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Philippine President Gloria Arroyo: Economist or Politician?
by ian m seruelo
18 Dec 2007
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I think I’m a pretty good economist, but a very bad politician.”
- by Gloria Macapacagal-Arroyo
On rare occasions I agree with Gloria Arroyo. She may be a well-known liar and one of the most corrupt trapo (traditional politician) in Philippine history but once in a while she has the capability to tell the truth. For example the quote above is indeed very true. Below are my proofs and validations.
As a “pretty good economist” the following are just a few examples of Arroyo’s economic accomplishments.
1) Arroyo was responsible in the country’s ballooning debt. Gloria Arroyo, in just a period of 4 years (2001-2005), borrowed P2.44 Trillion, which is more than the combined borrowings of the Aquino, Ramos and Estrada administrations. Arroyo in just a short period was able to bury the country in deeper debt! Of course, we and our grand-children will be the ones who will end up paying those loans.
2) Despite of the ever increasing debt, the only item in the annual government budget that receives real increases in allocation is debt servicing. Where did the money go? Only Arroyo and cohorts know. Sounds like magic but only a “pretty good economist” can do that!
3) Arroyo was the bright mind behind the introduction of an efficient solution to the country’s classroom shortage. Can you still remember last year, when Gloria was able to lick the problem of classroom shortage in the country? All she did was change the ideal classroom-to-student ratio from 1 classroom for every 50 students to 1 classroom for every 100 students! Do you have any better economic strategy than that?
4) Gloria was able to improve the financial status, not of the country by the way, but of her family and cronies. Her being the president is material to the business dealings Mike Arroyo and friends brokered with the Philippine government to corner handsome contracts. Also let us not forget Jose Pidal who stashed away millions in deposits in controversial deals with the Arroyo government.
5) The strengthening of the peso against the dollar was also the brainchild of Arroyo. By not investing enough in economic services, the government was able to force more Filipinos, including physicians who became nurses, to work abroad. So the more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the more dollar and other foreign currency remittances.
These OFW remittances are the reason why our economy is kept afloat. Isn’t that a very clever economic strategy? Push your population to hunger and they will find food somewhere else and even send more food back home.
Now, as a “very bad politician”, below are Gloria’s career highlights so far.
1) During the EDSA 2 protests, Gloria Arroyo then Vice-president only abandoned her boss once it was clear that former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada is about to be toppled. Gloria’s trapo (dirty rug) strategy: Stay in the fence while the factions are throwing punches, then when one is about to be knocked out, immediately jump to the winning side! She is such a bad politician indeed – no back-bone, unprincipled, fence-sitter.
2) To make sure she won the previous presidential election, Arroyo utilized hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money to finance her campaign by distributing (read: bribing) local officials. Also she employed the infamous Joc-joc Bolante to distribute bribes pretending as fertilizers. And let us not forget our all-time favorite, Virgilio “Hello Garci” Garcillano who was tasked to make sure that Arroyo leads by 1 million votes in Mindanao at all cost.
Arroyo is such a “very bad politician” for being caught on tape conspiring to rig the previous presidential election. Good politicians don’t get caught, right?
3) Arroyo is swamped with anomalies and scandals which prompted calls for her to be impeached. Impeachment proceeding should be initiated in the Lower House and under the House rules, only one impeachment case can be filed against her within a year. Now, by simply having one of her cohorts file a weak case against her she manages to give herself another year of getting away with mounting crimes against the nation. By abusing technicalities, Arroyo makes a mockery of the constitution and our laws.
4) To appease a section of the opposition and a section of poor Filipinos, Arroyo pardoned Erap after he was found guilty of plunder. Disguised as a humanitarian act, a plunderer who was toppled by the people was freed just to ensure her stay in power.
5) As a “very bad politician”, Arroyo employed different tactics to suppress dissent and opposition to her fake and corrupt government. We can still remember the violent Calibrated Preemptive Response or CPR that met street demonstrations last year. Also, E.O. 464 which was issued to block the appearance of government officials and military officers in Congressional hearings that investigate her administration’s anomalies.
Meanwhile activists and journalists are being assassinated in such blatant fashion as the Arroyo government pays lip service to the protection of human rights.
Pretty good economist but a very bad politician? You bet!
This work is in the public domain