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  1. #11


    Hango mula kay Manolo Quezon ng Inquirer ---

    The Long View
    Moral intensification

    By Manuel L. Quezon III
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 05:13:00 05/18/2009

    Filed Under: Governance, Politics, Judiciary (system of justice), Religion & Belief, Churches (organisations), history

    That was a term coined by the present Chief Justice, arising from his belief that the legal system is powerless to address the country’s problems, but that change can be achieved by reversing what he sees as the longstanding moral decay of the country. Religious leaders, according to him, can act as “moral forces” in “redirecting the destiny” of the country.

    There is much that is admirable about our present Chief Justice, but I am troubled by a suspicion that at the heart of his public acts is a belief in the benefits of a theocratic state. To me, this is a point of view that is dangerous, because it is fundamentally incompatible with his being a jurist who is tasked with the application of secular law. Fr. Robert Reyes once quoted the Chief Justice as having told him that the “justice system is based on our morality which is based on our spirituality.” This would have shocked many, if not all, of his illustrious predecessors. Hadn’t Chief Justice Jose P. Laurel referred to “justice in its rational and objectively secular conception” in his justly famous definition of social justice?

    The core values of our state, degenerate and dysfunctional as it may be, at present, are enshrined in three words from Laurel’s description above: that human progress is served by institutions that are Rational, Objective and Secular.

    These core values are quite compatible with religious feeling, and in and of themselves not opposed to sectarian doctrines. It is like the late scientist Stephen Jay Gould’s description of faith and science being subject to non-overlapping magisteria, or authority. As he put it in his famous essay, “The net of science covers the empirical universe: what is it made of (fact) and why does it work this way (theory). The net of religion extends over questions of moral meaning and value. These two magisteria do not overlap, nor do they encompass all inquiry (consider, for starters, the magisterium of art and the meaning of beauty). To cite the arch clichés, we get the age of rocks, and religion retains the rock of ages; we study how the heavens go, and they determine how to go to heaven.”

    Does the Chief Justice propose reconciling law and faith, or is he expressing a desire to subordinate human institutions to the dogmas of specific faiths? The Philippines is not alone in having societies in which Mysticism, Sectoral Partisanship and Theocracy are increasingly viewed as the antidotes to corruption, injustice and misery. Should this tendency be embraced? This seems, to me, the dangerous path on which the Chief Justice has embarked.

    At the heart of the approach to law and government among people like Laurel, whose thinking and training were informed by the Enlightenment thinking of people like Rizal and Mabini, the conduct of human affairs was more properly approached in a manner that best approximated scientific inquiry and problem-solving, if it was to avoid the risks—of fanaticism, intolerance, inquisition and persecution—that Godliness inflicted on human society in ages past.

    Recall that a lesser judge was expelled from the judiciary for believing in magical dwarves: is there any difference in a chief magistrate who preaches as from a pulpit, confusing the robes of office with the robes of priestly, even prophetic, ministry? For the great crime for which the duwende-loving judge was dismissed, was to throw the judiciary in disrepute for the eccentricity of his views, which put in doubt his capacity to render impartial justice. But if these were grounds, there must surely be those of the opinion that a Chief Justice who essentially throws in the towel, declaring the salvation of the nation lies in God and not in Law, has no business being in the courts one moment longer and should, instead, either found a church or become a partisan politician?

    A couple of years ago, during a forum held by a foreign chamber of commerce, one Filipino in the audience expressed frustration over the timidity of the hierarchy. I responded by saying that perhaps this was a good thing, as reducing the political influence of the Catholic Church was better for the country in the long run.

    On one hand you have the Catholic Church effectively mobilizing to block the Reproductive Health bill, and on the other, mobilizing to keep Land Reform legislation alive. Tolerating the former because of the need for a force capable of mobilizing to promote the latter is a Faustian bargain we shouldn’t even have to consider. It only serves to underline the inherent contradictions when the element of sectarian morality muscles into the political sphere.

    Consider the dilemma of the Jesuits whose past election of Romeo Intengan as their leader has enabled him to use the residual prestige of his having been a past Jesuit Provincial to provide the moral and political underpinnings for the liquidation of the Legal Left. That prestige has accorded him a prominence he has deftly used, politically, and conferred impunity because he is immune from scrutiny.

