Birdtalk Yearend 2013: Deepening Crisis and Disillusionment


The first three years of the Aquino administration gave the perception of stability and economic progress. A confluence of favorable factors made this possible: coming from political crises during the previous Arroyo government, steady publicity about good governance and a popular president, cheap capital from unprecedent loose monetary policy in developed countries, improving domestic macroeconomic indicators, and business enthusiasm in some factors of the economy. There was shallow optimism caused by a break from the dark past.

Yet it was perhaps only a matter of time before the economy’s unsound fundamentals and unreformed politics asserted themselves. Major issues emerged in 2013 to dissolve the illusion that profound social, economic and political change was happening in the Philippines: mounting joblessness, growing poverty, rising prices, human rights violations, continuing patronage and pork barrel politics, bureaucrat capitalism, and foreign policy defined by United States (US) interests. These happened amid steadily increasing profit for big corporations and accumulating wealth by the country’s richest families.

The defining feature of the Aquino presidency is turning out to be exclusionary growth and elite-biased governance, This growth is moreover narrow and shallow as well as artificial and unsustainable. The country’s pro-market economic policies are failing to deliver development, there are scant political reforms and patronage has even been defended, human rights are violated, and foreign policy is becoming more neocolonial. The political leadership is facing mounting disillusionment which is fuelling increasing demands for political change.



The defining feature of the Aquino presidency is turning out to be exclusionary growth and elite-biased governance.


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