Development Crossing

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang umaga! Good morning!

The whole Philippine nation is glued today on the event that will see the installation of the new president of the republic, the Hon. Benigno Aquino III or ‘Noynoy’. Whatever
this day forebodes let us relegate to active file for the meantime, as my
fellow Filipinos bask in the optimistic air created by the election of a new
presidency via the first automated elections in the Philippines and the ASEAN.

The problems of the country are gargantuan, with governance problems of graft on top of the list. Tax revenues are falling short of targets, a ballooning budget
deficit is threatening another round of fiscal crisis, poverty incidence is at
least 1/3 of households, education is in crisis as it remains badly
under-funded, grains self-sufficiency goals are a mess, and direct foreign
investments or FDIs are negligible (1% of GNP).

Noynoy inherited from the outgoing presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo both boons and banes. The above-stated situations are the primary banes. The boons are the
graduation of RP’s economy from poor to middle income, the consistent positive
growth befitting an emerging market, the reversal of a fiscal crisis, and the
doubling of the economy since 2001.

Furthermore, the economy today has a balance of payments surplus, healthy current account situation, an annual foreign remittance level that breached the $17 Billions
mark, while both exports and imports have moved upwards after the 2009 slack. Our
Gross International Reserves or GIR stands at past the $45 Billion, enough to
buy us worth nine (9) months of imports, beaconing that the old ailment of lack
of foreign currencies (US dollar most specially) is now way behind us.

Thus, with the momentum of growth and big projects sustained at pace, the ‘high growth’ stage of our economy can end soon as we graduate to development
‘maturity’ before 2016. That done, we can move on to an ‘overdeveloped’
economy, the last phase of development, before 2025. Expectedly, Luzon will
lead in that effort, followed by Visayas and Mindanao

Roughly, RP’s Gross National Product or GNP will hit $200 Billion by end of this year 2010. The figure uses the nominal value of the peso to the dollar. If we use
the more accepted Purchasing Power Parity or PPP method, with multiplier of 4
to get us to our GNP-PPP, the country’s GNP is forecast at roughly $800 Billion
(using UNDP index calculations).

Such a GNP figure renders the Philippines wealthier than many European countries for that matter. Even the Dutch, who
were once the wealthiest people in Europe,
would bow in reverence to us Filipinos for our Herculean efforts expended to
get to where we are. Wait till RP gets to ‘overdeveloped’ stage yet when the
GNP will hit beyond the $2.5 Trillion mark (PPP), which is now a visible
possibility, thus effectively transforming the country into a creditor nation
lending funds to cash-starved Western and developing countries.

Banes notwithstanding, the Filipinos had so much gains accrued across many decades of post-war survival. From geophysical to political turbulence the Pinoys
experienced in grueling fashion of constant bombardments, yet the nation
withstood them all as it now stands tall and confident in the community of

RP has been transformed into a global nation, while its capital region Manila has mutated to a gigantic mega-city that is a constitutive part new global nexus of 35 top
megacities in the world. Dr. Jose Rizal, the first Filipino and first global
citizen of the humble nation, now possesses the reasons to feel happy over what
has become of that nation that he died for (executed by the Spanish regime in

Now that Noynoy has the presidency in his shoulders, and a liberal-oligarchic alliance has been installed to power, what’s in store for the country? We’ve had decades
of liberal reforms before us, with policy impositions from the IMF-World Bank
and global oligarchy, so will the Noynoy regime recycle the same austerity
measures and policies that led to greater mass poverty and the Filipino

Will Noynoy become an Akbar whose reign saw efficiency and good governance that led to the re-emergence of a country from the shambles of fragmentation and neglect
to prosperity and fame? Or will he be a Nero of Manila who fiddles in the
presidential palace as he watches his polity & economy burn upon his own

Where goes RP’s our gains after Noynoy’s six (6) years of incumbency? At the end of his mandate in 2016, will the Filipinos still sing “should I stay or should I

[Philippines, 30 June 2012]






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