    Two sides of the same coin: an Archbishop of Manila who can privately tell the President to resign but shrinks from publicly making the call; a former Jesuit Provincial who helps plot the assassination of suspected communists; both wield a power neither deserve or should even be able to wield.

    And this applies to all churches. At the very least, marshaling religion for one side only permits marshaling religion for the other; it does not introduce anything new nor does it offer any real opportunity to break the impasse the country’s been in, politically, since 2005. There is no difference between a politician bragging of Lakas and Kampi’s machinery and those who proclaim the presidency can be obtained by a coalition of Catholic bishops, the Iglesia Ni Cristo and Evangelical Christians.
    "Kung ayaw mong masaktan mag-chess ka na lang!"

  2. #12


    Hango mula kay John Nery ---

    The 20-percent presidency

    By John Nery
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 01:13:00 05/26/2009

    Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

    When it comes to everyone’s favorite pastime—no, not watching the latest Hayden Kho sex video but handicapping favorites in the equally rough-and-tumble world of presidential politics—everybody has an opinion. But this emphatically does not mean that one man’s guess is as good as any other’s. I say this not simply because I have a vested interest in professional commentary and political journalism; I say this because certain factors are already in play, and opinion that does not take them into account is worse than useless.

    Political facts, of course, may be read differently. In the interest of greater accountability, I would like to advance the following five theses, with which I propose to frame my reading of 2010.

    Thesis 1. Under our post-Marcos Constitution, we are unlikely to elect a majority president. Not impossible; just improbable. The nearest thing we had to a runaway winner since 1986 was the massively popular Joseph Estrada in 1998, and yet he received only 39 percent of the vote.

    In part this is because our Constitution’s new-found conviction in pluralism encourages multiple candidates to contest the highest office—but without providing for a second, run-off election between the top two candidates, as in, say, the French system.

    It is true that some presidential elections under the 1935 Constitution featured more than two viable candidates; in 1957, for instance, Jose Yulo (27 percent), Manuel Manahan (20 percent) and Claro M. Recto (8 percent) contested the presidency with Ramon Magsaysay’s successor; Carlos Garcia returned to Malacañang with 41 percent of the vote. But under the 1935 Constitution, the odds and the advantages were stacked in favor of the two dominant political parties.

    Since 1986, all presidential elections have been multi-candidate races, with many candidates (all seven in 1992, seven of 10 in 1998, four of five in 2004) heavyweight political personalities. The most famous beneficiary of this pure first-past-the-post system is Fidel Ramos, who won the 1992 elections with only 23 percent of the vote.

    Thesis 2. In 2010, and despite the even more prohibitive cost of a presidential campaign, more than two candidates will contest the presidency. In part this is explained by the imperatives of political positioning and the example of mid-term senators running for higher office. Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero and Panfilo Lacson have very little to lose by running in 2010; they still have three years left in their term, and by throwing their hat in the ring they keep their names current and their 2013 options open. (I should include Sen. Manny Villar in this privileged list, because his Senate term ends in 2013 too, but he is currently threatened with expulsion by a suddenly resolute Senate.)

    In part, too, we can look forward to a multi-candidate scramble in 2010 because the system does not only allow multiple candidacies, it positively enables them. Money is the only limit.

    Thesis 3. There are two kinds of presidential mandate: the 20-percent presidency and the 40-percent presidency. The inevitable multi-candidate race in 2010 will follow either of two templates: the 1992 elections, which saw four evenly matched candidacies (with two more viable enough to end up with at least 10 percent of the vote), or the 2004 elections, which were marked by two candidacies of relatively equal strength. (With a little help from Garci, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo won with 39 percent of the vote, against Fernando Poe Jr.’s 36 percent.)

    It will probably take us until December this year or January next year to define, with any certainty, what kind of mandate will be at stake in the May elections.

    But unless the political dynamics change, even the most popular candidate with the best-funded campaign in 2010 can look forward only to a 40-percent mandate at the most, not a majority vote.

