A success story

BBM IN 2023

By Tony Lopez

Marcos Jr. has had a successful foreign policy.  The Philippines is a “friend to all, enemy to none”.   That means plainly, Manila is back under the cozy orbit of Washington DC and all the power projection that alliance entails. 

In 2023, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. will have one of the most successful first year presidencies by a newly elected Philippine president.

Consider the following:

Under BBM, our economy has been unusually strong, with a 2023 growth rate of close to 6% (probably 5.6%), the highest in the ASEAN region.  The Philippines will again show the highest growth in ASEAN during 2024.  Congrats, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the head of BBM’s economic team.

Opposition decimated

The opposition has been decimated to near oblivion. Leni Robredo, the opposition presidential candidate BBM convincingly trounced in May 2022, has not been heard from, seemingly enjoying instead, the pride of academic decorations and the pleasures of tourism expeditions.

Potential oppositionists, like the feisty former Senator Leila de Lima, have been accommodated. Lawyer de Lima will soon be a free woman, thanks to the Philippines’ unique criminal justice system and the air of benevolence and attitude of benign neglect under the BBM administration towards such controversial political figures.

Insurgencies of all kinds are about to end (except for terrorism).  Under four presidential proclamations, BBM on Nov. 22, 2023 granted amnesty to those who “committed crimes in pursuit of political beliefs,” whether it’s punishable under special penal laws of the Revised Penal Code.  That steals the thunder from guerillas of the New People’s Army and the Muslim separatists.

Besides, rice might just be retailed for only P20 per kilo.  Rebellion is mainly about land, food, and needs.

Dutertes neutralized

Future rivals for power, like the Duterte family, are systematically being neutralized, rendered irrelevant, if not obliterated entirely eventually. Vice President Sara Duterte has been portrayed as someone hungry for hundreds of millions of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF), thus grossly diminishing her political standing and her popularity. 

The Duterte family’s favorite propaganda boombox, SMNI of Pastor Quiboloy, is being threatened with a franchise revocation, ala ABS-CBN.

Adding to Sara’s travails, the Philippines again scored among the lowest ratings in math, science and reading in the world, making Filipino 15-year-olds among the most stupid, if not the most stupid, teenagers on earth.  Educating 15-year-olds is the domain of Sara’s Department of Education, and DepEd has failed badly.  To reform Philippine education, we probably need to abolish DepEd in its present form.

Patriarch former President Duterte may soon expect a visit from “observers” from the International Criminal Court which has resumed its probe into Digong’s war on drugs when he was mayor of Davao City.

PH to rejoin ICC?

Previously, Marcos Jr.  had said “the Philippines has no intention of rejoining the 123-member ICC.” But he has changed his tune lately.  BBM has said he’s considering rejoining the court, as some lawmakers have urged.  “Should we return under the fold of the ICC?” the COVID-stricken Marcos told reporters last Friday. “That’s again under study. So, we’ll just keep looking at it and see what our options are.”

Finally, BBM has had a successful foreign policy.   The Philippines is a “friend to all, enemy to none”.   That means plainly, Manila is back under the cozy orbit of Washington DC and all the power projection that that entails.  That means free access to American troops and their allies to up to nine military bases in the Philippines, more frequent US-Philippine military exercises, larger and more frequent US naval presence in the South China Sea, and maybe, donations of more modern American weapons, vessels, and surveillance systems from America.  


Of course, President Biden and his security officials have kept repeating US defense commitments to the Philippines are “ironclad”, that response will be swift and immediate in case of an attack  on Filipino aircraft, vessels and armed forces in Philippine territory, including the West Philippine Sea.

Since 1986, nearly all the post-People Power presidents began and ended their freshman badly.  Cory Aquino began her first year with a recession and ended 1986 with a so-so 3.5% GDP growth.

Joseph Ejercito Estrada began his first-year presidency also with a recession but ended the full year 1999 with a 3.0% economic growth, lower than Cory’s 3.4% in 1986. Gloria Arroyo began 2001 with a 2.5% first quarter growth and ended the whole year with 2.875% GDP growth. Fidel Ramos began with a recession in 1992 and ended his first full year,1993, with a dismal 2.1% GDP growth.

Noynoy Aquino III began his presidency with a strong 7.3% third quarter GDP growth in 2010, thanks to economic reforms under his predecessor, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whom he sent to jail (a hospital confinement), only for the only son of Cory to end his first full year as president, 2011, with 3.675% GDP growth. The only exception to the pattern of presidential economic bungling in their first year in office was Rodrigo Duterte, a self-confessed no-expert on the economy. In his first full year, in 2017, the former prosecutor turned killer of drug lords (6,000 to 27,000 victims, depending on who you talk to), scored a winsome 6.7% GDP growth.