Statement published in the BusinessWorld’s March 17, 2010 edition, page S1/5.

We believe the failure of governance is the main obstacle to the country’s long-run economic growth and ability to respond to the people’s most urgent needs.

The failure of governance — the inability to enforce an adherence to the demands of law and the lack of will to uphold the people’s lawful demands — is everywhere evident. It is seen, among others, in unchecked grand corruption, the cynical and self-serving nature of many public appointments, the disregard for the letter and the spirit of constitutional rule, the failure to control crime and violence from private armed groups, and the pervasive culture of pride and impunity displayed by many who hold public office.

Of all these, however, the spread of large-scale corruption has had the most pernicious and far-reaching economic consequences. Corruption has sapped the government’s ability to collect the proper taxes, franchises, and royalties. It has distorted government’s spending priorities, perverted our statutes and regulatory decisions to favor vested interests, and dispensed privileges to the undeserving but well-connected. As a result, neither government nor private business has invested anywhere near sufficient amounts in physical infrastructure, research, education, and health care in order to create jobs and to reduce poverty. Government fails to invest for lack of resources and will. Private businesses — both foreign and Filipino — fail to invest for lack of trust that the rules will be fairly and predictably applied.

Low growth, high poverty, big public deficits, and deep public cynicism are the bitter fruits of failed governance and weakened institutions.

The call for a higher standard of public ethics, therefore, is not some abstract moral preference — it is an imperative for survival and development.

This year’s presidential election can be a defining moment in our history, our economy, and our daily lives if our people can rally around a program to sweep away years of corruption, wasteful spending, patronage, and mismanagement under an administration that has shown itself tolerant of such practices.

We believe that among the presidential candidates, Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III represents the best hope for such a change. Beyond mere words, his character and record speak of a steadfast dedication to effective, honest, and accountable leadership. He is dedicated to positively transforming the way we see and deal with government. From creating jobs to reducing the gap between the rich and poor; from protecting Filipinos working abroad to raising the country’s profile as a major investment area for the world; from working for lasting peace to firmly enforcing the law, Senator Aquino’s vision of governance based on ethical principles, a firm and fair application of the law, and a responsiveness to the people’s priorities is what our polity and economy urgently need.

It is time the Philippines once more had a leader who embodies the spirit of heroism and integrity we share as Filipinos. We are convinced that Sen. Noynoy Aquino is that leader.

The above is a statement from the Economic Agenda Team of Noynoy Aquino. The signatories are:
•    Michael Alba, former dean, College of Economics and Business, De La Salle University (

•    Fernando Aldaba, former chairperson, Department of Economics, Ateneo de Manila University (

•    Filomeno Sta. Ana III, coordinator, Action for Economic Reforms (

Economists who support the statement (NCR):

1. Cayetano Paderanga Ph.D.

2. Raul Fabella Ph.D.

3. Myrna Austria Ph.D.

4. Edita Tan Ph.D.

5. Vicente Paqueo Ph.D.

6. Teresa Jayme-Ho Ph.D.

7. Germelino Bautista Ph.D.

8. Ma. Socorro Gochoco-Bautista Ph.D.

9. Gilberto Llanto Ph.D.

10. Erlinda Medalla Ph.D.

11. Gwedolyn Tecson Ph.D.

12. Ernesto Pernia Ph.D.

13. Leonardo Lanzona Jr. Ph.D.

14. Fidelina Natividad Carlos Ph.D.

15. Carlos Bautista Ph.D.

16. Edsel Beja, Jr. Ph.D.

17. Emmanuel Esguerra Ph. D

18. Ruperto Majuca Ph.D.

19. Melanie Milo Ph.D.

20. Jose Ramon Albert Ph.D.

21. Rhoelano Briones Ph.D.

22. Rafaelita M. Aldaba Ph.D.

23. Rosalina Tan Ph.D.

24. Danilo Israel Ph.D.

25. Rouselle Lavado Ph.D.

26. Gerardo Largoza Ph.D.

27. Stella Quimbo Ph.D.

28. Ma. Joy Abrenica Ph.D.

29. Eduardo Gonzalez Ph.D.

30. Danilo Venida

31. Allan Borreo

32. Alexander Narciso

33. Meldin Al. G. Roy

34. Jessica Reyes-Cantos

35. Joseph Francia

36. Emilio Neri Jr.

37. Cristina Bautista

38. Philip Arnold Tuano

39. Romelia Neri

40. Reuel Hermoso

41. Joselito Sescon

42. Marilou Perez

43. Paulo Jose Mutuc

44. Sarah Grace See

45. Ramon Fernan III

46. Ernest Leung