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Accomplishment resort

All of a sudden, the news media became the primary target of our dear leader Benigno Simeon, a.k.a. BS, in his blame-throwing strategy to prop up his plunging popularity ratings.

He recently told a full-packed audience of top corporate executives that in his past five years as our dear leader, he had an “impressive number of accomplishments.”

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But to the chagrin of our dear leader, BS, the negative news media simply chose not to play up the “good news,” relegating them to the back pages of the broadsheets.

Those “good news” were the supposed “accomplishments” of the Aquino (Part II) administration. Thus, our dear leader, BS, himself simply had no choice but to talk about it.

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And talk he did with a vengeance. He resorted to an enumeration of economic figures in what seemed to be his accomplishment report. Of course, he used those figures in isolation, in an effort to highlight his economic management prowess.

He cited the economic growth rates in the country, the upgrade given by international credit rating firms and the rise in FDI (foreign direct investments) to be a few of his long list of achievements.

In that particular forum, the audience of dear leader BS was made up of some well-informed top executives who also happened to have high IQs.

The gathering was the 4th Annual Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum at the Manila Peninsula Hotel ballroom, filled to its maximum capacity, said the event organizer, the London-based Euromoney media group.

The promo material of Euromoney even claimed that, while the Philippine economy showed higher growth rates than the world average, its growth rate slowed in 2014.

According to Euromoney, the main reason was the decrease in government spending last year.

Meaning, it was not the fault of the news media, boss, because the news media actually had nothing to do with how the government spent our tax payments.

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Government spending had everything to do with the economic management prowess of the Aquino (Part II) administration.

According to former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who also teaches Economics at UP, the Aquino (Part II) administration has been “under-spending” in the last five years to the tune of more than P300 billion.

The amount could have been infused into infrastructure projects, for instance, which could have created more jobs directly, not to mention the ripple effect on business that would have been created by more roads and working ports, or even just more classrooms and hospitals.

What was it they said again about lies and statistics being almost the same?

Our dear leader, BS, pointed out that our GDP average growth rate from 2010 to 2013 was 6.3 percent. Of course, he had to mention that the growth rate under the cute administration of Gloriaetta from 2006 to 2009 was only 4.3 percent.

From where those top executives sat, however, the Philippines would still post GDP yearly growth rates of 5 to 6 percent by the sheer amount of foreign exchange inflow from the OFWs and BPOs.

We did not need a genius in Malacañang!

To them, our yearly growth rate could even hit 8 percent if we invested heavily in infrastructure, which was recognized the world over as the strongest engine of growth in developing (i.e. poor) countries like ours.

Interestingly, our dear leader, BS, chose to average the growth rate in his first four years.

Look, in 2011, which was the first full year of the Aquino administration, the rate was a pathetic 3.9 percent.

The word used by the Philippine Statistics Authority to describe the 2011 rate was “feeble.”

Anyway, the feeble and pathetic rate in 2011 was even accomplished by the Aquino (Part II) administration, despite the amazing 7.6 percent growth in 2010.

Our dear leader, BS, got into office halfway into 2010. In the previous quarters prior to his becoming our dear leader, the growth rates were 3.3 and 2 percent.

In the third and fourth quarter in that year, his administration was able to accomplish an amazing slump in the growth rates to 0.6 and 0.8 percent, respectively.

To think, boss, business think tanks then were already confident that by 2011, the Philippine economy would be finally out of the cyclical “crisis” mode, brought about by the perennial shortage of foreign exchange in the past two decades.

Reasons: The $20-$25 billion yearly OFW remittances, plus the yearly inflows into the BPOs, which last year was already estimated at $18 to $24 billion.

Neither of those two factors was the creation of the Aquino (Part II) administration.

The OFW trend, with more than 10 million Filipinos estimated to be working overseas, started during the Marcos regime.

The ever-expanding BPO sector was the direct offshoot of the liberalization in the telecommunication sector done by Kuya Eddie, or the Ramos administration, and with the groundwork ready, the cute administration of Gloriaetta pursued a serious promotion.

Really, no government in the whole wide world would dare claim credit for bringing about economic growth rates, simply because many different factors contribute to the increase—or even drop—in growth rates.

Except perhaps the Aquino (Part II) administration!

If governments had surefire ways to produce economic growth at will, there would have been no economic downturns like depression and recession ever in this highly volatile business world.

Yet, our dear leader, BS, would readily claim credit for it all, even if his own record showed a slowdown in the growth rate because his administration forgot to spend the money allotted to it by Congress.

He would readily claim as “accomplishment” that 2014 was the banner year for FDIs (foreign direct investments) in the Philippines, because the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported some $6.2 billion in FDI last year, or up by 66 percent from 2013.

The Asean secretariat based in Kuala Lumpur released official statistics on FDI in the region, and it so happened that its latest figures were the FDIs in 2013. The figures showed that FDI flows into Asean grew from $50 billion in 2008 to $122 billion in 2013.

Our share of the total Asean FDI went up from 1.8 percent in 2011 to 3.9 percent in 2013.

Before we could jump for joy, let us remember that Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia—or even the late comer Vietnam—beat us soundly in attracting FDIs.

Look, boss, we did not even get 4 percent of the total in 2013.

Sure, last year, our FDI could have risen to $6.2 billion, and according to estimates by investment firms in Hong Kong, the total in the region could reach $128 billion, which meant our share did not even hit 5 percent.

And that was something to crow about for the Aquino (Part II) administration?

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