If you ask me, there is almost a schizophrenic nature to the President’s search for investments.
Schizophrenic in the sense that illusion seems to have been mistaken for hope, despair for the appearance of being gung-ho. While I wouldn’t go so far as to assume that all his efforts are lost owing to the reputation of his father, I also wouldn’t put it past the ability of business leaders to grasp the consequences of doing business with a country where a Marcos sits at the helm.
It must really be an uphill climb for someone like Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to approach the world’s business leaders and CEOs and keep a straight face. I can only guess why this might feel like a poker game gone mad. Because no matter how he forces himself to appear disconnected from his family’s past, people will still conclude it’s all a show, by far the greatest circus act this side of Southeast Asia.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to diss the Chief Executive. It’s just that I’m wondering: How can Junior convince investors to shell out billions in moolah and help our economy when he couldn’t even lend his fellow Filipinos a hand from the soaring prices of onions? Isn’t he the man on top of the agriculture department?
I mean, if the President’s kitchenomics is already shot full of holes, large enough for even farm eggs to go through, what would his actual economics be like?
I’m no expert in FDIs, blue-chip stocks, or corporate bonds. But the little I know of economics tells me that while many foreign investors have long regarded the Philippines as a key investment destination (one reason being its educated workforce), they are likewise aware that there is more to bagging an return on investment in this country than simply “doing business”.
How a nation is led by its leaders should figure into the corporate equation. Why? Because political stability is the keystone to commercial stability. Markets are sensitive to unexpected jolts. Business has very little facility to thrive under politically cataclysmic conditions. The losses can just be too great to swallow.
A government that couldn’t handle its affairs with the necessary consistency is no different from an undersea earthquake fueling tsunamis everywhere. That needs no further explanations.
What is worse is when government, unable to prove itself as the underlying variable that reinforces socioeconomic stability, begins to take things for granted, perhaps thinking that the problem might simply go away, even die a natural death.
So, if Junior’s administration looks the other way, as it is doing now on the issue of the godawful costs of basic goods, what do you think his regime would do when foreign investors come running to him for help?
Granted that he would sooner prioritize the wishes of foreign capital than the needs of his own people, it won’t take long before investors see through the charade.
Remember, even after all the thug-life theatrics Rodrigo Duterte tried to pull off to convince investors of the socioeconomic stability he could summon at will, regardless of a high approval rating, stocks tripped over and tumbled every week, between August 15 and September 16, 2016. That’s a month after he assumed office.
You cannot rock the boat without rocking the captains of capital. On the other hand, doing nothing in the face of a storm while in the middle of the sea can be just as foolhardy.
So, the question remains: is Junior’s schizophrenic search for foreign investments really worth the bother – the bother being taxpayers’ money funding his trips? Or are all these just another B-movie junket out to trick the people into believing that he’s the man for the job?
The designation “President” does not assure anyone that business will come running to the one bearing the title. Business leaders can smell leaders who know their business. Making a quick buck is easy. It’s making a difference in life and in business that makes the work truly mind-blowing.
Does he have what it takes? Well, we have all of six crazy years to find out.