05 Feb2010

When I used to work in strategic management consulting, my bosses often asked me to distill very complex issues into a 30-60 second answer. It was called the elevator response. Working for huge clients, often banks, finance ministries, etc. with as many as 10,000+ employees, I would be given the dream scenario of riding up to my team somewhere in the headquarters building, and suddenly finding myself alone with the CEO or head of the company inside the elevator. He looks at me, and says “so how’s it going?” Not wanting to waste that precious minute of time alone, you were expected to use it very wisely.

So what would you ask??? Assume you happened to get into an elevator and you realized the only other person in it was one of the current Presidential candidates, the one you are currently thinking of voting for. What single question would you ask him or her? He or she could only have 20-30 seconds to respond before the elevator doors opened again. I struggle with this scenario as there is so much I want to ask. Would it be a pointed question, requiring a yes or no response… such as, “Will you encourage the use of birth control as a means to lower population growth?” or would you provide wiggle room with a question like “How do you propose to solve the population problem?” Would you ask about the economy, housing/shelter, job creation, the environment? Or would you focus on his/her qualifications? Perhaps ask his stand on a moral/ethical issue to see if his mettle meets yours… Maybe a “If you saw a raft about to go over a waterfall filled with 30 older taipans and businessmen that collectively produce 20% of the nation’s GDP, and another raft filled with 20 young female public school teachers, which raft would you save, assuming you had the rope and means to save just one?” Frankly, I am not sure what question would pop out of my mouth if presented with this elevator moment… but I was curious what you guys might ask in such a moment? Leave a comment, and let’s keep this above the belt, okay? :)



  1. junb says:

    This is tough as I had given up that a president or a politician will be the savior of Philippines. But anyway a simple question for me is that “Will you be able to support entrepreneurship, improve our food chain (farming, roads, transportation,distribution) and help globalized the local companies?”

    I’m sure they will all say “YES !!!” …If they will do it heaven knows :(

    Feb 5, 2010 | 9:15 am


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  3. Libay says:

    This reminds me of the “Isang Tanong” of GMA. For that 30 second opportunity, I will probably ask that presidential candidate ” Give me one main reason why I will vote for you.”

    Feb 5, 2010 | 9:17 am

  4. bernadette says:

    I’d probably smile and ask “can I have your celfone number?”

    Feb 5, 2010 | 9:37 am

  5. Lissa says:

    I’d ask him, “what do you value the most and why? “

    Feb 5, 2010 | 10:04 am

  6. millet says:

    really depends on who it is. for some i would say, “what got into you” or “what do you think you’re doing?” seriously. but for one or two of them, i would ask, “how do you intend to take all of us out of this rut?” i know it’s not his job alone, so it would be interesting to know how he intends to involve everyone else.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 10:14 am

  7. mojito drinker says:

    what do you stand for? where do you see the philippines after six years with you at the helm?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 10:26 am

  8. Topster says:

    My question: “Will you use the ‘MASA’, bobolahin sila instead of pursuing the difficult but necessary policies which will help in the development of the Philippines in the long term?”

    Feb 5, 2010 | 11:01 am

  9. Cris Jose says:

    I’d ask… why do you want to be president?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 11:03 am

  10. Derek says:

    Hmm, good one MM. The UK will be having a General Election around the same time as the Presidential one here in Philippines. If I had that moment with any of the major party leaders in the UK, my one question would be this. “Sir, what is the possiblity of you and your senior party members signing an Avadavit stating that should you go back on one single electioneering promise that gets you into power, that you resign from office immediately?” I think I already know the answer to that though!

    Feb 5, 2010 | 11:17 am

  11. Lex says:

    I wish I would bump into Noynoy Aquino and ask him what can he do for the country now when he has not done much while in congress and in the Senate. Does he actually think that being his parent’s son is enough to make him qualified to run this country on goodwill and hope? Can we actually thrive on good intentions but no actions?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 11:19 am

  12. joel says:

    i would ask them: “how do you plan to recoup all the money you spent on advertising and campaigning on the current salary of president?”.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 12:04 pm

  13. Bubut says:

    given the chance to be the President, what will be your priority among the several problems of our country and why ?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 12:25 pm

  14. Ley says:

    After you die, how do you want to be remembered?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 12:34 pm

  15. WO says:

    ” Why do you think I should vote for you ? “

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:13 pm

  16. Pilar says:

    What do you have that differs you from your contenders?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:21 pm

  17. Joyce says:

    id probably ask do you believe in the end justifies the means? or how do you plan to bring all our ofws home?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:41 pm

  18. Ariel says:

    I will ask him if I can get a big contract that will give me instant retirement.

