[Critical paper as a requirement for our finals in Principles of Economics. This saved my grade]
In reality, the current and past administrations of the Philippine Government were run by local bureaucrat-capitalist in connivance with the most powerful nation, the United States (US).
The economic policies of our country was dictated, controlled, and maneuvered by the grand maestro of wars — of course to maintain its hegemony against its rival countries, and to maintain its political, economic, culture and military power in the whole world. As the leading imperialist nation, the US is indirectly colonizing the Philippines by dictating and obliging the government to implement various “neoliberal policies.”
Even before when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was still a senator, she is very decisive to sponsor the implementation of neoliberal provisions on General Agreements on Tariffs and Trades (GATT) eventhough it is against the Philippine constitution. Also, Arroyo sponsored and asserted Philippines to be part of the Worl Trade Organization (WTO). Her perspective was focused on globalization under the command of IMFWB-WTO.
Moreover, Arroyo instigated the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) by 2001-2004 which in essence, will only intensify the liberalization, deregulation, and privatization of basic social services in the Philippines.
Also, Arroyo’s regime permitted the US-RP Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA). Under this agreement, our country will give “base support” and will let the foreign military use the Clark and Subic or any part of the Philippines for US military matters. Furthermore, she openly pushed Charter Change (ChaCha) or the overhaul in our constitution to eradicate requisites for foreigners limiting their owning of telecommunciations companies, public utilities, private lands, mass media, and the like.
In general, Arroyo’s regime reached a P 3 trillion debt of the Philippine government that placed our country 3rd in Asia when it comes to debt.
Meanwhile, current President Benigno Simeon Cojuanco Aquino, III, son of the torch bearers of Philippine democracy Corry and Ninoy Aquino, is ironically paving the road for US intervention and aggression in the country, in line with the “pivot” or “rebalance” of US in the Asia Pacific in which it focuses its 60% naval force and 50% military and air force in the region.
Under his term, Aquino continued and implemented his legacy of Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) respectively, which in essence opens the legs of our country for exploitation by foreign capitalist and military. Also, Aquino joined various international agreements like Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), dubbed as the dirtiest economic agreement existing.
Moreover, Aquino flaunts the Public Private Partnership (PPP) as his highlight of neoliberal program which was declared as “centerpiece” economic program of his regime during his first SONA. Currently, there are 10 PPP projects awarded by the government which costs 189 billion pesos. But in essence, it will result to massive privatization of social services that only the capitalists will benefit.
In general, there’s a short period of substantial growth in our economy under Aquino, but analyzing the matter, this is only caused by the “property bubble” brought by low interest rate on debt by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Analysis & Synthesis
In the final analysis, Arroyo and Aquino both failed to prioritize the addressing of the root cause of the problems in the Philippines, and that is to give the basic social services to the Filipino people.
On the question that who provided the BEST economic policies and strategies in fostering development in the economy of our country, my answer would be none of them – none of them implemented a policy that is based on the needs and character of our nation.
Conversely, both of them were “best” in implementing neoliberal economic policies and strategies in the country that served greatly the foreign capitalist, helping them to subsist in a global economic crisis inevitably happening under the crisis of imperialism. Both of them became an ever-faithful, crony of the US.
As the statistics would say, yes there’s a substantial growth in our economy, but the question is, who benefits from this progress? The ruling class: local bureaucrats, foreign capitalists, and the US imperialist. There’s a development aggression – the poor remains poor, their conditions are worsen.
Up until this very moment, there’s still no genuine agrarian reform – farmers are still landless – and this is a basic necessity in order to establish our own national industry, because in reality, those who holds power in the government are the top businessman and landlords in the country. Of course, they’ll secure their own interest.
I’ll stand firm with Karl Marx – there is a Class struggle. And in our country, this is very evident with the kind of orientation our society has: semi-colonial and semi-fuedal.
Semi-colonial because we are indirectly controlled by the US; military, politically and economically speaking, even our culture is being influenced by foreign ones. We are the number one market, the number one military base, and the number one source of natural and labor forces to be exported to foreign capitalist and US imperialist.
Semi-fuedal because the hundred-year old struggle for land ownership still has not given any justice. The landlords still have the control and power; 7% of harvest goes to the landlord and only 3% or less is given to the ones who till and make the lands productive. In the Philippines, out of 10 peasants, only 3 own a land and 7 have no lands at all.
Furthermore, the increasing number of cases of direct land grabbing and further sustaining and implementation of (anti-peasant) projects and policies that have been proven to serve only the interest of the ruling class are clear manifestations that feudalism still prevails to further worsen the peasant conditions.
I have no hopes for reform in the government system, remember that a when a fresh tomato is placed on a basket full of rotten ones, surely it will also rot. There is a need for a total overhaul, not just in the government, but in the whole semi-fuedal and semi-colonial orientation of our society. There shall be no oppressor and being oppressed. I wish for a society run by the people, for the people, and to the people – profit not as the number one point of motivation, but the aim is to acquire the basic rights of the people and of course, the equal distribution of wealth, based on the need and capacity.