    Thesis 4. The election prospects of a johnny-come-lately like Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro hinge on a multiple-candidate scenario and a 20-percent mandate. I earlier misread Teodoro’s political affiliation; he is no longer with the Nationalist People’s Coalition but is firmly in President Arroyo’s camp. At any rate: Considering the President’s high negatives, a campaign by somebody like him (or, say, Bayani Fernando) can only succeed if the ratings of the current front-runners (Vice President Noli de Castro, Villar, Legarda, Escudero) continue to cluster together. In other words, somebody like Teodoro who has not yet figured prominently in the surveys can only, realistically, have a shot at becoming president if the threshold to Malacañang is as low as 1992—that is to say, around 20 percent. (Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago fought Ramos down to the wire, and garnered 19 percent of the vote.)

    If the 2010 election resolves into an essentially two-person race, Teodoro (or Fernando) stands virtually no chance. At this late stage, a 40-percent goal is out of reach.

    I would think the same limits apply to Lacson’s second presidential run, or to Sen. Richard Gordon’s first.

    Thesis 5. The ambition of a consistent front-runner like De Castro or Villar posits a 40-percent mandate despite a multiple-candidate scenario. The list of preferred presidential candidates remains thick at the top—partly because survey respondents are allowed to name multiple preferences. The picture should become clearer when the survey questionnaires begin to require a single choice. But for De Castro and Villar, as well as Legarda and Escudero, and perhaps for Sen. Mar Roxas, the template to follow is 2004: convert a high-teens to mid-20’s rating into a 40-percent mandate.
    "Kung ayaw mong masaktan mag-chess ka na lang!"

  3. #13


    it's very disturbing to hear that the leader of the Sumilao Farmers was murdered last night. very worrisome indeed as it further fuels speculation that what this government really wants is to rile the people further to the point of revolt, giving them reason to declare martial law and do whatever pleases them during this period.

  4. #14



    I march with them when they went to mendiola,together with SBC Philo students, and to College of the holy spirit. Talked with them. . . .Had lunch. . . . Oh my. . . Disturbing. . .
    I-shoot mo, i-shoot mo, i- shoot mo pa ang ball. ang sarap mag Basketball - Viva Hot Babes

  5. #15


    The opposition to ChaCha can snowball. Gloria and her allies will regret this and this may result in People Power 3 (or 4?). I for one will join mass demonstrations after a long, long time.

  6. #16


    Ah yes, mayhem and madness and the method behind them all...

    There is an old African adage that goes "This is Africa." It is meant to explain away all of the bad things that happened, continue to happen, and will continue to happen on the Dark Continent. This includes famine, drought, revolution, genocide, tribal warfare, poverty, AIDS, etc-etc. Perhaps we should also start using "This is the Philippines" in that same context.

    In Africa they democracy has no chance since Africans culturally and sociologically seem to accept that those in power will essentially look out for themselves at the expense of the ruled. To them as long as those in power still provide a semblance of governance, i.e. there are still bridges, roads, food, work, no matter how dilapidated or decrepit, they will not revolt. "The king is god and if god gives a little drizzle he can keep all the rain."

  7. #17


    From the Hawks over at the Heritage Foundation ...

    Protecting the Protectors by Investing in People and Next-Generation Equipment

    by Mackenzie Eaglen
    Special Report #54

    The U.S. government's primary job is to provide for the common defense. The most important element to protecting vital national interests is the U.S. military, which reinforces America's diplomatic initiatives, acts to deter threats, and, when necessary, fights and wins the nation's wars.

    Two components determine a strong military: the quality of its servicemembers and the equipment available to them.

    More Cash for Today's Forces

    For the past 36 years, America's military has operated as an all-volunteer force. As the commission responsible for recommending a volunteer force observed, forced military service through the draft was "intolerable" when compared with a volunteer system that aligned more distinctly with "our basic national values." Almost four decades later, the verdict is in: The U.S. military is the most highly trained, well-disciplined, and adaptive fighting force the world has ever seen.

    But an all-volunteer system doesn't come cheap: You get what you pay for. To recruit and retain the best force possible, as well as care for their families, the military has to provide a competitive array of pay and benefits. Although those who wear our country's uniform can never be fully compensated for their service, there are better ways to pay them.