    Until you retire the crooks in congress and the senate; the President will not be that effective. I just hope that the newly elected President will be a lot different from other Presidents.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:42 pm

  19. Rona Y says:

    What will you do to stem the corruption that is endemic in all areas and levels of the Philippine government? Or will you just contribute to it?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:46 pm

  20. Marketman says:

    How do you plan to make back the PHP900million you have spent on advertising in the past 6 months, while others have only managed to buy PHP30million or less of the same advertising? Would you give up the family hacienda for land reform? Would you prosecute a murderer, even if they were related or a close employee? How would you deal with an illegal logger? Would you sell the entire province of Palawan to China to totally eliminate our national debt? Should churches pay real estate taxes on their numerous properties? If we aren’t overpopulated now, at what point would you say we are overpopulated — 150 million, 200 million, 250 million? Geez, I can think of dozens of questions, I just can’t decide which single ONE I would ask. :)

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:48 pm

  21. bambooshootjr says:

    What would be the perfect inaguaral presidential dinner for you and your party mates?
    Just curious if they’d want to go local or ‘steakside’ ala GMA

    Feb 5, 2010 | 1:51 pm

  22. tnm says:

    “How are you going to make the OFW secure enough financially to make him want to stay home for good?”

    But then again, the de-kahon answer is expected. Honestly, none of the candidates will be able to give an answer good enough for me. Sorry.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 2:04 pm

  23. kakusina says:

    In my scenario, any candidate who lies will meet the same fate as Pinocchio. His nose would grow. I wonder who would have the longest nose of all. Will it reach to the moon? The sun? The next galaxy?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 2:06 pm

  24. Pera ni Juan says:

    The one question I can ask is how much you loved our country. Many aspiring President candidates are running just for there own vested interest. There are just good during the campaign period but they will leave you out in the cold when there are in office.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 2:22 pm

  25. mary grace says:

    “Do you believe in the separation of church and state? if yes, would you pursue it if ever you become president?”

    Feb 5, 2010 | 2:27 pm

  26. ConcernedPinoy says:

    One thing scary, when folks like Willie, Pacman support Villar, I have a feeling that there will enormous payback and if he wins the Presidency will be recuperating costs of the campaign. On the other hand, I am scared of Kris and Boy Abunda running the government if NoyNoy is elected President. I wish there would be new batch of Senators and Congress Representatives. Some of them really have to be retired.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 2:32 pm

  27. millet says:

    very good, MM! would like to know their answers to those, too.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 2:40 pm

  28. ryanclaw says:

    My question will be as follows “What can you do to redeem Philippines from damnation?”

    Feb 5, 2010 | 2:54 pm

  29. chip says:

    It seems to me a more telling scenario would be if YOU are asked by a presidential candidate “what do you expect from your president?” and you have to distill all your hopes, expectations, disappointments, and perhaps even anger, into a 30 second response! -less fun, I think, because we’re the ones who are put on the spot. But Isn’t that what elections are all about? We’re the ones on the spot here. If, in the worst case, a convicted plunderer gets elected, we’ll all look stupid. Whether you voted for him or not.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 3:01 pm

  30. Cris Jose says:

    Maybe if I were in the elevator with whoever presidential candidate it might be… I’d “accidentally” lean on the floor buttons and push all floors above or below whatever floor he was heading … just to buy more time and ask more questions… :)

    Feb 5, 2010 | 3:31 pm

  31. Gerry says:

    Taken from the oped page of the Inquirer today:

    “Broadcast journalist Ricky Carandang tells us in his blog (http://www.rickycarandang. com/?p=460) that he actually took the trouble to interview Fr. Melvin Castro, who headed the CBCP group that drafted the election guidelines, and here I paraphrase Ricky’s question: How about those candidates who commit plunder and acts of corruption? Why are they not condemned like reproductive health advocates? Castro’s answer: Plunder and corruption are merely an offshoot of the lack of respect for the family and therefore not as bad in the hierarchy of Catholic morality as family planning which, Castro says, is anti-family.

    Carandang writes: “Flabbergasted, I asked if they were saying it was alright to vote for a crook as long as he doesn’t advocate modern family planning. [Castro’s] roundabout answer [was] in so many words—YES.” He concluded: “I grew up thinking that stealing money from the poor was worse than wearing a condom. I grew up thinking that betraying the responsibility given to you by the Filipino people as a public servant was worse than wearing an IUD or taking birth control pills. I believe that today.” I wholeheartedly agree.”

    The question then is this: Do you agree with the Catholic Church’s belief that voting for a thief who doesn’t believe in the RH bill is better than voting for a just man who is for RH?

    As a Catholic, it boils my blood that the Church has taken this utterly stupid stand. Poorer people seem to have more devotion to the Church, so maybe they want their flock to remain poor and devoted so the clergy won’t lose their relevance as what has happened in more developed countries.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 3:38 pm

  32. paulo says:

    are you proud of what you are doing?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 3:58 pm

  33. sunshines_mommy says:

    Would your children and grandchildren sincerely be able to take pride in your political activities, alliances, expenditures? Or: Are we going to hate you in 6 years? Or: WHY do you want to be president so badly? Ok, that’s more than one question. Too many questions, too little time!
    Good one, MM!

