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Bruce Porteous

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Having been living in the Philippines for the last couple of years some may be interested in my reflections in living in a third world country.

The majority of the population in the country struggles to survive, with little hope of escaping living in their poverty trap.  Most Filipinos main goal in life other than daily survival is how to escape their own country – living anywhere in the world is perceived better than in the Philippines under the corruption and incompetency of the current and previous administrations.  Even as Filipinos flee their country as economic refugees, the Philippine’s Government propaganda has exploited the situation by encouraging workers to work abroad to enable the country’s crumbling economy to remain afloat. The revenue from the OFWs (Overseas Foreign Workers) sent back as remittances to support their families living in poverty back home has become the main source of overseas exchange for the country.  The Government propaganda proclaims these OFWs as national heroes, yet refuses to accept responsibility that it is a direct result of their economic mismanagement that the economy has failed to generate jobs for their own citizens.  Never mind the broken homes and personal sacrifices made by OFWs to enable their families in the Philippine’s economy to survive; the Government has turned this human trafficking to its economic advantage, relying on the overseas remittances to provide the revenue to prop up a disintegrating society. 

Since the recent global economic crisis the government has borrowed heavily from overseas to prop up a crumbling domestic economy, with little thought how this debt is to be repaid in the future.  Sadly much of this borrowed money has ended up further enriching the ruling elite rather than be invested in expanding the productive sector of the country.  To maintain political stability and to pay for imported food and to keep the economy afloat, the government is now begging and borrowing from Japan and elsewhere ever increasing amounts while revenue to service this debt declines.  Continued government borrowings to prop the crumbling economy is seeing debt levels spiral out of control, with the Government spending a third more than it receives in revenue.  The cost of servicing this debt is rapidly becoming unsustainable, and if international interest rates increase as expected next year, paying the interest on the national debt could well push the country into bankruptcy. With this the Philippines is not unique – many other countries have adopted similar policies following the recent global economic crisis – borrowing to support government services as taxation revenue falls.

Philippine’s President Arroyo’s frequent and expensive trips abroad in an attempt to encourage overseas investment into the Philippines has achieved little tangible results, other than deals done to personally benefit those in power. Some overseas interests have been able to gain long-term leases to exploit agriculture land to produce crops for export back to their home countries – land that should have been used to develop local agriculture to help feed the Filipino people.  The Philippines is now the largest importer of rice in the world – it was once the rice bowl of Asia.

Many overseas companies have become reluctant to invest in the Philippines with its dysfunctional and corrupt government, poor infrastructure, high crime rate and uncompetitive labour compliance costs.  Most international businesses are no longer interested in investing in the Philippines because of the low returns, high risk and restrictive foreign ownership rules.  Philippines attract less overseas investment than almost any other country in Asia. The country should be one of the richest in Asia with an abundance of natural resources and talented people if the economy was managed effectively.  A high level of distrust and dishonesty means business is burdened with excessive overhead and compliance costs, even though real incomes received wage earners is low.   Government bureaucracy has stifled initiative and failed to provide worthwhile incentives to establish new business ventures in the country.  The Philippines has become a lawless land, where the economy and society is breaking down at all levels.  Crime has become out of control.

What can the Philippines do to save itself from self-destruction? 

The recently published book titled “Blighted” by former Philippine’s Solicitor-General Frank Chavez portrays the Philippines as a nation in the depths of moral decay, corruption, lack of leadership and greed that exists today. (Reviewed on  To many Filipinos the nation has sunk to a condition of hopelessness and despair for the majority struggling to survive in a failed dysfunctional society where the ruling elite argue amongst themselves on who can gain control of the country in the upcoming election to further enrich themselves.  The book highlights some of the corruption scandals that have been exposed in recent years in the Philippines without prosecutions ever being made. 

Frank Chavez quotes God’s promise to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14.  “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”.  It is only by the return to God and His Laws that is the only hope for the Philippines; otherwise the country will slide into total collapse and be taken over by a foreign power.

The Philippines prides itself in being the only Christian country in Asia.  The reality is that is Christian in name only, maintaining a façade while continuing to follow many pagan rituals that have been adopted as Christianity, rather than practicing the teachings of Jesus.  There are hundreds of different religions found in the country, though the majority are Catholic. The Philippines claims to be a Christian nation but keeps almost none of God’s Laws.  It is a morally decadent nation - to claim it is a Christian nation is a sham.