    Sustaining America's all-volunteer force will require new thinking to keep military service attractive to today's skilled and highly mobile workforce. Although the conventional wisdom that those in the military earn less than civilians with comparable experience remains untrue, Congress and the Pentagon must begin to restructure military compensation to be more responsive to America's youth. This should begin with an effort to shift emphasis away from non-cash and deferred benefits--such as health care and retirement--to a package that more heavily favors cash compensation. A cash-based system that places greater freedom in the hands of the individual servicemember will strengthen recruiting and retention and continue to raise the quality of the military as a whole.

    Global Military Needs Superior Equipment

    A citizen who chooses to become a member of the armed forces deserves the best equipment to succeed. The contract that exists between the volunteer servicemember and the U.S. government must strike a proper balance between meeting the financial and career needs of the troops while also equipping them with what they need to fulfill their missions.

    This means more than rifles, ammunition, and trucks; it also includes modern fighters, bombers, helicopters, tanks, destroyers, cruisers, and submarines. When the government asks its citizens to fight and possibly sacrifice for their country, Congress must then equip the forces with whatever is needed to deter potential adversaries and to win on the battlefield. Commanders also gain from highly skilled troops, and those in uniform likewise benefit from government care and a reduced likelihood of battlefield casualties because of their world-class equipment.

    Winning Today and Tomorrow

    The range of potential missions facing today's military is vast. While winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remains the central mission, regional combatant commanders must also concern themselves with responding to humanitarian disasters, protecting sea lines of communication and free trade, deterring rogue states through a credible extended deterrence posture, and hedging against the future uncertainty that accompanies the rise of powers like China and Russia.

    Regrettably, the tools required to sustain all of these efforts have been placed in jeopardy. The collective decisions by Congress and both Democratic and Republican Presidents over the past 15 years have left the U.S. military using equipment that is extremely old and, in many cases, outdated. The average age of major platforms today includes:

    * Air Force tactical aircraft: over 20 years old;
    * Navy tactical aircraft: over 15 years old;
    * Army M-113 vehicles: 18 years old;
    * CH-47 Chinook helicopters: nearly 20 years old;
    * Ticonderoga-class cruisers: nearly 20 years old;
    * P-3C Orion long-range aircraft: almost 25 years old;
    * B-1 Lancer bomber: over 20 years old;
    * C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft: 21 years old; and
    * KC-135 tankers: 44 years old.

    President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2010 defense budget ensures that the military's equipment will continue to atrophy and next-generation systems will continue to be delayed. Pledging reform, Obama has proposed to defer or cancel programs that will serve critical, multi-mission roles in the coming decades. These include the F-22 Raptor fifth-generation fighter, the Air Force's new long-range bomber and search and rescue helicopter, the Navy's next-generation cruiser, the Army's wheeled and tracked vehicles, and $1.4 million from the Missile Defense Agency's budget.

    Some uniformed observers consider platforms like the F-22 to be "Cold War" systems designed for combat in a different era. It would be fair to remind such critics that, just as the F-22 will provide the U.S. with a platform capable of maintaining air dominance over the next 30 years, the F-15 and F-16 have done so for the past 30 years. During that time--a period spanning both the Cold War and post-Cold War periods and 17 years of patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq--the aircraft were used not just in combat roles, but as forward-deployed assets that could provide extended deterrence everywhere from the American homeland, to the Balkans, Middle East, and Asia-Pacific.

    How to Protect America's Protectors

    Instead of discussing what the military can do without--sacrifices often paid for with life and limb--the real debate over hard choices should focus on how best to pay America's military and ensure that new enlistees retain the same military superiority possessed by today's forces. Assuming that one type of conflict is most likely over the next 20 years and then overinvesting in equipment to match that assumption is dangerous for a global power.

    Simply patching up older systems is not enough: We have seen F-15s literally cracking up and falling out of the sky and the entire U.S. Navy surface fleet having to stop operations due to low readiness levels. Robust investment in next-generation systems is needed now so that the troops who sign up in 10 years can also reap the benefits of American military primacy.

    Mackenzie M. Eaglen is Senior Policy Analyst for National Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for Inter-national Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

    Glad to see that in this day and age there are still some people who do not blanch at the idea of actually improving the military capability of America.