    Feb 5, 2010 | 4:27 pm

  34. Eden says:

    Hello MM, I just discovered you from a link posted by one of my favorite people, David Lebovitz who was linking your Date Nut Bars in one of his blog post. Ha, you probably know that anyway. :) I have been enjoying reading your blog … esp. the one about the livestock market in Mantalongon.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 4:30 pm

  35. Footloose says:

    A fabulous story this Lula guy. From a hardscrubble beginnings in the Brazilian Northeast, to a boyhood selling peanuts and shining shoes in Sao Paulo to Davos´s international statesman. The only thing that distinguished him from all the rest, from Brazil´s very beginnings to the Dictatura Militar who only lined their pockets and that of the multi-national corporation is that he had a vision for the workers of Brazil and he accomplished most of it in seven years. The way I remember it, the last Filipino who had a vision for the Philippines was Claro M. Recto.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 4:49 pm

  36. DaPalm says:

    How do you plan to take back the millions you have spent in advertising?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 4:50 pm

  37. Rona Y says:

    @Lex–you wrote, “Does he actually think that being his parent’s son is enough to make him qualified to run this country on goodwill and hope? Can we actually thrive on good intentions but no actions?”

    Why not? Being Ninoy’s wife was enough to get his mother elected. . . ;-)

    Feb 5, 2010 | 5:31 pm

  38. Lava Bien says:

    Me: ” Japanese or Italian? I could go for some sushi right now” (coming down from the hotel elevator to go to Tsukiji).

    I won’t ask them too serious of a question for that short period of time and expect to get a serious or satisfying answer. If he or she goes for either Japanese or Italian with or without their bodyguards, I’d probably get a smile and a better conversation and be able to ask them MM’s 100 questions.

    I’m sure they could use some chillin’ time with the Lava Man.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 5:36 pm

  39. bluegirl says:

    I would ask… of the many problems to be solved and goals to be achieved, which are your priorities? Of those priorities, which are the ones you deem you can *realistically* achieve? Why & How?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 6:00 pm

  40. Tonito says:

    In your political sorties all over the country, where have you tasted the best LECHON?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 6:47 pm

  41. chip says:

    @Gerry. re the church on RH bill, yes it does make your blood boil doesn’t it? This brings to mind a debate aired on BBC (Doha debates, I think). The question posted was: Is the church a force for good in the world?” or something along that line. One may think it’s a stupid question, how can the church not be a force for good?!? But the results of the voting was surprising. The voting before the debate was a close call, if I remember correctly, with the naysayers (those who do NOT think that the church is a force for good) winning by a close margin. After the speakers were allowed to make their case (speaking for the church was a Roman Catholic Bishop and a member of the parliament of the UK, I think, who converted to Catholicism) there was another round of voting and this time the naysayers won by a big margin! I thought is was quite sad that people would think that the church was a force for something other than good. But with priests like Fr. Castro, it’s not too hard to believe that…

    Feb 5, 2010 | 8:06 pm

  42. myra says:

    Do you think this is God’s plan for you?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 8:24 pm

  43. renee says:

    Of the Presidents before you, what programs that they did would you like to re-start or continue? I just think that, with this question, I’ll be able to see whether they reviewed what’s wrong and right with the Philippines and that they have really thought about it.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 10:31 pm

  44. Ramon Eugenio says:

    The great majority of our people rely on unsafe, unreliable inter-island travel which has cost us property AND lives! How exactly could you help me change the state of maritime travel in our country?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 10:32 pm

  45. kit says:

    while in public office, did you ever steal from the Filipino people?
    do you deserve to be the president?
    mabuti ka bang tao?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 10:39 pm

  46. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Hmmm, in an elevator with the Presidentiable I’m thinking of voting for…. first, I hope the elevator ride is on a high-rise and not just a 2-storey building. I’ll probably ask him just one question…..”When’s the wedding?” and then hand him my card. Hopefully, he will remember me, give me a call, and ask me to make his wedding favors….hehehehe.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 11:33 pm

  47. Dennis says:

    boxers, briefs, or victoria’s secret?

    Feb 5, 2010 | 11:39 pm

  48. marilen says:

    Thank you, MM, for a very thought provoking, soul searching, meaningful blog. Abraham Lincoln said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

    Feb 5, 2010 | 11:56 pm

  49. Tessa Cruz says:

    My biggest hesitation in even thinking up an answer to this is my skepticism about getting a truly honest answer. But if we’re assuming that we’re getting one in this dream scenario (it is a dream after all), I will ask: what is the one thing you get down on your knees for and pray most about?

    Yeah, a bit on the spiritual side – but I want to know what is front and center in this man’s heart and mind. Of course I’m also assuming here that the person actually prays and acknowledges that he answers to a higher authority.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 12:35 am

  50. ted says:

    Have you ever tried Zubuchon?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 2:26 am

  51. fried-neurons says:

    Well, first I would jab them with a vial full of sodium pentathol. Then, my one question would be: “What is the REAL reason you want to be President?”