If the Philippines were to change the way their Government is administrated and based its laws on the Law of God, the nation would prosper.  This would require a total change at all levels of Filipino society, rejecting the pagan mythology that is often practiced as religion today.  Unlike the thousands of laws that now exist in the Philippines (most of which are ignored by the Filipino people), the Law of God is uncomplicated, not subject to change, and if followed would restore social justice, prosperity and peace to the nation.   The Ten Commandments is the foundation law for the Christian faith, but few Christians in the Philippines understand or observe today these laws, let alone non-Christians.  God has given us His Laws on how we are to be govern - laws which instruct us on managing agriculture, health laws, caring for the needy, economic management, marriage and child-rearing, business management, and social responsibility. 

The current democratic system of government in the Philippines appears to be incapable of making the changes necessary for the country to survive because of the competing political interests.  The whole bureaucratic government structure needs to be destroyed and replaced by a new efficient simplified administration if the country is to be turned around.  A group of respected leaders not tainted by the existing political establishment is needed to be appointed to oversee the administration of the country.  They would select a new chief executive to run the country – preferably some-one who has no political or commercial interests in the Philippines.  This person would be recruited from the international marketplace by an executive search recruitment company much in the same way as a multi-national company appoints a new chief executive who is answerable to a Board of Directors.  CEOs would also be selected for each area of government responsibility, such as health, education, finance, etc.  Many existing government departments need to be abolished as they do little to serve the people other than enrich those running them.  CEOs would have the authority to recruit and appoint new staff for running government offices – using modern technology most of the work done could be automated eliminating most staff, and the temptation to corruption.  Existing staff would need to reapply for positions, but any involved in any form of previous corruption would not be eligible.

Sadly misplaced nationalism along with undisciplined emotional immaturity has hurt the Philippines.  National pride and incompetent leadership has allowed the country to slide down the road towards anarchy.  As with many Latin American and African countries, the people have suffered because of corrupt leaders more interested in enriching themselves than caring the people they rule.

Police and military organisations have become infected with corruption, more interested in protecting their commercial and political interests than serving under a leadership of experienced competent administrators.  The law needs be enforced rather than ignored as today.  The death penalty bought back again for capital crimes and the legal service retrained to work with a retrained clergy in ensuring that the Law of God is upheld.  The clergy would need to be purged and replaced with a ministry that is prepared to uphold the Law of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Unless the Philippines makes changes soon, the country will self-destruct, sliding into anarchy,  erupting into civil war,  famine, starvation, disease epidemics, widespread unemployment, economic and social collapse.  This will only worsen the plight of the people already trapped in poverty, and probably result in China or Japan taking over administrating the country.

The Philippines is not unique – many nations around the world are heading down the same road towards insolvency as government spending spirals out of control, but falling taxation revenue creating unsustainable deficit.  The outcome will result in a chain reaction of governments defaulting on their debts. We had the banking crisis of 2008/09 – next financial crisis will be created by governments defaulting on their debts.

The world is entering into a dangerous age, where rising populations compete for diminishing resources.  The threat to the Philippines and to the planet as a whole from global warming will hasten bringing on disease and famine. History tells us the outcome will result in war – the condition the world is in now the stage is set for a precursor leading to another major conflict.  If it was not for the fear of another nuclear weapons then conflict would have erupted already.

The Philippines is far from unique with the problems of mis-government that its people have suffered because of poor government.  Most of the people living in the third world suffer under the same curse.  Their sufferings and struggle for survival will not be resolved until Jesus Christ returns to establish His Government on earth.  Only then will the world know peace, prosperity and justice for all.  This day will not be far away.

Recently this has led to discussions among European leaders on an alternative economic model – replacing market capitalism with state-controlled capitalism or National Socialism as it is sometimes known.  These same leaders are also promoting the need for a single world governing authority to regulate protection of the global environment and the world’s financial system.  The recent talks in Copenhagen failed because the USA and China did not wish to be subjected to such an authority or support its introduction.  A new economic crisis will create the environment when people would support the introduction of the new world order to replace the failed institutions that currently exist.

For more information on how this Government will be administered go to

Bruce Porteous