We’re occasionally bombarded by commentaries and reactions — many from self-serving sources — that it’s time that we stopped discussing the issues relating to bad past national leaders like Presidents Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph “Erap” Estrada and of recent vintage, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA). For a country where many do not know their real history and how their lives have been influenced by historical events — forgetting the sins of past bad presidents is tantamount to national seppuku.
It’s unacceptable when the past transgressions of predecessors are being used as an excuse by an incumbent president to shift public attention from present shortcomings. It’s valid if past transgressions are being provided as a basis for comparison and measurement of the positive gains of a current administration.
President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy) was invited to share our country’s success and progress in fighting corruption in the World Economic Forum (WEF) held last January in Davos, Switzerland. The WEF knew that P-Noy had a good true story to share.
In the DPWH (Department of Public Works), once notorious for corruption — Secretary Babes Singson managed to save around $300 million in 2012. Construction projects are also now being done at lesser cost to the taxpayer and at a faster pace of completion.
P-Noy said: “Take for example a tunnel underpass project at the heart of the National Capital Region. Originally projected to cost around $17 million, it ended up costing about $10.75 million. Not only was it completed on time but a full hundred days ahead of schedule. It was opened in September of last year, and since then, an estimated hundred thousand commuters each day have been benefiting from faster travel time in our metropolis at significantly lower cost.”
P-Noy also narrated how, from importing rice, we will soon become a rice exporter. P-Noy said: “When I came into office, I found that our National Food Authority — the government agency tasked to ensure rice self-sufficiency — had an outstanding debt that, from $300 million less than a decade before when my predecessor started in office, had bloated to around $4.4 billion then. Why? Because the previous administration insisted on importing more rice than was needed to feed our people. So you had a staggering amount of debt, and rice that no one would eat, rotting in warehouses that the government, of course, had to pay rent for. This insanity was justified by convincing our people that we were not capable of feeding ourselves through tilling our own land, hence the necessity of importing rice.”
He added: “We disagreed, and therefore: We empowered our farmers — we poured funds into irrigation, arterial roads, genuine certified seeds, research into higher-yielding varieties, and other technologies. From importing almost two and a half million metric tons of rice in 2010, now, if the weather permits, we are looking at full rice self-sufficiency — and even the possibility of exporting it — by the end of this year.”
The Philippine Stock Exchange has exceeded its previous high levels by over 70 times since P-Noy became president, from an under 2,000 index, it’s now hitting over 6,600. Tagged before as the “sick man of Asia” and a security risk — our country is now hailed as “the rising tiger economy” and is being recommended by international financial gurus as the place to invest in. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) raised from 4 percent to 6 percent our forecasted GDP in 2013, a 50 percent increase. Our tourism secretary, Mon Jimenez, is confident that we’ll have over 5 million visitors in 2013 — no doubt influenced by the favorable climate of good news in the foreign press that the P-Noy administration has been receiving. In 2014, we’ll be hosting the regional WEF, a national honor.
In the past, the Philippines frequently endured the brunt of the negative news reporting as well as commentaries in the foreign media. Now, surprisingly, P-Noy is better hailed in the foreign media compared to the local media. How did that happen? Is it because the foreign media have no interest to promote and will only report the truth as they see it? You cannot expect the correspondents of CNN, ABC News, Bloomberg et al to report with a pro-P-Noy slant or spin. Their editors will put them on the rack after giving them a hundred lashes.
The apologists of the tyrants and plunderers of our recent past have the unenviable task of making their patrons look like White Knights when in fact we all know that they’re Black. The tyrants and plunderers whom they’re serving would certainly look very bad when compared to the gains of the P-Noy administration and this is why they’re clamoring that the past should no longer be discussed.
On the other hand, P-Noy would be remiss not to report the comparison between his two years and seven months as president with the 9-year track record of GMA. P-Noy’s audience in Davos needed a yardstick for comparing the current administration with the previous one of GMA. In any presentation, the historical aspect is mandated — be it governance goals, marketing plans, or movements for a cause. It’s intellectual dishonesty to suggest the removal of the historical backdrop of a current administration.
It’s characteristic of the corrupt members of media to be intellectually dishonest. There are also writers who are bent on rewriting our history to suit the interests of a patron. Filipinos should be vigilant when it comes to these attempts to erase some portions of Filipino history because that also erases the base upon which our future is made.
Complementing the intellectually dishonest writers are politicians in this campaign. JV Ejercito wants us to stop hitting GMA. Before, JV Ejercito would seethe with rage at the mere sight of GMA and the EDSA Dos players who ousted his father. He’s embarrassed perhaps that they’ve accommodated in UNA (United Nationalist Opposition) the leftovers from the GMA regime.
Aiding in the rehabilitation of GMA’s public image is indefensible. That’s also an indicator that these people of UNA are potential plunderers. We have no business ceasing to cite GMA’s bad example just to ease the shame of JV Ejercito and UNA.
A nation that doesn’t know its past is a weak nation. It’s a nation that doesn’t understand how they’ve been shafted and who the Quislings in their midst are. The sad tale of the Filipino is all about encountering the same treachery generation after generation and this happens because we do not know the historical truth.
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Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”