    Feb 6, 2010 | 3:51 am

  52. Mrs.TAV says:

    I’d ask: If I were running for office with your exact platform give me a good reason why you would NOT vote for me?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 4:57 am

  53. rosemarie says:

    such a tough cookie question – probably I will ask him – can you hire me as team member of your dream staff?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 5:06 am

  54. netoy says:

    chip – hats off to you. you nailed it on the head. that question should be asked of the Filipino people as they are the one who makes a decision who is elevated to the highest office in the land. WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT OF A PRESIDENT? is it enough that they are popular; or that they were born into such power? or do they have the intellect and the heart to run the country and lift it off its current dire predicament?

    but how do we gauge that? do we listen to their promises? look at their track record? or just put them into office because we “like” them..

    sadly, we cannot solely blame the politicians regarding the state of our country. we should likewise blame ourselves for WE were the one who chose them.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 5:46 am

  55. mayz says:

    i’d ask them something very mundane like “who runs your household?”, or “who does your laundry?”, or “what’s the name of your cook?”. it’s naive, but i imagine that someone who knows how their own house is run and values their household staff enough might actually have a conscience.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 7:31 am

  56. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Off Topic- bloggers in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, stay warm and safe by cooking up some of Marketman’s recipes. I Hear that its pretty nasty weather there, as I type.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 8:17 am

  57. abby says:

    I would ask, “If you weren’t running for president, who among the presidentiables would you vote for? and why?”

    Feb 6, 2010 | 8:24 am

  58. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Off Topic again. Ferran Andria will close El Bulli in 2012 and will reopen in 2014.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 8:30 am

  59. jules winnfield says:

    to manny villar–
    with the billions you already spent, and are still planning to spend, on your campaign, how come you were not even able to allocate a portion of it to have half of las piñas get water, or fix your city’s horrendous traffic problem?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 9:18 am

  60. Fred says:

    applicable to any of them, haven’t decided yet.

    What specific action plans will you implement to ensure the transparency and accountability of your administration during it’s 6 years in office?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 10:15 am

  61. jules winnfield says:

    to erap–
    during your time, the pre-election surveys consistently ranked you at #1 and were considered legit, reflecting the true voice of the people, then how come now that you are ranked at #26 (ü) you call these pre-election surveys a scam? what are you smoking sir?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 10:16 am

  62. victoria says:

    if you had to vote for a candidate other than yourself, who would you pick?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 10:51 am

  63. panache says:

    itatanong ko po ay “if you were told that you are about to die in one hour, what will you do in that given time left here on earth?”

    Feb 6, 2010 | 12:12 pm

  64. tintin says:

    Considering that everyone of us is wanting and hoping for a change in our current situation, i would the presidentiable:

    what is the one thing that you would change in yourself and in your family that would certainly make / cause the difference we all are yearning to have?

    change comes from within, right?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 12:28 pm

  65. jules winnfield says:

    to dick gordon–
    do you suffer from multiple personality disorder? because if not, then the dick gordon we see in la salle-ateneo games, behaving like a belligerent, crazed fan, is really you?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 12:36 pm

  66. diday says:

    What will you do so that by the end of your term no Filipino child will needlessly suffer from hunger or disease?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 12:39 pm

  67. giancarlo says:

    assuming I was bill gates/carlos slim/warren buffet. I’ll give you 90% my fortune if you quit now, yes or no??

    Feb 6, 2010 | 1:18 pm

  68. RobKSA says:

    In very specific terms, can you tell me how are you going to deal with corruption?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 1:26 pm

  69. bmw boy says:

    If I like the candidate: “Parliamentary system – yes or no?”

    if I don’t like the guy, I’d probably just stay quiet and ignore the voices in my head telling me to shove the guy down the elevator shaft.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 1:39 pm

  70. asunta says:

    Tough question to think off… but on hindsight will ask , “How do you want to be remembered after your term ends?”

    Feb 6, 2010 | 5:38 pm

  71. sentimo says:

    Pwede bang i-hire na lang natin Presidente galing ibang bansa.: At least magtratrabaho cguro ng tama. Lahat na lang pareparehas sila ng tabas. Sanay naman tayo na may master diba?….

    Feb 6, 2010 | 6:31 pm

  72. Connie C says:

    So off topic but responding to Artisan Chocolatier. Thanks for your idea. It is no fun being snow bound under two feet of snow and still falling, but a good time to scour MM’s archives for cooking ideas.

    In the last day or so I have already made Hainanese chicken (did short cut by cutting large 3 pound chicken in 4 parts per Betty Q, made pospas (arroz caldo) from the broth and strayed into Indian cooking by preparing chicken biryani, all 27 steps and almost a dozen spices from what I luckily salvaged from my spice cabinet after a fire in my garage. So nice to have the scent of cardamom waft around the house which our landlady of our temporary rental housing did not mind at all. She even enjoyed the salted egg and tinapa toppings for the pospas served earlier.

    Next, if we can negotiate trudging to a neighbor’s house by the Potomac River, we’ll have a potluck lunch to ward off cabin fever. So back to the archives for more recipe ideas.

