Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Reason for the Failure of PHL Security, Foreign Policy and Aid

The Philippines in itself faces a security as well foreign relations dilemma for the past few years that pushes it up for its own modernization program and looking for the aid of the Western Powers, America in particular. However, recent rhetoric and misinformation as per neocolonialism is concerned as well as the push for an independent foreign policy and aid, this is something that needs to bring up as mere discussion matter.

Viewpoints of Mr. Bernard Ong

The largest number of dead US Marines & their comrades from WW2 – 17,201 to be exact – are buried right at the heart of Fort Bonifacio. And the living ones continue to help the Philippines in our time of need.

Yes, I would fault the USA’s unwillingness to give an unequivocal statement that they would fulfill their Mutual Defense Treaty obligations in case of foreign aggression not only inside our territorial waters & seas, but also in our Exclusive Economic Zones like Panatag Shoal

No, I don’t buy the Duterte dependency analysis about “shackled little brown brothers".

Each country is presumed to look after its own interests in their dealings with others. Singapore, South Korea and Japan all developed & modernized their societies across many fronts – economic, social, foreign relations & even defense – in spite of their close alliances with the US. Their relationship with the US was not a barrier to progress. In fact, they immensely benefited from US trade, investments & security guarantees.

Balikatan exercises. From
1. Trapo Dynasties. The same political clans have monopolized political power in the Philippines – often occupying positions in different branches of government, rotating positions to avoid term limits, circumventing checks and balances. They engage in patronage politics with poorer constituents, and transactional rent-seeking arrangements with richer cronies.

2. Cronies. Several of our comparative weaknesses – costly power, costly & slow internet, high logistics costs – are results of cronies charging higher prices to recover bribes paid out, plus ‘regulatory capture’ by having their allies appointed into key positions in regulatory agencies.

Recent examples include Duterte’s appointment of an ex-Globe exec Salalima to DICT Secretary and ex-Ayala Infra exec Kintanar to DOTC Undersecretary for Rail. At local levels, corruption is very much alive in the form of friends cornering government contracts – from cakes to security services to road projects. Both scream 'regulatory capture' and 'conflict of interest'.

3. Near-sighted Leaders. Short-term thinking betrays a lack of strategic leadership. Our ruling class rarely thinks beyond 6 years, timed with the next election cycle. Short-term ‘projects’ with visible results that can be touted with tarps are preferred over long-term investments like providing quality education to 20m kids. Knee-jerk high profile Band Aid solutions take precedence over thoughtful, comprehensive, sustainable solutions.

An obvious example is 6-month War on Drugs (Tokhang, padded surrender counts, erroneous lists, EJK) versus comprehensive drug management approach (prevention, community-supported rehab, decriminalizing use, legalizing soft drugs like marijuana, disrupting international supply chain).

4.  Ourselves. A nation that prefers quick fixes to sustainable solutions. Falls for promised miracles rather than hard work. Begs for legislated dole-outs & wage increases rather than improving competence, productivity, and market value-added. Enthralled by showbiz & entertainment & foul-mouthed politicians. Undervalues scientists, engineers & thinkers. Inspired by emotional rants than cold-blooded analysis.

“Shackled little brown brothers”? No I disagree. Shackled by trapo & crony greed, and our own stupidity at falling for more of the same.

The future is bright like this Manila Skyline.
If you think beyond a generation, the way out is clear: We need to wage and win the interlinked Wars on Ignorance and Poverty.

Heavy investments in quality, accessible education. Tight anti-dynasty laws. Dismantling the crony stranglehold on a few key industries – power, telco, infra – thru more / foreign competition and regulatory independence from cronies. Faster & cheaper internet to make business more efficient, and quality education cheaper & more accessible nationwide.

Systematically improve productivity thru modernization, tech & training in large labor-intensive sectors like agriculture, services, construction, government itself. Favorable policies to grow few sectors where the Philippines can be globally competitive. Better decision-making & governance thru science, data, analysis, master-planning.

A few of these may transpire under Duterte. Many will have to wait beyond 2022. And yes - the America, EU, UN  and Japan would be the best partners for progress.

1 comment:

  1. YES!...America, EU, UN and Japan would be the best partners for progress & development...There is no need fight your old friends in order to find new one..instead make friends,invite new comers to invest here..what the problem with that...truly..the problem here is the filipino population itself...'til now we never learned..we still lagged behind...western countries...are always ready to assist us.Traditional politician is great sick in our society.


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