by Boy Turon
There is this popular idea that the correct model for economic development for the Philippines is Singapore. From the time of the late Cory Aquino up to the present administration of her son, Benigno Aquino III, most of these economists, technocrats and economic managers from the academe, business sector, and government would extol Singapore’s adherence to economic liberalization as our way out of poverty.
After all, Singapore is prosperous and a key financial center in Asia with a high standard of living as opposed to the Philippines’ third world status. You cannot argue with success and by the looks of it, Singapore is a success model in terms of economic development.
But what is the hard fact behind it?
Singapore is a city state with a population of 5 Million as compared to the population of the Philippines of 100 Million.
It only takes common sense to figure out that you need more jobs and income to feed a still growing population of 100 million compared to 5 million. So what do the economic experts advise?
Open up the economy more like Singapore to create more jobs.
But as shown by our own economic experience, we have pursued a policy of liberalization or further opening up of sectors of the economy to foreign investments since the time of Diosdado Macapagal up to the present dispensation and we only got poorer and poorer as a nation in every administration — as opposed to the time of the Garcia administration when the economy grew and was second only to Japan in economic figures in Asia when it closed some sectors of the economy to develop its own import-substitute industries.
The economy went into a crisis again with the succeeding Macapagal administration when it reversed the economic policies implemented during Garcia’s term and opened up the economy. If our own economic experience would be the basis for a model for our economic development, the facts are clearly not in favor of Singapore’s economic liberalism.
Blaming the large and growing population
Our technocrats and economic managers have repeatedly said the same thing in every administration after Marcos and they have a point. After all, Singapore’s 5 Million population enjoy a high standard of living. A small population means less mouths to feed, clothe, and provide jobs for.
But the hard fact is we have a 100 million population. 5 million versus 100 million. Without a strong manufacturing sector, a service-oriented, free market economy like Singapore can only support a small population.
5 million, 100 million. Our population is still growing at a high rate thanks to the Catholic church’s consistent interference in state matters especially when it comes to population policies.
Can our our leaders show political will to implement population policies inimical to the Catholic Church’s wishes to transform our country to a new Singapore?
Possible but not probable. History have shown our leaders do not have the political will. What our history have shown is that the Catholic Church is the fourth branch of government.
Philippines, the next Singapore? 5 Million,100 Million and growing.