    Feb 6, 2010 | 8:23 pm

  73. Chery Lyn Senosin says:

    I’ll go for the basic siguro. Baket presidency ang naisip mong kasagutan sa lumalalang problema ng Pilipinas at baket IKAW? Talagang bang kaya mo o umeepal ka lang at magnanakaw,sa expression pa lang ng mukha nya siguro malalaman ko na kung iboboto ko sya o hinde kahit di na sya sumagot!hahahha…..Palagay mo MM pwede ba yun?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 9:17 pm

  74. t2rad says:

    1. gibo – would you accept the presidency if the arroyo machinery (re: cheating) was the only thing that could get you there?
    2. man + evil + liar – why do you want to be president sooo bad?
    3. noynoy – kamusta na si shalani? kras ko yun eh!
    4. the rest – barring divine intervention, do you really think you have any chance at all? (to which. bro. eddie would answer “of course! I was chosen by god himself!”)

    Feb 6, 2010 | 10:29 pm

  75. Tina, NYC says:

    How would your company be able to help preserve the earth in all its beautiful glory for the next generation ?

    Feb 6, 2010 | 10:40 pm

  76. pinayinny says:

    to noy: can you really control kris and not make politics so showbiz?

    Feb 7, 2010 | 2:05 am

  77. JplusOandD says:

    How would you approach democratic reform and reinvigorate democratic citizenship in the country?

    Feb 7, 2010 | 2:45 am

  78. morointhecity says:

    i’d probably ask… what does progress mean to you? :)

    Feb 7, 2010 | 3:42 am

  79. marilen says:

    Just checking back to see people’s responses and my eyes zeroed in on ‘finance ministries.’ For an instant there, i thought it read ‘finance mistresses’!! marami nga mga mistresses – witness – John Edwards, Mark Sanford are examples here in US politics!! Of course, in Philippine politics, this is not much of an eye opener as it is here. The Filipino hardly blinks an eye when it comes to queridas.

    Feb 7, 2010 | 7:19 am

  80. Andy S says:

    To business-for profit Manny Villar: You married the richest woman in Las Pinas to get RICH, you become a Congressman and made MILLIONS from the government, then become a Senator to make BILLIONS selling overpriced land to the government, as President how many TRILLIONS are you planning to make? (God Please protect the Filipino people from this man)

    Feb 7, 2010 | 7:43 am

  81. betty q. says:

    Here is a scenario…no one in the company that my husband works for can aspire to become the President of the company one day if he/she did not start from the bottom of the totem pole. My husband, though he is a very hard working employee, can throw that aspiration out the window. The CEO believes that to effectively deal with the problems plaguing the company, the President should know it inside and out.

    In this respect, I would ask him what makes him qualified? Being a Harvard scholar I think is only a bonus. I would be apt to vote for the person who started as one of the masa ….only then can he truly say he knows what plagues today’s society….maybe Jose Rizal would be re-incarnated or this is just wishful thinking!

    Feb 7, 2010 | 9:36 am

  82. Marketman says:

    betty q., I wouldn’t exactly describe Jose Rizal as starting as one of the “masa”… In this regard, I like one of the candidates answers to a similar veined question of how can you help the masses if you weren’t one of the masses… his answer was “you don’t need to be a doctor specializing in leprosy to help someone with leprosy. In fact, you don’t even need to be a doctor…” I think regardless of whether one starts off rich or poor has very little to do with success as a President. I think it has more to do with vision, character, integrity, people skills, tenacity, hard work, intelligence rightly used, selflessness and a nice streak of benevolent dictatorship. In this part of the world, the examples that stand out as countries that have risen above their past economically (and all the advantages/disadvantages that brings) are South Korea, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, etc. And NONE of them did it with a purely DEMOCRATIC system of governance. :)

    Feb 7, 2010 | 9:45 am

  83. joyce says:

    isnt thailand a democracy though? here in china, state-controlled media loves to highlight the things that are happening wrong with democratic countries i.e. thailand, india, philippines. as if to say: you don’t want democracy. look! look what democracy gets you!
    i always tell my chinese colleagues how boring chinese news is because one is never allowed to criticize the government. hu jintao and wen jiabao are always shown just shaking hands and opening factories.

    Feb 7, 2010 | 10:34 am

  84. Marketman says:

    joyce, yes, thailand more democratic than others, but with the underpinning of an influential King that has been in the background for decades, and whose word carries a lot of weight… hence their development of the agricultural sector, crafts, etc. If the King isn’t pleased with a politician, somehow, the dude or dudette gets bounced. :) For me, one of the better examples of a strongly LED country is Singapore. A backwater in the 1950’s, today, nearly every citizen has a home (albeit tiny), good education, a job (for most) and an incredible infrastructure. At the other end of the spectrum, China has come in an incredible u-turn from heavily agricultural to now heavily manufacturing and export based, with the world’s most incredible reserves of foreign currency while still remaining socialist/communist. There is definitely a price to freedom, but frankly, for the 90% of the Philippine population that earns less than PHP20,000 per family of five per month, I would hope they would give up some of those “freedoms” in exchange for a nation to leapfrog or emerge from its current downward spiral… And the top 10% of the population needs to cut the crap too. :)

    Feb 7, 2010 | 11:04 am

  85. betty q. says:

    If I may cite an example, MM…there was a show that recently aired here and will become maybe a series…true to life CEO’s who traded their suits and jets for living the lives of their employees (undercover of course). These CEO’s were not apparently aware of problems that their employees have, what their work entailed and they are real people with real problems. After living the lives of their employees, most of them were humbled and realized who really were the backbone of their company.