  8. #18


    From Ambeth Ocampo...

    A re-interpretation of history

    By Ambeth Ocampo
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    Independence Day came and went as it does every year. Everyone looked forward to a holiday, and in this case a long weekend, except those who had to participate in June 12 events.

    President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo chose to raise the flag in Mindanao, a welcome break from the traditional ceremonies in Rizal Park. It is unfortunate that news coverage was more focused on Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s speech in Caloocan about the social volcano threatening to erupt rather than the symbolic flag raising in Koronadal that stressed that Mindanao is an indivisible part of the Republic of the Philippines. Some people pined for the traditional parade while the President was focused on jobs, climate change, and the fact that heroism is not some 19th century antique fossilized in our textbooks.

    I used to wonder why most of our major heroes come from the late 19th century: from Gomez, Burgos and Zamora in 1872 to Rizal and Bonifacio in 1896 to Aguinaldo, Mabini, Luna and others in 1898. Why was it that our heroes seemed to have known each other or were in a sense a barkada? Surely, we have many more heroes than those highlighted in textbooks, monuments, stamps, street names and the faces on our paper bills. Maybe we should look harder and be inspired by lesser known heroes from outside the capital, like Hizon, Makabulos, Maxilom, Tinio, Kudarat and Leon Kilat.

    The late Adrian Cristobal stumped me once with a question: Who is Kalentong? Since I never aspired to be an Ernie Baron all I could remember was that the famous Mandaluyong street was named after General Kalentong who fought during the Philippine Revolution. I did not even know his first name! What did he look like? What battles did he fight? How come he is not in the history textbooks I used? History should be more than just random and obscure facts that figure in TV game shows and school quiz bees. Surely, history can be more relevant than the way it is presented to schoolchildren.

    June 12 always reminds me of the declaration of Philippine Independence from Spain that was read from the window of Emilio Aguinaldo’s home in Kawit in 1898. It was short-lived because the United States stepped in and governed the Philippines for the next half century. It was only on July 4, 1946 that the representative of the US president read a document stating that the US “recognizes the independence of the Philippines.” Aguinaldo, who was then present, was quoted as saying, “Ibinalik lang nila ang kalayaang nakamit natin noong 1898 (They just returned the freedom we won in 189.”

    This explains why many Filipino patriots and heroes who continued to struggle for our independence from the US were branded as bandits and need to be rehabilitated in our textbooks. Our patriots were often referred to as “insurrectos” and our struggle belittled as the “Philippine Insurrection” rather than the Philippine-American War.

    It was only in 1999 that the US Library of Congress changed its bibliographic classification of materials from Philippine Insurrection to Philippine-American War. This may seem like an insignificant change, but if you know the true meaning of the terms you will realize that an insurrection is merely an uprising against an established government. The Filipino struggle for freedom was downplayed as an insurrection, because to use the correct term “war” would have described a conflict between two countries.

    “Philippine-American War” was not a convenient term during America’s expansion in Asia. Thus, when all the archival records of that struggle were returned to Manila from Washington, this vast archive was known as the “PIR” or the “Philippine Insurgent Records.” A decade ago this record group now in the National Library of the Philippines was renamed “PRR” or “Philippine Revolutionary Records.” Is this a simple change in name? Is it relevant?

    The change from “Philippine Insurrection” to “Philippine-American War” not only acknowledges that we had freed ourselves from Spain in 1898, that we established a republic in 1899, complete with a Congress and Constitution, the first in Southeast Asia. The change in name, a change in viewpoint, a re-interpretation of our history, from a history written by foreigners to one that is written by Filipinos for Filipinos.

    This also puts in context the executive order issued by President Diosdado Macapagal that moved our Independence Day from July 4 to June 12, pushing our short memories back from 1946 to 1898.

    Independence Day should remind us not just of Kawit on June 12, 1898 but of other events before the declaration going maybe as far back as Lapu-Lapu’s victory in Mactan in 1521. Perhaps Independence Day should also go forward to help us remember the World War II and even Edsa 1 and Edsa 2.

