The following is taken from the Get Real Philippines Facebook community. It is a comment to this post:
My two cents for what it is worth…apologies for the long post, but I have learned this following over 30 years of visiting the Philippines, marrying a Philippine national, and almost 4 years of trying to create a successful business in the Philippines; including bringing into the country manufacturing, improvements to housing and construction, safer vehicles for mass transit and hauling and rice farming improvement initiatives…..
The Philippines is its own worst enemy when it comes to attracting foreign investors. There is nothing wrong with a democracy as long as the people insist on accountability of their leaders and are responsible to vote for people that run for office with a plan or a successful track record – Not voting for a politician who simply puts their name on every vehicle, building, bus stop and barangay post in their area of governance; voting for civic leaders who do more than just paint a wall white, then spend more money to advertise “This is a project of Cong/Mayor XYZ..”, as if they used their own money, which is stupid! Politicians are elected to do those things!! Why should it be treated like some huge accomplishment?? The politicians self-aggrandizement cost more than the project itself cost! The government cannot think of a better use of that much money than to put pictures of the mayor, vice mayor, SP, and barangay captain on every piece of government property and asset in a a city owns??
It is the responsibility of the people of the nation to get corruption out of the system!
1. No politician is going to “sit back” and watch foreign capital come in while they do not get their “cut”. Other than Chinese and a few other southeast Asian countries, western companies/investors want no part of corruption. It is high risk and illegal by most western nations for their nationals to engage in corrupt practices in foreign countries.
2. Government policies that change like the wind with every new president, governor and mayor. Mining and heavy construction stand out as the biggest opportunities; but inconsistent government policies stifle much investment potential. A province may have a “mine friendly” governor or president now, but in the next election, it is banned by the new administration! A large scale operation that needs roads, ports and other infrastructure can cost in excess of $1 billion….who wants to risk that on the whims of finicky politicians with no vision? Long term protections must be provided to investors as long as those investors operate within social, employment and environmental laws of the Philippines.
3. Farming improvements are hindered by excessive government bureaus and bureaucracies that overlap and in conflict with each other. The DA, NIA, BAI, BSWN, PCA, SRA….on and on and on…they can never agree to fund pilot projects, programs…anything, without getting their “cut” and glory for the job! Ag needs “one voice” at the government level; otherwise, all the agencies and bureaus just squabble over “turf” and engage in corruption.
4. I am convinced that most mayors and congressmen do NOT want to see the local economies improve! Why? Because as long as the majority of the population are poor and focused on making enough for tomorrow’s needs, it is easy to control the population and “buy” their votes for cheap! All the politicians needs are a few wealthy supporters to share profit with political favors with to maintain their power.
The result is a phony democracy and false, crony, capitalistic system that does not benefit the nation or it’s people, as it is controlled by a handful of industry and political oligarchs.
IMHO, this situation got worse following “People Power”, the biggest disaster and the biggest lie ever perpetuated on the Filipinos. Marcos was blamed for everything wrong by military and politicians alike. Marcos was tossed out, but NOTHING in how government works changed at all. As a matter of fact, the corruption spread from just being at the presidential level, to being at ALL levels of government! After Marcos was was swept out of the way, the politicians ensconced themselves in positions to expand corruption to all areas under their control; not just at the level of president, but all the way down to Barangay Captain!
5. The economy cannot improve without foreign investment. The Philippines is a country blessed with natural and human resources, The nation can provide raw material, food and other needs globally. The money that come from this demand needs to be used to expand supplier functions, infrastructure, education and mass transit needs; creating the jobs the country needs to become a land of consumers, At present, there are not enough consumers (Meaning, a market with a large amount of disposable income.) that are buying at prices that provide enough margins for business expansion on a national level. Taxes are not being collected at the level they should be to maintain and improve basic infrastructure and education due to corruption and the huge “black market” economy in every sector of society.
Until the Filipino starts to demand better for themselves their business and civic leadership, this country will forever be an economic basket case….on paper, the Philippines should be the top economy in SE Asia, and in the Top 10 of the world, IMHO…
Compare the Philippines with Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. All are island nations:
1. Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan have some fishing, and a lot of Chinese and Japanese; as well as multiple sea ports.
2. The Philippines has much more fishing that those other countries, as well as wood, natural gas, petroleum, ore, minerals, tropical and non-tropical fruits, grains, cattle and swine, and many, many others.
3. The Philippines offers a culture and people that are very easy for foreigners to be comfortable in, whether the foreigners are from the Occident or the Orient.
4. The Philippines have a large percentage of it’s population is literate, intelligent, speak fluent English; many have been successful overseas.
5. Despite all of those advantages, the GDP per capita of Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan is more than $42,000 per year, In the Philippines, less than $3,000..!!!!
Why is that? One word – Corruption!
Filipinos, take back your country now! You took it back from Spain, and to a lesser extent from the U,S,, and Japan….now you need to take it back from corrupt politicians and Chinese backed industrialists who are turning the Philippines into a province of China – complete with exploitation of the people and the environment; while the eyes of local and national civic leaders who are elected to protect the nation and improve the welfare of the people, in fact, are paid-off with bribes and kickbacks to keep their eyes and ears closed to the exploitation in the areas they govern!
When will you say, “Enough is enough!”?