    Yes, MM, I agree that you don’t need to be a doctor to help someone with leprosy. Just as you don’t need to lose a loved one to push for a bill to take these disturbed people who doesn’t blink an eye to cause injury or death. For years, a lot of people have been wanting the government here to do something about that. It took a hard working couple who lost their son and stopped at nothing until Grant’s law was passed protecting those people who worked night shift at gas stations. Likewise, I am sure that the whole world is familiar with Mr.Obama’s biography. I think at one point inhis life, he worked with the less fortunate and realized that to effect a change , laws have to change and be passed…not an easy undertaking but it could be done with perseverance!

    Feb 7, 2010 | 11:42 am

  86. Marketman says:

    Bettyq, in the Philippines, I think even just strict implementation of EXISTING laws without even having to alter them, would work wonders. There are some good laws in place, we just don’t apply them. And yes, I agree empathy is critical… it’s one of the traits I would seek in a leader.

    Feb 7, 2010 | 11:49 am

  87. Connie C says:

    MM, in those countries you mentioned that have progressed, there is less disparity in wealth distribution. My question then to the presidential candidates would be: how do you solve the problem of concentration of wealth and power in the entrenched few who mostly determine the economic and political policies that naturally perpetuate their own interests and therefore keep the majority marginalized and disempowered?

    Feb 7, 2010 | 11:59 am

  88. niceyfemme says:

    How do you think you can get back your “investment” to get this presidential seat? DEALS? Politics is one great business. Hate it. I’m not voting.

    Feb 7, 2010 | 12:26 pm

  89. Joey in Dubai says:

    My question will be: who is the historical figure (other than your parents or any other relative) that you most admire and influenced your political beliefs, and will you abide by that historical figure’s beliefs and teachings?

    Feb 7, 2010 | 12:50 pm

  90. Marketman says:

    Connie C, good question. In several of those countries I mentioned, there WAS greater disparity in wealth distribution after WW II, with economic progress came not only the rise of their respective “taipans/business elite”, but a swelling tide that brought a larger majority of their citizens up with them AND they have relatively FEWER citizens compared with the Philippines… Vietnam perhaps isn’t at that stage yet, but the others are. In 1945, the Philippine population was roughly 18 million, today it is closer to 100 million… In contrast, South Korea in 1945 had a population of roughly 16 million, and today it has roughly 50 million. Thailand had 17 million in 1945, roughly 71 million today.

    Here’s some comparative data, from the net, in 1950, GDP per capita was $1,293 Philippines, $876 South Korea, $848 Thailand, $614 China. In 2008, 58 years later, GDP per capita (nominal not PPP) was $19,505 South Korea, $4,115 Thailand, $3,315 China and $1,866 Philippines. How’s that from going first to last? We have no one to blame but ourselves, collectively. :(

    Feb 7, 2010 | 1:08 pm

  91. Jack Hammer says:

    I would ask : Can you Guarantee every marginalized citizen atleast one full stomach meal a day ? And what should we do with you if you cannot keep your promise ?

    Feb 7, 2010 | 1:51 pm

  92. fried-neurons says:

    Wow, even China has almost double the Philippines’ per capita GDP? That’s so sad. I mean, I know that China is now an economic powerhouse, but they also have a bazillion people. That their per capita GDP is that much higher than the Philippines’ speaks volumes about just how stagnant the country has been compared to its neighbors.

    I’m curious to know the 1950 GDP figures in 2010 dollars, though…

    Feb 7, 2010 | 4:34 pm

  93. i love sta.rosa says:

    magnanakaw ka ba? or kung hindi ikaw,paano mo pipigilan ang mga tao nasa paligid mong magnakaw?

    Feb 7, 2010 | 5:39 pm

  94. i love sta.rosa says:

    siguro nga hindi ikaw magnanakaw, pero kung wala ka rin anmang will power na pigilang magnakaw ang mga tao nasa paligidmo, teka teka, mahirap din yun, di ka nga nagnakaw, wala ka rin naman gagawin , pareho lng din yun.. haaay ang hirap mamimili, dun ka ba sa magnanakaw or dun sa hindi pero walang gagawin…

    Feb 7, 2010 | 5:41 pm

  95. i love sta.rosa says:

    pahabol pa, mas masaklap naman siguro yung, nagnakaw na ,wala pang nagawa, aruy! kawawang pinas naman….

    Feb 7, 2010 | 5:51 pm

  96. sentimo says:

    …i will just sing and dance
    > > >BOOM BOOM BOOM!”

    Feb 7, 2010 | 6:26 pm

  97. Connie C says:

    While there is plenty of collective blaming to go around, many of those countries instituted genuine land reform with government policies designed to help people keep their properties and not sell them afterwards ( Japan was forced to do this after WW II thru Gen MacArthur). These countries also have more nationalistic economic and foreign policies and strong states that intervened in the direction of their development with emphasis on industrialization and less reliance on the external market ( in their beginnings) as engines of growth. The corrupt and weak state in the Philippines of course makes anybody view the role of the state with great skepticism.

