So, I read the Forbes article entitled: Duterte’s Philippines Is Getting More Corrupt contributed by a certain Panos Mourdoukoutas who claims to be a professor at Long Island University and Columbia University in New York. Since he claims that he teaches at Columbia, an Ivy-League school, I was hoping to read a thought-provoking article. Instead, I was shocked at how elementaristic his article is, but also it was not very a well thought out one.
Let me explain.
Our Forbes contributor here has made some very wild claims about President Duterte. It started when Transparency International (TI), the world’s leading anti-corruption organization, published their annual Corruption Perceptions Index(CPI). The Philippines score dropped six (6) notches from last year. That drop ignited the professor’s wild claims. According to Panos Mourdoukoutas, President Duterte’s death squads killed freedom and democracy in the country and will also kill the country’s economic growth and equity market. Forget that death squads have never been proven in courts or even during the Senate investigation!
What is odd is that according to Transparency International in their website:
“President Duterte’s dramatic rise to power in the Philippines made extensive use of anti-corruption rhetoric. The impact of death squads, attacks on media and violent intimidation to the detriment of democracy and democratic institutions is yet to be seen in 2017.”
“YET TO BE SEEN”.
But not according to our wild Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas who has already seen it. What is he? A present day Nostradamus?!
To summarize his wild claims:
1. President Duterte killed freedom and democracy in the country
2. He will also kill the country’s economic growth and equity market.
3. That President Duterte is ineffective in fighting corruption.
That President Duterte killed freedom and democracy in the country
The Professor need only look at the Facebook presence of Filipinos and note how politically active we are, how openly we criticize any President and their administration! I was in Manila last July, August and September 2016 and went back April 2017. In fact, I attended the April 2, 2017, rally at the Luneta Park! If freedom is dead, why were we allowed to hold a rally in Luneta? If democracy is dead, mainstream media in the Philippines continue to flood fake news and distort our President’s words, yet they continue to operate freely. This Long Island University and Columbia Professor who probably has not even traveled to the Philippines is an idiot for thinking that freedom and democracy are dead in the country!
That President Duterte will also kill the country’s economic growth and equity market.
It is simply unbelievable for this professor to be ignorant. A few google clicks will land him to information that will debunk his claims. In truth, in less than a year in office, President Duterte is bringing a lot of investment opportunities to not only help the Philippines economically but also improve the lives of Filipinos. Is this professor ignorant or simply lazy to perform research? When President Duterte travels abroad, almost always he’s bringing business deals that’ll help our economy. You can find the List of international presidential trips made by Rodrigo Duterte here. For now, let me cite five (5) trips.
1.) President Duterte’s trip to China earned the country business opportunities worth $24 billion US dollars.
2.) His trip to Japan and Abe’s trip to the Philippines brought a discussion of maritime cooperation and other trade matters. In March, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) injected $9.42 million into the island’s infrastructure development while a group of Japanese food companies said they were pumping $500 million to process aquaculture products and combined with China, a trillion dollar opportunity for Mindanao!
3.) His visit to Brunei to work on trade cooperation in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area region, to make it easier for both countries to work on a partnership scheme in which Mindanao can be a potential producer and supplier of halal products.
4.) His visit to the Middle East yielded $925 million in investment deals to think that this was his first economic mission in the Middle East!
5.) His visit to Russia earned him $875 million in investment deals despite the trip being cut unceremoniously because of the Marawi incident.
Recently, the President inaugurated his “Build, build, build” economic initiative which is focusing on infrastructure. Together with all the investment deals, the President received from friendly nations, do you call them killing the country’s economic growth?
That President Duterte is ineffective in fighting corruption.
Time and again, the President maintained his position regarding corruption. He does not tolerate corruption. In fact, the President fired his campaign spokesman from his post as National Irrigation Administration chief after being told of alleged corruption. He has also sacked two of his fraternity brothers from their posts in the Bureau of Immigration. Who does that from amongst the previous Philippine presidents?
A look at Transparency International (TI)
But let’s focus on Panos Mourdoukoutas conclusion that President Duterte killed freedom and democracy simply because the Philippines CPI score dropped 6 notches from last year. In other words, he tied our freedom and democracy to the CPI index. Who in his right mind would do that? Nobody, but Panos Mourdoukoutas.
So let’s take at look at Transparency International (TI) and understand what it is. I’m just happy that the work was already done for me by Dan Hough, a professor of politics at the University of Sussex. His article was posted by the Washington Post entitled: Here’s this year’s (flawed) Corruption Perception Index. Those flaws are useful.
According to him, the CPI has limits.
1. Corruption is complex. A single score is not.
CPI is complicated because a country’s corruption index is boiled down to one score. The professor cited New York, a highly-urbanized city, and Kansas, a rural city as examples. According to him, the type, scope, and extent of corruption in these two cities are altogether different. So, how do you accurately cover such variety and bring it down to one score?
Also, CPI is a poll of polls, a composite index that combines data from a range of surveys and other assessments of corruption. The data isn’t collected by TI, but rather by other organizations. TI simply brings everything together to create one score for each territory. So, how do you measure the concepts of democracy, justice, and fairness?
2. Measuring not corruption itself, but perceptions of corruption
Second, TI doesn’t claim that the CPI measures corruption, but rather perceptions of corruption. Which means it is possible that perception and reality might differ considerably. CPI could be distorting reality or simply reinforcing stereotypes and cliches.
3. Measuring perceptions only of public-sector corruption, not that in private business
The CPI looks at perceptions of public sector corruption — in other words, in and around governments only. It says nothing about corruption in private business – say, the Libor scandal in Britain, or the recent VW emissions scandal in the United States. These events involve private actors, but they have very real public impacts, whether on the interest rates that people pay on their mortgages or on public health.
Finally, corruption is everywhere
Meaning, any country might be at the top but you’ll find corruption in that country. This does not mean that CPI useless. What it does is that, it helps to keep the fight against corruption by putting it on the agendas of policymakers. And according to him, may be its real contribution is that it prompts the rest of us to try to understand exactly where the corruption challenges lie, and what we might want to do about them.
Back to Mourdakoutas.
See how they manipulate the news to make President Duterte look negatively?!