Unchanging politics

15 April 2013

"There are three things that will guarantee votes in an election; favors, hope, and personal attachment."
- Cicero

With 30 days to go to election day, the unchanging character of Philippine politics will remain immutable. Only the numbers will change.

The oligarchy will continue to rule society. Political dynasties will remain unyielding. Political families, that have not prepared their line of succession, or have run out of heirs with political inclination, will inevitably fade away into oblivion.

That is, Philippine politics will continue to be personality-driven, corruptive, expensive, dynastic, elitist, and anti-poor.

Meanwhile, election spending, mainly coming from the administration, is not only awaited with great anticipation but should also reinforce or even improve on the 6.6. percent GDP growth in 2012.

Barring unheralded and destructive natural calamities, 2013 is forecast to be another banner year.

President Noynoy Aquino has been campaigning as if he was a presidential candidate himself. With the massive DBP fund releases starting next week, whether officially, illegally, or unethically, for infrastructure, CCT dole-outs, and in aid of election, the avalanche of cash should help President Aquino seize the majority in the Senate as well as the thousands of local positions.

And President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, beaming from ear to ear, and tweeting like a canary, is enjoying himself tremendously and savoring the high trust and satisfaction ratings.

It goes without saying that the election spending of public funds, private donations to candidates from conglomerates and taipans who are beholden to the administration, and continuing foreign exchange remittances from OFWs and BPOs in view of current peso depreciation, will undoubtedly generate healthy consumer spending as well as timely gainful employment.

The consumption-led spending should further accelerate the economic momentum.
On the other hand, there is a downside to the economic boom.

What the general public and voters do not realize and do not appreciate is that election spending for sample ballots, PCOS papers, flyers, posters, tarpaulins, fuel, canned goods, election paraphernalia, and thousands of other small items are entirely imported. These constitute massive leaks of scarce foreign exchange to pay for imported fuels, paper, ink, chemicals, dyes, textiles, hardware, electronic gadgets, spare parts, and many others that are nearly all imported.

That is, the Philippines does not have the manufactures and engineering industries to cater and supply the needs of the nation, except by importing nearly everything.

When all is said and done, the euphoria over the high consumption-led economic growth needs to be tempered with economic realities and skepticism.

On the flipside, the implication is that the short-term economic uptick may not be sustainable if there is no strong manufacturing and engineering foundation which is the basis for long-term sustainability.

In the meantime, who can argue with success to the credit of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Make hay while the sun shines, Mr. President.

You be the judge

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(For comments and views please e-mail chaff_fromthegrain@yahoo.com.ph)