    As our own congressional representative Walden Bello and Senior Analyst at Philippine think-tank Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute fellow, states:

    [Paper delivered at the plenary session of the 2009 National Conference of the Philippine Sociological Society held at the PSSC Building on 16 October 2009]

    ” corruption discourse continues to be pervasive in explaining Philippine underdevelopment. In this discourse, the state is the source of corruption, so that having a greater state role in the economy, even as a regulator, is viewed with skepticism. Neoliberal discourse ties in very neatly with corruption discourse, with its minimization of the role of the state in economic life and its assumption that making market relations more dominant in economic transactions at the expense of the state will reduce the opportunities for rent-seeking by both economic and state agents. For many Filipinos, and not only in the discourse-setting middle class, the corrupt state — and not the relations of inequality spawned by the market and the erosion of national economic interests brought about by the liberalization of trade and capital markets — continues to be the main block to the greater good. It is seen as the biggest obstacle to development and sustained economic growth. This is not the place to discuss this belief in detail; suffice it to say at this point that this supposed correlation between corruption and underdevelopment and poverty has little basis in fact.12 (This is, not, of course, to deodorize corruption, which must be condemned for moral and political reasons!)

    Feb 7, 2010 | 8:44 pm

  98. Marketman says:

    Connie C, yes corruption is absolutely a huge problem, but it’s also because the people condone it, businessmen engage in it, rent seekers participate in it, judiciary doesn’t prevent it, and we as a whole, tolerate it. If one just looks at the Garci scandals, the fertilizer scams, the ZTE issues, etc., it didn’t cause enough reaction from the masses so that it made a positive impact. So corruption is definitely there, but so is the lack of a public response to it that allows it to flourish… In some Western countries far less outrageous scandals bring leaders down in a flash, here it seems to strengthen them!

    As for land reform, I am of two minds on this. On the one hand I understand wanting everyone to have their own property and capital. But on the other hand, large plantations a la wheat/corn/soy growers in the west are and should be more efficient. So what are we seeking to do now? Lease out vast tracks of land up North and down South to the Chinese and other neighbors to help us attain food security/increased production. So it wasn’t okay for Filipinos to control vast tracks of land, but now it’s okay to let foreigners do it instead… hmmm… :(

    In an ideal world, the candidate to vote for would be both honest and capable. The next would be honest and incapable. Then dishonest/corrupt and capable. Then worst dishonest/corrupt and incapable… If only ALL of the presidential wannabees were in the first category, then we would have a real race.

    Feb 7, 2010 | 10:02 pm

  99. i love sta.rosa says:

    honest and capable…. yun ang dapat.pwede kaya, tagni tagniin ang mga bawat character ng bawat isa at gumawa ng bagong president? hehehehehe, kung pwede nga lang sana…

    Feb 7, 2010 | 11:14 pm

  100. Connie C says:

    I would argue that alternatives need to be looked at by delinking ourselves from the traditional developmental policies that have kept many of us and other poor countries in our sorry state of affairs. Such alternatives as outlined by Focus on Global South are:

    “Measures for equitable income redistribution and land redistribution (including urban land reform) that can create a vibrant internal market that would serve as the anchor of the economy and produce local financial resources for investment.

    The property complex should be transformed into a “mixed economy” that includes community cooperatives, private enterprises, and state enterprises, and excludes transnational corporations.

    Production for the domestic market must again become the center of gravity of the economy rather than production for export markets.( an unlikely scenario if large tracts of land are allowed to muti/transnational corporations as we lose control of what crops would really be beneficial ex. genetically engineered corn that may have adverse effects on native crops and at the expense of local food production)

    Encouraging production of goods at the level of the community and at the national level if this can be done at reasonable cost in order to preserve community.

    Trade policy — that is, quotas and tariffs — should be used to protect the local economy from destruction by corporate-subsidized commodities with artificially low prices.( Ex. what happened to our Elpo and Marcelo shoes and textile industries and even our rice production)

    Industrial policy — including subsidies, tariffs, and trade — should be used to revitalize and strengthen the manufacturing sector.

    Deemphasizing growth, emphasizing upgrading the quality of life, and maximizing equity will reduce environmental disequilibrium.

    The development and diffusion of environmentally congenial technology in both agriculture and industry should be encouraged.

    Strategic economic decisions cannot be left to the market or to technocrats. Instead, the scope of democratic decision-making in the economy should be expanded so that all vital questions — such as which industries to develop or phase out, what proportion of the government budget to devote to agriculture, etc. — become subject to democratic discussion and choice.

    Civil society must constantly monitor and supervise the private sector and the state, a process that should be institutionalized.

    Centralized global institutions like the IMF and the World Bank should be replaced with regional institutions built not on free trade and capital mobility but on principles of cooperation”.

    My final question would be, yes we want development, but development for whom? and lastly, as Madam Solita Monsod says, ” Be informed!.”

    Feb 7, 2010 | 11:58 pm

  101. JplusOandD says:

    Amen to Connie C.’s critical discursive interruptions!

