Tag Archives: ninoy

Wrong and Crosswise

Well the appointment ban is over and our president is now placing various people who ran under his ticket in positions of power in his cabinet. Business as usual I suppose. I would normally not care. The people assigned are seemingly qualified to run the positions they have been given and they are blessed by the fact that the president does owe them something.

What irks me about the whole situation is the reaction of the president to the media and how they handle the news. They seem to be apologetic about the whole thing and try to downplay the appointment of Roxas and the other appointees. This is just terrible PR. My annoyance just doubles when I remember that one of the main points often repeated by the president and his team is how the media is against them. I dunno, maybe if they learn to put a better spin on things they wouldn’t get hit as much?

Do not apologize for the appointments. Especially if you do actually think that these people are the best fit for the job at hand. I mean the president did choose them to be future senators, congressmen, and a future vice president. He must have had some confidence in their abilities. In fact I wouldn’t even make a big deal out of it. Just a quick announcement regarding their appointment then a press release that would also go on their website as to their qualifications, plans, any other issues like that.

The main issue in the whole thing is of course Binay, and how the people accepted him but rejected Roxas. So address that issue and that issue only. Which is a very simple issue to address. What does it matter if the people voted for Binay? They did not vote for him to make this type of decisions. They supported Mr. Aquino to. They knew full well that when they voted for one as the vice president and one for the president that the president would be making all staffing choices. Usually the vice only gets one department. The argument that it is against the people’s will for Roxas to be appointed is precisely the argument that should validate his appointment. The people gave their trust to Noynoy to make these decisions by voting him in. Whether these decisions are right or not, will be based on the appointees performance. After all, like Diokno they can still be removed if they perform poorly.

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Perennial Problems

Time to take a break from Bin Laden and his awesome death and go back to our regularly scheduled programming. In this article I would like to talk about corruption. It is one of our nations biggest problems. In fact whenever someone comes up with a plan to make the country prosper, it invariably ends up beginning with curbing corruption. I’m sure a quick search in yahoo will easily tell you how much money we are losing to it every year.

Time for the ISYW angle! How do we solve this problem? Surely there is an innovative way to deal with this. Well the answer is no actually. There isn’t. There are plenty of showpiece measures such as anti-graft drives, impeachment trials, etc. I am sure they flush out some of the worst offenders. But the gist of the situation is, our system is inherently flawed. Which makes it so that corruption is something we will always have to deal with. We would be better of focusing on other problems. Debt servicing, low employment, etc. I’m sure we can pick one out of the huge list of problems we have.

The main flaw in our system that keeps corruption around is simple. We do not pay enough to have officials that are not corrupt. Our president’s salary is 95000 a month. A CEO of a small multinational company would make something like two million a month. Look at the differential between the two. Then think about the complexity of the job put before them. Our president’s salary is listed as salary grade 33. With the other public officials getting paid even lower than he does. Then consider how much it would cost to actually get into office in the first place.

The system itself is set to fail. We are basically relying on the altruism of every single person in public office. We need every single one of them to pursue their positions out of their selfless love for country instead of any motive of self-interest, otherwise the system fails. Realistically, how many people are like that? How many would give up everything just to serve the country, at almost no pay? One out of our population? Two? Then we see that these people, who are precisely what the system is designed for could very well be kept out of it by the prohibitive cost of obtaining office. Even assuming they get it. How long will the altruism stay? Once they are beggared by the rising costs of living coupled with their low paying jobs.

Of course increasing political wages to the point where they would earn as much as their counterparts in the business sector is not a silver bullet. We could very well still choose people which are corrupt for office. But at least the system is set up so that people who are willing to work for both their own and the nation’s good are accommodated. A kind of guilt is also created. Wherein people who get paid this high amount officially have a obligation to do something to earn it. As opposed to the expectation of graft in our current system, because they don’t get paid enough to survive otherwise.

Sadly this will never get implemented in our country. We just have such a bad image of our politicians that we will not enact this. The reaction of everyone would be that they are already so corrupt. Why pay them more? Even if what you are doing really has nothing to do with the current politicians at hand. But rather setting it up so that we can attract a better breed of future politicians.

The only solution left to us is to ignore the problem. Yes sadly that is it. Instead we focus on performance. In essence you can be as corrupt as you want. Set your graft to as high as you think you are worth. But be sure that you are worth that much. Anti-corruption drives should not focus on the most corrupt. No. They should focus on the most incompetent. Then once they are gone they should focus on those with a high incompetence to corruption ratio. Basically under performers. Then drive them out. You will be left with a bunch of highly corrupt officials. In fact the whole government will probably be made up of them. But they will be crooked officials who perform all their functions to the best of their abilities. In essence we get what we pay for.

That’s pretty much it. Remember always expect everyone to act with their own self-interest foremost in their mind. If you take this into consideration and plan for it most systems you set up will work.

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Filipino First -> Only

In honor of the recent People Power Revolution anniversary I thought it proper to do a piece on nationalism. By “nationalism” though I don’t mean celebrating how awesome it is to be Filipino (and it is) or how our heroes are great (and they are). Instead I will focus on how nationalism is actually hindering our growth and progress as a country. More specifically I want to show that it’s our misconception of the idea of nationalism that’s doing this.

Think about it. Really think about it. What ideas do our professors, commentators, and intellectuals espouse as nationalistic? One hundred percent ownership of Filipino’s for companies? Nationalistic. One hundred percent ownership for foreigners? Un-nationalistic. The Philippines claiming ownership of the Spratley Islands and risking a rising superpower’s ire? Patriotic! The Philippines giving up its claim in exchange for other concessions? That’s traitor talk! Americans out of the bases? Yes go Philippines! Americans staying in bases? Well anyone who suggests this is obviously bribed right? I’m not saying that our current crop of nationalistic ideas are unnationalistic but I do assert that it takes more than an underlying “screw you foreigner” motive for an idea to be nationalistic;that some ideas which don’t handicap expats may actually be more nationalistic than those that do. I’m convinced that throughout history our collective idea of what is nationalistic has become perverted into what is protectionist.

Nationalistic ideas at their very core are ideas that will benefit and promote the country. Ideas that no matter the ideological lean of their content will better us as a nation. Consider the original definition’s implications to those of this new one; no idea should be rejected at face value just because they happen to suggest helping foreigners in some shape, way, or form. Each idea should have their pro’s and con’s individually weighed critically. Those that pass; where pro’s outweigh the cons, should be considered nationalistic as they help our country. Those ideas that don’t, shouldn’t. If this means that such controversial ideas such as one hundred percent foreign ownership of corporations or ownership of lands is considered nationalistic, then so be it. I’m not saying it necessarily has to be, but if an impartial study dins it so…so be it.

Running a nation is a very complex endeavor. Each day our leaders are faced with thousands of decisions; each of them with a thousand possible courses of action. Locking out a certain subset of these choices, even if they are the most beneficial for our country, due to some misunderstood idea of nationalism hurts us as our leaders cannot pick the best and most efficient paths for fear of being called traitors. We already have enough disadvantages without further handicapping ourselves with a misguided mindset.

I hope this article reaches some people, it goes against plenty of what is taught in schools nowadays. The fact still remains that limiting our options due to artificial constraints inhibits our growth as a nation. I’ve already stated what my personal definition for a nationalistic idea is. I’d like to leave with my definition of what nationalism is. In my opinion it is “Doing whatever you have to do to make your nation great”

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