Thoughtful advice for the Philippines from an international economist?

Bloomberg’s William Psesek writes today about the Philippines and althoug his headline is a bit of a downer, the article overall has some good points. The headline? “Philippine Soap Opera is a Downer”. The soap opera being referenced, of course, is the arrest of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the ongoing struggle over her status. The main point of the article is that the Philippines shows positive signs, as viewed from the international perspective, but if the quest to put Arroyo behind bars distracts too much, it may rob the Philippines of important political and economic energy that might better be directed elsewhere. It’s interesting because the article also makes the point that the push against corruption is a good thing and to be applauded–it’s just that, in the writer’s view, the push against Arroyo has at least a hint of a feud between rival Aquino and Arroyo clans — and as the author points out, prosecuting another former president, Joseph Estrada, didn’t help the country’s development.

Philippine Soap Opera is a Downer — The Ticker

Give it up for Benigno Aquino. The Philippine president isn’t averse to taking risks that could leave his $200 billion economy and 102 million people better off.
Start with his bold stance against the powerful Catholic Church, which impedes access to contraception and family planning in a decidedly overpopulated nation. Aquino is going after the billions watchdog groups say Ferdinand Marcos looted during his 21 years in power. Now he’s holding his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo, to account for alleged corruption.

This last effort is a noble one, yet it entails risks to which investors should pay close attention.

Read the full article at Bloomberg.com

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