    Feb 8, 2010 | 12:14 am

  102. zerho says:

    I’d ask them what they think is the root cause of our problems here in the Philippines and what would be their solution.

    And btw i’dont think proverty is the root problem of the Philippines, it’s merely one of the effects.

    Feb 8, 2010 | 2:28 am

  103. quiapo says:

    Presidents have come and gone, and the country is still suffering; how can you make a difference?

    Feb 8, 2010 | 5:36 am

  104. GianT says:

    Why do we, the tax payers, have to give way to politicians / officials in the streets? Motors / SUV’s with sirens pave the way for them to come thru, even if they dont carry red plates. It just ticks me off because they are the ones who should experience the full force of Manila traffic for them to do something about it. Don’t they know that we are the ones paying for their salaries, including their “hagads”… talk about unfair….

    Feb 8, 2010 | 7:09 am

  105. Maki says:

    i will ask… so how did you find the super bowl earlier? ehehe

    Feb 8, 2010 | 9:27 am

  106. Jing_Bacolod says:

    “How often will you travel abroad and dine at expensive restaurants?”

    Feb 8, 2010 | 4:01 pm

  107. Footloose says:

    Did Molly Ivin´s jive about removing all the fools in congress makes it unrepresentative mean we only get the government we deserve?

    Feb 8, 2010 | 5:20 pm

  108. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    @MM & CC – monitoring your posts, a few things come to mind. 1. The historical trend of the PI coming from first to last in terms of economic growth. 2. Politics 3. Culture.

    Watching news from the Philippines, its seems that the issues within these three are well known. From the reports it seems that the politicians are discussing issues, albeit with altruistic endeavors. Despite this and the continuing downward slope, there is a sympathy and acceptance for what it is. It seems that despite all of this, is when all of this going to stop?

    The world has benefited from Philippine talent (medicine, engineering, etc). What is it going to take for the leaders and their colleagues in those professions, to invest and develop in the Philippine economy and at the same time, be role models to the international community to invest in the Philippines? By investing, not meaning taking advantage of ‘cheap labor’, but rather as global economic partners.

    I guess that would be my elevator question.

    Feb 9, 2010 | 2:36 am

  109. jules winnfield says:

    GianT, you’d be surprised to find out some of these street kings, with their police sirens and back-up suv’s (with basic military arsenal) aren’t even government officials. some of them are just rich, well-connected businessmen who either have genuine fear for the laws of karma catching up with them or they just want to impress their kind.

    ok mm, here’s my one question:

    exactly how passionate are you in your desire to improve the lives of the hungry and impoverished?

    Feb 9, 2010 | 11:03 am

  110. Andy S says:

    IF 90% of Filipinos earn less than 20,000 pesos/year, we must first improve their income.
    1. Encourage rural folks to plant more fruits and vege. Give them FREE seeds like Ponkan oranges that can grow locally, supervised by agriculturist. Build roads and bridges to bring product to market. Will result to more income and less importation of Ponkan orange.
    2. Encourage same to grow small animals like chiken, sell what they cannot consume. Adopt lease/lend animal program. Result would be more income, healthier Pinoys and less imports.
    3. Make sure there is money for the above, corruption must STOP from top to bottom. Elect only uncorruptable offcials or those less prone to corruption. Don’t vote for a candidate that
    is spending BILLIONS for a position that earns less than a million. You know for sure he will get it back plus 500% or more interest that is why he wants the positionn badly. Elect an honest person so funds will ba available for roads, bridges, schools, medicines and other programs that will improve the earnings of 90% of Filipinos. GOD bless the Philippines

    Feb 10, 2010 | 1:42 pm

  111. Chris says:

    I would ask, “Of all your accomplishments as a public servant, which one has served the greatest good – the one that has impacted the most Filipinos positively?”

    Feb 13, 2010 | 12:02 pm

  112. marichu ramos says:

    This is my dream scenario too and it’ll be easy for me to ask “DO YOU SUPPORT THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL?” I feel the bottomline of all our problems is runaway population growth. There are no problems with our attitude. We have our values in place. Our problems lie with our political leaders and our staggering population. No matter how many slex, nlex, wlex or elex we build, no matter if our growth is like China’s, IF WE DO NOT CONTROL OUR POPULATION, every effort, time, money will go down the drain. It’s a no brainer. No matter how big the vessel is, if water continues to pour, it will overflow and overflow relentlessly.

    Feb 16, 2010 | 9:08 am

  113. corianderie says:

    As president, what would you be prepared to give up in exchange for the freedom of your favorite family member being held hostage by vicious terrorists?


    You, your family and most trusted personnel happen to be in the presidential yacht that has met an accident and is now sinking. For whatever reason, you as President must be saved and hence have to board the rescue raft that could unfortunately fit only one other person. Those you leave behind have a very slim chance of survival. Who would you bring along with you–your mom, spouse, your only child, your lawyer, defense secretary, etc?


    Assuming you staunchly practice your religion and there is a law being proposed that is widely popular among legislators and the masa alike but which goes against the very core of what you believe in, would you support this law?

    Great blog!

    Feb 16, 2010 | 4:58 pm


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