    I used to be guilty of commemorating June 12 by waking up late and spending the day in the mall. This year I forced myself to remember what the holiday is all about

  9. #19


    A little something from the last Pinko standing, and here I thought every one with a bleeding heart was now in the White House ...


    Robert McNamara’s Second Vietnam

    By Walden Bello
    First Posted 20:26:00 07/10/2009

    Filed Under: War, People, history

    The stylized view of Robert McNamara, who passed away a few days ago, is that after serving as the chief engineer of the disastrous US war in Vietnam, he went on, in 1968, to serve as president of the World Bank, seeking to salve his troubled conscience by delivering development assistance to poor countries.

    The reality is, as usual, more complex.

    Development from Above?

    As president of the Bank, the world’s premier channel for multilateral aid, McNamara did quadruple the institution’s lending portfolio to $12 billion. The key beneficiaries, however, were authoritarian dictatorships. Indeed, the rise to hegemony of authoritarian regimes in the developing world cannot be separated from the massive funding that the World Bank under McNamara provided them. By the late seventies, five of the top seven recipients of World Bank aid were military, presidential-military, or military-controlled regimes: Indonesia, Brazil, South Korea, Turkey, and the Philippines.

    Why did the Bank under McNamara feel a special affinity to military-dominated regimes? A great part of the reason stems from McNamara’s own background. He was one of the prototypes of the “technocrat,” a term coined in the early sixties to refer to the seemingly apolitical practitioner of the science of political and economic management.

    As chief executive of the Ford Motor Company, then head of the Defense Department, McNamara ran organizations that were hierarchical and non-democratic in structure.

    Not surprisingly, he was susceptible to the rhetoric of authoritarian regimes that promised to sanitize the political arena in order, according to them, to allow economic managers the space to modernize the country.

    The Marcos Connection

    One of the people who most successfully cultivated the image of being engaged in a process of bringing “development from above” was Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, who imposed martial law in 1972 in order, in his words, to “break the democratic deadlock” that had become a barrier to development.

    “All that people ask,” Marcos explained, “is some kind of authority that can enforce the simple law of civil society. Only an authoritarian system will be able to carry forth the mass consent and to exercise the authority necessary to implement new values, measures, and sacrifices.”

    Skillfully deploying a cadre of technocrats that included Alejandro Melchor and Cesar Virata to impress him, Marcos won McNamara over to backing his regime in a major way.

    The country was upgraded to what the Bank called a “country of concentration.” Between 1950 and 1972, the Philippines received a meager $326 million in bank assistance.

    In contrast, between 1973 and 1981, more than $2.6 billion was funneled into the country. Whereas prior to martial law, the Philippines ranked about thirtieth among recipients of Bank loans, by 1980 it placed eighth among 113 developing countries.

    In return for this massive increase in aid, the Bank was given carte blanche to forge a comprehensive economic development plan for the Philippines. The two pillars of the strategy were “rural development” and “export oriented industrialization.”

    Containing the Countryside

    “Rural development” was the Bank’s response to the agricultural crisis. The centerpiece of the strategy was increasing the productivity of small farmers through the delivery of “technological packages” and upgrading agricultural support services like credit systems.

    Rural development, however, had implications that went beyond improved efficiency.

    As McNamara explained to the Bank’s Board of Governors, the strategy would “put the emphasis not on redistribution of income and wealth – as justified as that may be in our member countries – but rather on increasing the productivity of the poor, thereby providing for an equitable sharing in the benefits of growth.”

    In short, rural development was partly counterinsurgency, directed at defusing the appeal of the revolutionary movement among the restive rural masses. It was, as one development specialist close to the Bank described it, “defensive modernization” which if successful, will create a smallholder sector closely integrated with the national economy.

    Bank projects will encourage subsistence farmers to become small-scale market producers. With economic ties to other sectors, the farmers will be loath to link their interests to those not yet modernized and will hesitate to disrupt the national economy for fear of losing their own markets.

    Export-oriented Industrialization

    When it came to industry, McNamara pushed Marcos and other World Bank clients to “turn their manufacturing enterprises away from the relatively small markets associated with import substitution toward the much larger opportunities flowing from export promotion.”

