In 1957, the World Bank classified the Philippines the second largest economy in Asia. ASEAN countries were sending their economists to the country to learn what the Philippines were doing. Then Ferdinand Marcos came to power and remained there not only through election-rigging, but more importantly, with assistance from the CIA. After two decades of Martial Law, the Philippines is now one of the poorest countries in the region.
Marcos had looted the country and disrupted the economy so badly that the foreign debt he left behind ($27Billion) is still being paid by the government. It is presently 90% of gross domestic product, and 37% of the national budget pays the interest on this debt. Imelda Marcos disclosed that the Marcos fortune was larger than anyone could imagine–more than enough, she said, to pay for the country’s entire foreign debt. Marcos certainly did not earn that collecting metal scrap, which it was rumoured he was engaged in before he entered politics.
Corruption is one of the most disruptive forces in the country. This abuse of trust, this use of position for personal advantage is so commonplace, it is regarded as a banal circumstance from which a supplementary source of income is derived. If favours cannot be bought, the rule of the pro-American elite in the country is enforced by private armies of killers.
Religion is another disruptive force. The Philippines has one of the highest birth rates in the world. That translates to 1.7 million more mouths to feed per year. The growth rate remains unchecked because Catholicism ensures that the idle poor produce more of their kind, bringing down the economy with it.
The idle poor are an uneducated class and unfortunately, they are the electorate majority in the country. A high school drop-out by the name of Fernando Poe, Jr. is running for President. He is popular with this majority because, like Reagan and Estrada, he is a movie actor.
The Philippines has gone to the dogs, and there is absolutely nothing the more intelligent minority can do about it.