Much has been said of the critics of the current Philippine President Aquino on his economic management of the country. Reading this commentary gives you a different perspective of what he is doing. At the end of the day, if you have to clean up the house, you should be prepared for some disruption in the normal use of the premises. Once cleaned, you can get even better use of the place. Its more fun in the Philippines.
From BusinessWorld Philippines
March 20, 2012
Noynoy-ying, Arroying and Pusiting
It’s more fun coining words in the Philippines. Take “Garcifying” which means cooking the elections. And “Hamborjer,” which refers to a multibillion-peso broadband sandwich. The latest to hit the media is “Noynoy-ying,” which is supposed to mean “doing nothing.” Some mischievous characters have also proposed “Arroying.”
Arroying means enriching the economy with one hand and stealing from it with the other. On the other hand, according to them, Noynoy-ying means not stealing from the government coffers, but not doing anything for the economy, either.
I was prepared to subscribe to that unflattering definition of Noynoy-ying until I came upon an interesting opinion piece, entitled, “Two steps forward?” by Gary Olivar.
Note that Olivar hardly qualifies as an Aquino publicist. After all, he was deputy presidential spokesman of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. On the other hand, you can’t sniff at his impressive business and banking credentials.
Olivar commented on the recent annual Philippine Economic Briefing given by Aquino’s senior economic managers. While giving credit to his former boss for setting the economic trajectory of the country aright (whatever her detractors say, Arroyo did well in this respect), Olivar wrote:
“The basic message from government: The last 21 months were devoted to cleaning house — through reforms in internal administration and procurement — with GDP growth deliberately allowed to slide to only half its previous pace. Now that the reforms are claimed to be substantially in place, it’s full speed ahead with renewed government spending. In Chairman Mao’s words, government took one step backward in order to be able to take two steps forward.
“The overall tone of optimism was set in BSP Governor Amando Tetangco’s opening remarks, when he spoke about the continuing strong fundamentals of our economy, e.g. system liquidity, low inflation, low interest rates, a strong banking system. Not having a partisan axe to grind, the BSP’s charts thankfully reminded the audience about the provenance of those strengths under the previous administration.”
Olivar then went on to cite the reports of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima (increased government revenues without raising taxes); Budget Secretary Florencio Abad (with internal reforms in place, 80%of planned projects already put out for bidding); Trade Secretary Greg Domingo (impressive influx of foreign investors and optimism on GDP growth of 7%); Energy Secretary Rene Almendras (electrification of twice the number of sitios with the same P800-million budget, but stymied by rising oil prices); Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson (25% savings due to internal and procurement reforms); Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala (reduction of rice importation and more efficient distribution and logistical systems); and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez (positive signs yielded by the “More fun in the Philippines” campaign).
To cap his upbeat review, Olivar quoted John Forbes of the AmCham: “I’ve been attending these annual briefings the last 10 years, and this is the best one ever.”
Having read Olivar’s piece, it occurred to me that, in Management, there’s another aspect of “doing nothing” or “not doing something yourself.” It’s called “delegation.”
Harking back to my years as an ad agency manager, I recalled how my boss chided me for “trying to do everything myself.” He then explained the importance of delegation.
“You delegate the tasks that your staff can do well,” he said. “But you still take full responsibility for the results.” And he added: “On the other hand, you personally handle those tasks that you shouldn’t delegate because you can do them best.”
Viewed in that context, Noynoy-ying makes sense: allowing the senior economic managers to handle their respective tasks and apply their expertise, while Aquino focuses on the job that he vowed to do.
We shouldn’t forget that Aquino was not elected for his mastery of economics or for his managerial skills. The Filipino people could have voted for Manny Villar or Gibo Teodoro or even Dick Gordon, if that was they wanted.
But Aquino was drafted and elected because the citizenry wanted a no-nonsense basureroto clean up the trash accumulated over nine years of Arroying.
If Aquino needs to brush up on Economics 101, that has been the trade-off. For sure he needs a Presidential Fitness Program. But, heck, we have to give him credit for picking competent economic managers and for allowing them to do their jobs while he concentrates on what he does best.
At any rate, if that’s Noynoy-ying, it’s certainly preferable to Arroying. Besides, there’s a saying: If you can’t be an expert, hire one.
Of course, whenever there’s a foul-up, Aquino has to answer for it and he has chop off the heads of the erring officials. Walang Kaklase. Walang Kabarilan. Walang Kamaganak. In this regard, Aquino has a problem.
Another problem is nurturing the presidential image. That photo release showing him “working” at his desk (to belie the canard that he’s doing nothing, get it?) was like portraying a physical fitness regimen by showing him with a hula hoop.
Was it the idea of a MassCom intern at the Palace? A Presidential Fitness Program, like a physical fitness regimen, requires expert planning and it must be carefully implemented over time (remember how Ramon Magsaysay was built up by the CIA?).
But to go back to Noynoy-ying and Arroying. I can understand why there are folks who complain that Aquino has been focusing too much on “jailing his enemies at the expense of economic growth.” These guys actually mean THEIR economic growth. After all, they have lost millions — nay, billions — in “opportunities” since being thrown out of office. That’s reason enough to complain.
The other day, a former Arroyo lieutenant wrote an opinion piece entitled, “House of political prostitutes.” It was an excoriation of Congress, ostensibly because it is controlled by Malacañang. The fellow conveniently overlooked the fact that his former boss was the original madame of the legislative whore house. And he was one of the room boys.
The other day, too, Chief Justice Renato Corona accused Aquino of foisting one-man rule, conveniently failing to mention one-woman rule by his favorite patron.
And speaking of Corona, we know that he has been a loyal follower of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. That makes him a practitioner of the Art of Arroying.
If you recall, Arroyo’s publicists dubbed her Gloria Labandera. That unwittingly gave away the money laundering aspect of Arroying, something senator-judge and impeachment court presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile would like Corona to explain, along with his SALN.
Expectedly, the defense team has threatened to insist on also having the SALN of members of Congress examined. That, of course, is a classic squid tactic.
There’s a new term for it: Pusiting.