure a supply of crude oil imports and technical aid, a minority share allowance was given to the US Gulf Oil Company. But decontrol and a tight government credit policy plus the competitive efforts of international oil companies to get a larger share of the market finally drove Filoil to bankruptcy in 1964. It was taken over by Gulf Oil."
.....Constantino said the Macapagal administration sought to foster "the appearance of greater independence" while at the same time "inaugurating a new stage of dependence" by acceding to US wishes for decontrol and evaluation.
....."President Macapagal reinforced this illusion of Philippine sovereignty by moving the celebration of Philippine independence from July 4 to June 12," he said.
.....Unfortunately, Macapagal did not go beyond his "independence" rhetoric. According to Constantino, Macapagal's "foreign policy remained basically pro-American while his domestic economic policy faithfully followed the program outline by the IMF and the World Bank."
....."The Macapagal years were actually both the culmination of the postwar cycle of neocolonial policies and the beginning of a new cycle of neocolonial practices with deep and far-reaching effects on the life of the nation," Constantino wrote.
.....Aside from opening up the country to free enterprise, President Macapagal launched a land reform program to remedy the desperate situation in the countryside.
.....The Land Reform Code (Republic Act 3944) was considered an improvement on previous land legislation. It sought to establish an agricultural leasehold system to abolish share tenancy. But the code was riddled with legal loopholes favorable to landlords.
.....Despite his efforts, "Macapagal's administration failed to arrest the spiraling of prices, smuggling, criminality and graft and corruption," Agoncillo said. "He was now in the situation of former President Garcia whom he defeated in 1961."
....."The continued rise in the prices of consumer goods, the seemingly insoluble problem of peace and order, the rampant graft and corruption, and the continued smuggling of dutiable goods, led the people, particularly the common man, to believe that the Macapagal administration was inept."
....."Senate President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who had in the meantime affiliated with the Nacionalista Party and had been nominated by this party as its presidential candidate, raised practically the same issues Macapagal raised against Garcia. Marcos like Macapagal was elected by the people in a surge of new hope that he could change the social and economic scene for the better," wrote Agoncillo.
.....This must be the "historical continuum," of everything being "connected," that Lichauco talked about.
....."By 1965, three years after Macapagal was elected, we were in a political crisis, very similar to today's," Lichauco said. "From 1950 to 1962, we were posting a growth rate annually of 6-7 percent. During the time of Macapagal, our growth rate plunged to about 4.5 percent. That is why a crisis arose then. In the elections of 1965 he was beaten by Marcos."
.....The similarities between the agenda of then-President Macapagal and his daughter are striking, going by the four-point agenda that Vice President Arroyo outlined in an interview with the Sunday Inquirer Magazine (November 5, 2000 issue).
.....Asked about her main concerns, the Vice President said: "Poverty, globalization: the need to be able to compete and also to provide safety nets, backwardness and inequity in our agricultural sector in our rural areas, deteriorating moral standards in government and in society, the politics of personality and patronage rather than programs and consultation with the people."
....."Addressing these precisely is what my own four-point agenda is made up of," she said. "The first one, with regard to poverty"? it's all related. When we talk about the 21st century, for the businessman to compete in the 21st century, he needs transparency and a level playing field. Because that's the way he can compete in the global world. But also, we have the potential of information technology and we should maximize that through the development of the needed physical infrastructure, the legislative, and policy environment and also human resource development.
....."Second, with regard to the problem of poverty that we have inherited from the past, here the tools are not so much computers and capital markets; the tools are safety nets for those affected by globalization, asset reform, concern for the environment.
....."The third one is modernization and equity in the agricultural sector.
....."The fourth one is to improve moral standards in government and in society through transparency in all transactions in all levels of government and the leadership by example. The other one is promoting an ethic of effective implementation in the bureaucracy."
.....Like her father, Vice President Arroyo favors economic liberalization. As senator, she co-authored 55 economic laws, including those in support of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization, which many sectors have opposed.
....."Free enterprise, they're doing it again. This free trade that brought us down," Lichauco said, referring to past and present government leaders.
....."And this time, it is not only we who are protesting (against free trade). The whole world [is]. In Seattle, in Prague. The problem with these people is that the facts are staring them in the face and they won't acknowledge it. They will never admit they made a mistake. And it is the people who suffer," he pointed out.
.....Lichauco called for no less than a sweeping change in governance. "If it were up to me, they both should go," he said, referring to both President Estrada and Vice President Arroyo. "They all have to go. Take out all the traditional politicians from the government, and let the people's organizations, the farmers, the students, etc. decide."
.....As for Vice President Arroyo being her father's daughter, Lichauco said: "If she will just repeat what her father did, then she [had] better not [aspire for the presidency]."
.....He urged Filipinos to learn from the country's past. "History repeats itself for people who never learn their lessons," he warned.
—Pan-Philippine News and Information Network
“The HISTORY of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed myth of its conquerors.” - Meridel Le Sueur, American writer, 1900-1996
Neocolonialism - The dominance of strong nations over weak nations, not by direct political control (as in traditional colonialism), but by economic and cultural influence.
"In order to read the destiny of a people, it is necessary to open the book of its past" - Dr. Jose P. Rizal
"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)
“The true Filipino is a decolonized Filipino.” – Renato Constantino