    Quotas were to be eliminated and tariffs brought down to expose protected local industries to the winds of international competition; exporters were to be given incentives; export processing zones were to be set up; and wages were to be kept low to attract foreign investors.

    A plan by Marcos’ more nationalistic technocrats to set up “11 big industrial projects,” including an integrated steel industry and a petrochemical complex, that would serve as the strategic industrial core was shot down by the Bank as not in line with export promotion.

    As in the case with rural development, there was a social logic to export-oriented industrialization. Persisting in industrialization based on the internal market would have meant having to undertake income redistribution in order to expand the market necessary to sustain it, a move that was not welcomed by the local elite.

    By hitching the industrialization process to export markets instead, the Bank broke the link between industrialization and domestic income redistribution, but at the cost of intensifying class conflict owing to the necessity of keeping wages low to make one’s exports competitive.

    The World Bank vision was grand, but implementation of a project that favored foreign interests and the traditional elites met mass resistance. It was dogged as well by corruption, cronyism, incompetence, and when it came to land reform, lack of political will.

    Then there was the special problem of Imelda Marcos, who wanted to corner more and more World Bank money for her projects.

    “Mrs. Marcos,” one Bank bureaucrat wrote in a briefing paper for McNamara, “has identified herself with a few showcase projects that we consider ineffective and which are a bit of a joke among knowledgeable Filipinos.”

    Crisis and the Advent of Structural Adjustment

    By the early 1980’s, the World Bank program was floundering, prompting management to commission political risk analyst William Ascher to assess the situation.

    Ascher’s findings were grim. The Marcos regime was marked by “increasing precariousness” and “the World Bank’s imprimatur on the industrial program runs the risk of drawing criticism of the Bank as the servant of multinational corporations and particularly of US economic imperialism.”

    In desperate effort to salvage a deteriorating situation, the Bank forced Marcos to appoint a cabinet of technocrats headed by Prime Minister Cesar Virata, its most trusted agent in the country.

    But the cure that Virata and company administered was worse than the disease.

    The country was subjected, along with only four other countries, to an experimental Bank program called structural adjustment that involved the comprehensive liberalization and deregulation of the economy.

    The program, one of McNamara’s last innovations before he retired in 1981, sought to fully expose developing economies to international market forces in order make them more efficient.

    In the Philippines, adjustment entailed bringing down the effective rate of protection for manufacturing from 44 to 20 percent. Instead of invigorating the economy, however, this shock liberalization combined with the international recession of the early eighties to bring about deep economic contraction in 1983 to 1986.

    Indeed, structural adjustment led not only to deindustrialization; according to one study, it also created so much unemployment that migration patterns changed drastically. The large migration flows to Manila declined, and most migrants could turn only to open access forests, watersheds, and artisanal fisheries. Thus the major environmental effect of the economic crisis was overexploitation of these vulnerable resources.

    Adjustment led to a decade of stagnation from which the country never really recovered, even as its neighbors, who were smart enough to avoid being saddled with the program, were registering 6 to 10 per cent growth rates in 1985-1995.

    Familiar Ending

    Yet there was one unintended benefit for the country: the economic chaos structural adjustment provoked was one of the key factors that brought about the ouster of Marcos through a combined civil-military uprising in February 1986.

    By that time, McNamara had been out of the Bank for five years. Ensconced in retirement, he must, however, have seen parallels between the last US helicopters leaving Saigon in 1975 and Marcos being transported to exile in Hawaii in a US aircraft in 1986.

    The Philippines was McNamara’s second Vietnam, and like the first, it was a memory the once celebrated whiz kid of the Kennedy administration would probably have preferred to bury.

    *Walden Bello is a member of the House of Representatives of the Republic of the Philippines. He is also a retired professor of sociology at the University of the Philippines and senior analyst at the Bangkok-based analysis and advocacy institute Focus on the Global South. He is the author or co-author of 15 books, including the Marcos era classic Development Debacle: the World Bank in the Philippines (San Francisco: Food First, 1982).

  10. #20


    From John Nery of the Inquirer...


    How do we know she wasn’t a saint?

