Bitter shape than sorry | Inquirer Business

Bitter shape than sorry

For the nth time, the Palace boys of our leader, President Benigno Simeon Aquino, aka BS, asked the forgiveness of millions of miserable commuters early this week. This time, it was for the horrific traffic jams caused by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting in Metro Manila.

Uh-oh, the apology could mean that more bitter botch-ups by the administration could be shaping up, with those man-made disasters bound to happen again and again. Methinks the boys were getting so comfy in saying “sorry,” as if doing so would readily relieve us of our misery, that we should just expect more of the same incompetence from the Aquino (Part II) administration. In their best performance ever as spin doctors, the Palace boys begged the public for understanding, citing the importance of the Apec summit to our lives, claiming it would yield for us untold benefits.

The whining crybabies among us, in effect, were just too selfish to try to understand the gains we would derive from the Apec summit. We could never be willing to take the sacrifice of wasting millions of man-hours and the billions of pesos lost due to the haphazard planning for the traffic, for instance, or even the foregone income of tens of thousands of “no work, no pay” laborers.


The way the Palace boys talked, it was as if the public was just bitter about the holding of the summit in this republic plagued by poverty, with its P10 billion budget for the Apec meet. To the Palace boys, the public outcry was really not about the out-and-out absence of consideration for the guys down here, who have already suffered from heavy pollution, dismal traffic and horrifying criminality everyday of their wretched lives.


Boss, really, the guys down here were simply angry over the way the administration bungled the whole darn thing, from the planning to the execution. Why did the Aquino (Part II) administration, for instance, refuse to hold the summit at the Clark Freeport Zone, as once suggested by a former president? Well, the zone just did not have enough facilities.

But why did the administration not try to build the facilities in the past three years? Well, the administration decided that it would not have enough time to do so. And so why did the administration bid for the holding of the Apec summit here in the first place?

Crime rate

Talking about criminality, the guys down here almost died laughing over the way our national police force, the PNP, recently bungled its own report on the crime rate. Not too long ago, news articles showed the crime rate in the country went up by almost 50 percent in the first half of 2015, based on statistics coming from, well, the PNP itself.

Lo and behold, in just two days, the PNP was able to reverse the alarming rise in the crime rate, simply by denying the very same statistics that it compiled, claiming that the crime rate actually even dropped by 15 percent in those months. According to the PNP, the reported crime incident of almost 900,000 during the period came from raw data that needed to be validated, so that the final “validated” number was only a little more than 500,000 incidents.

So the PNP was able to “invalidate” about 40 percent of the crime incidents that it registered. Based on the latest survey among top executives here that was done by Switzerland-based World Economic Forum, “crime and theft” still ranked high in the problematic factors of doing business in the Philippines.


Favored destination?

Out of courtesy, let us not laugh at our leader, BS, and the Palace boys for peddling to us the propaganda line that, under the Aquino (Part II) administration, this country became the most favored investment destination in the entire universe. The sad reality was that, among Asean members, we were not doing well all along in attracting foreign direct investments, which the WEF survey indicated was partly due to rising criminality.

For example, the Norwegian national who owns a resort on Samal Island (just off Davao City) is still held hostage by the dreaded Abu Sayyaf group, along with two Canadian tourists and a Filipina. The terrorists supposedly demanded a ransom of P1 billion for each hostage.

The banner news in other Asean countries the other day, on the other hand, was the beheading of the Malaysian national that was also kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf.

Adding to our image problem abroad was the continuing breakdown of law and order in the streets, with all those crime incidents such as theft, burglary and murders, perpetrated by motorcycle-riding criminals.

Really, did the Aquino (Part II) administration think the “riding-in-tandem” modus would simply go away just by its repeating the “daang matuwid (straight path)” mantra every chance our leader BS and his lapdogs could get? No wonder, even after declaring for the nth time he was not interested in running for the presidency, the tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is still getting a lot of egging from the public for him to join the elections in 2016.

Duterte still managed to get double-digit approval ratings in popularity surveys for presidential bets despite his adamant refusal to give in to public demand.

Why? I guess it was his tough stance against criminality in his home city. People probably figured that, if he could drive criminals away from Davao City, he could certainly try to do the same in the entire country.

More than anything else, however, the business community was worried over the growing threat of terrorism worldwide, as evidenced by the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, France, which was attributed to extremists.

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Apparently, some groups believed that, among the presidential contenders at the moment, they could not choose one who could impose an “iron will,” so to speak, that would be needed to fight the rising criminality and threat of terrorism in this country.

TAGS: apec 2015, Business, column, conrado r. banal iii, traffic

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