A major reason for President Benigno S. Aquino III's drop in public trust rating is poor economic performance. This public perception is fueled by inflation, unemployment, as well as surveys showing a rise in the state of hunger among majority of Filipinos.
Aquino III may find comfort in the fact that such decline in the public trust rating is true with all presidents: They begin their term with relatively high ratings which then slide midway and collapse at the end when most Filipinos begin to see the disparity between election promises and harsh realities on the ground.
Outside the Philippines, the whole world is rising up to demystify the “development” paradigms prescribed by industrialized countries and through powerful multilateral institutions led by the World Bank, IMF, and World Trade Organization. Instead of “economic paradise” these development models that were instituted beginning post- World War II, the latest of which is neo-liberal globalization, have only wrought income inequalities, unemployment, and lack of social services, among many others. So devastating and long-term has been the impact of these models on billions of people – not to mention the frequent global economic recessions or stagflations – that “occupy movements” have proliferated across continents while the re-study of radical theories is on the rise once more.
Even the WB and other global financial institutions have confirmed the fatal flaws of such models. But this week at the United Nations Council on Trade and Development (Unctad), former secretaries general and other top officials are raising an outcry against attempts by the centers of capitalism to neutralize if not completely dissolve the council. This is the rich countries' response to efforts initiated by council members from developing countries to regularly review and conduct a macroeconomic analysis of the globalization paradigm insofar as it impacts negatively on trade and development especially among the poor or peripheral states.
More pronounced has been the role played by elite- driven states in ramming through these models ending up in resistance by the people through street protests or armed revolutions. In both aspects of development – its economic and institutional components – the Philippines has been cited as a typical country where such models were imposed by the ruling oligarchs with implementing policies crafted by technocrats and so-called economic experts schooled in neo-liberalism or other western economic ideologies.
Development failure is closely linked to a dysfunctional democracy. A recent book about the Philippines launched by the UNDP last March sums it up: “A process of democratization can hardly be sustained in the absence of significant improvements in the material welfare and socioeconomic political conditions of the people.” The book proffers that the weaknesses of the state such as elite politics, patronage, poor political party system, and election fraud account for the poor quality of life among the people. It also notes that in the past 50 years poverty remains high and resource distribution is highly inequitable. (The book, Chasing the Wind: Assessing Philippine Democracy, is written by Felipe B. Miranda, Temario C. Rivera, Malaya C. Ronas, and Ronald D. Holmes.)