    By John Nery
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 01:41:00 08/04/2009

    In a balanced piece he wrote for Global Post, colleague and good friend Caloy Conde cast the extraordinary reaction to the death of Cory Aquino in religious terms. “She was the closest the Philippines ever had to a living saint. And when she died on Saturday, from colon cancer at the age of 76, Filipinos grieved as though they had just lost one.”

    I can readily agree with the second assertion; the first, however, needs qualifying. Surely we have had living saints before, in the sense that Caloy described and that Cory would have understood: a person with a saintly reputation. (My own list would include two exemplary religious three centuries apart: Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, the founder of the RVM Sisters, and Benigno Dagani, a Jesuit missionary in Mindanao.)

    The core assumption behind Caloy’s use of the phrase, as I understand it, is perception: Cory was perceived by many to have the qualities of a saint. This emphasis on wide reputation makes sense, in the light of an intriguing note I also read on Facebook, readily dismissing the possibility that Cory was a saint.

    How do we know she wasn’t?

    I am not about to begin a cause for Cory’s canonization (the new rules stipulate a waiting period of “at least five years” after the death). I am certainly no expert on saints, my perspective merely being that of an ordinary layman. But how do we know that Cory was not, in fact, a saint?

    Before I answer my own question, let me introduce a passage from a column written the day Cory died by another colleague and friend, Patricia Evangelista. “I write this to celebrate a hero, not a saint. Saints are touched by the hand of God, they do no wrong, they are faultless, full of the light of heaven—but they belong behind glass cases, painted eyes lit by Christmas lights, of little use in a country where every man is a sinner because he lives. Heroes make themselves. They are human, their faults are their own, and their extraordinariness is not in their perfection, but in their struggle.”

    I do not think that Pat meant to say that Cory was no saint; only that she preferred to write about her as a hero. My interest is in the assumption Pat brings to her argument: that saintliness is perfection. If the people the Catholic Church comes to canonize did “no wrong,” were “faultless” and “full of the light of heaven,” then Pat would be right: they would really be “of little use” to sinners like us. But who says saintliness is perfection?

    The irrepressible Teresa of Avila, a born builder who could not keep her opinions to herself; the avid Augustine, who famously prayed for “chastity, but not yet”; the disputatious Paul, who wrestled with the demon of self-righteousness; the impulsive Peter, who in his impulsiveness denied Christ thrice—the roll of saints is a record of the very struggle that Pat sees in heroes: persons “making themselves,” who “are human,” whose “faults are their own,” and yet who are able to fashion “extraordinariness” out of their “struggle.”

    In other words, she offers us a false choice, between perfect saint and struggling hero.

    If saintliness were perfection, then saints would be useless to the Church. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read: “By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God’s grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors.” How can saints be models if their experience is (to use Pat’s rhetorical pairing) one of perfection, not of struggle? Morality is nothing if it isn’t pragmatic—that is, concerned with the nitty-gritty of real life.

    Perhaps the real reason Pat considers “hero” more appropriate to describe Cory with than “saint” can be found at the start of her compelling column. Pat adverts to the Hacienda Luisita killings in 2005: “I know how many men died during the massacre in 2005, know how the Aquino administration failed to give their farmers their due, know how much can be laid at the feet of a dead President and her family. I had thought it would be difficult to write this today, knowing what I know of Hacienda Luisita, looking over old interviews with Federico Laza, the father who saw his son shot before his eyes.”

    Again, I do not think that Pat meant to say that the devout Cory was only a hero; only that it was difficult to think of her as a saint.

    But how much of the crisis in Luisita, exactly, can be laid at the feet of Cory? The note on Facebook I read also implied that, because there was both good and bad in Cory’s presidency, the bad mostly having to do with her perceived failure to transcend class interests, she could not be a saint.

    There is a temptation to damn Cory for her wealth—as though it were impossible for the rich to become saints. That would impoverish the Church (poor pun intended), for it would then have to do without Thomas Aquinas, or Francis of Assisi, or Francis Borgia.

    My point: Any talk of saintliness would have to take into account the Church’s own rules, and Cory’s interior life.

    In the end, that’s what we are left with: abundant evidence of the democratic icon’s profound spiritual life—the constant prayer, the simplicity of faith that showed itself in the way she related to people, the unwavering conviction that fate was God’s own, sometimes inscrutable will.

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