It has come to the point where his excuse, "GMA did it!" is starting to sound like "The dog ate it!". Even Bart Simpson can come up with something more original for an excuse. Worse still, it has come to the point where an official from an international organization has to point out that it was unfair for the Aquino government to blame Arroyo for the low economic freedom score the country got in the annual report on economic freedom.
Apparently, according to a news report from ABS-CBNNews.com, Walter Lohman, director of the Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center which conducted the report, the Arroyo administration was not to blame for the Philippines' low ranking in the annual report on economic freedom.
To add insult to injury, Mr Lohman had to specifically speak out after Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda defensively pointed the finger at the Arroyo government citing that "the indicators measured in the report were taken before President Benigno Aquino took over."
However, Lohman's rebuttal to Lacierda's claim made more sense than Malacanang's standard response:
[...] the country is facing "institutional problems that go back a long time," and these "need to be addressed over the long term."
In other words, it is likely that PNoy's own mother's stint in Malacanang also contributed to the problems 'that go back a long time.' As a matter of fact, his own mother, the late former President Cory Aquino was actually instrumental in creating the current institutional and legal frameworks that are causing major, major problems for the country.
Likewise, Lohman added:
"Factually, it is a report on the previous years, not a report on the Aquino administration. [But] it is an opportunity for them to establish a baseline and see improvement from there, maybe in next year's report."
The key words in the above statement are "opportunity" and "improvement." PNoy has the opportunity to fix things but unfortunately, there is no sign of improvement in the way he conducts things. PNoy is given a big opportunity but he is just wasting it. PNoy promised to improved things but he is not doing anything different to achieve it. Opportunity keeps on knocking at Malacanang's door but PNoy refuses to let it in because he has no more room for improvement. What PNoy does have room for, however, is a Porsche.
The Heritage Foundation measures economic freedom using 10 factors, which they call the 10 component freedoms of the Heritage foundation: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom. Unfortunately, the Washington think-tank reported that the Philippines slipped further to 115th place out of 117 economies.
The report even indicated that it was during former President Fidel Ramos' time when the Philippines achieved the highest score in the index with 62.2 way back in 1997. That was when the Ramos administration implemented key reform measures such as trade liberalization and the opening up of the telecommunications and aviation sectors to greater competition.
Sadly, it has been downhill from there "largely due to recurring reasons: pervasive corruption and bribery, barriers to foreign investment, and weak institutions, judicial system, and fiscal health".
Image-conscious PNoy now has a serious problem because it's not just the Filipino people holding their breath for him to introduce new reforms to "improve" things; international organizations like the Heritage Foundation Asian Studies Center are also monitoring him. But will he have time to do any real work now that he just bought new wheels? He even said that constitutional reform is not his priority -- without indicating what else constitutes his priorities.
No worries for PNoy though. His excuse "GMA did it! is still working on his millions of fans who's main priority is to be more concerned about whether or not PNoy will find the love of his life during his Presidential term.