By: Elena Grace Flores
In connection with Roberto Ongpin, the business tycoon named by the president as an oligarch, has resigned as board chairman and director in Philweb, the online gaming company. Duterte’s highlighting Ongpin is far from fair because Ongpin is not the only oligarch in this country if that is really true. The reality is that – Philippines is controlled and run by oligarchs in connovance with political dynasts.
As written in Manila Times: “The Philippines is a rich country, where the people are poor, and there is extreme wealth sitting alongside extreme poverty. “It is an archipelago of 7,107 islands, and an oligarchipelago of 100 ruling families. “Business oligarchs and political dynasties have combined to turn the opportunity of becoming a democracy into creating a full- blown plutocracy.”
To clarify, an oligarchy is described as a form of government in which power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique. It simply means government by few rich people. Aristotle was the one who used of the term “oligarchy” first. Whereas plutocracy is a form of oligarchy and defines a society ruled or controlled by a small minority of the wealthiest citizens.
An example of this was Lee Kuan Yew’s suggesting that rich people should be given two votes in an election, compared to one vote for regular citizens. Singapore even think that this is an undemocratic idea.
Duterte however attacks both the oligarchs and plutocracy. He is not drectomh his attacks to actual rule by the very rich, but their influence on policy and the means of power, which allow them to accumulate more wealth. The wealthy do not rule in the Philippines; they just influence political events in a way that favors the politicians that they support or the policies that they advocate.
Here are Statistics showing the above claims:
1.Wealth of top 10 Filipino oligarchs
2009 — $11.1 billion
2014 — $50.6 billion
Increase — $39.5 billion
2. National GDP
2009 — $168.3 billion
2014 — $284.5 billion
Increase — $ 116.2 billion
3. Tax of top 10 oligarchs
2009-2014 – only $2 billion
Only 25 of the top 50 oligarchs are on the list of top 500 taxpayers.
Quite striking is his table of the wealth of the top 10 richest Filipinos
as percentage of national G DP in comparison with those of other countries, which have the same number of billionaires as we do.
4. Wealth of top 10 individuals
As percentage of national GDP
Saudi Arabia—6.9 percent of GDP
Norway – 4.9 percent
Australia – 3.0 percent
South Korea – 3.0 percent
Philippines – 17.0 percent (this is an increase from 15 percent in 2012)
Note that the Philippines is Asia’s second fastest growing economy next to Chna. The growth has been traced from the businesses of the country’s 50 richest families.
According to the latest statistics from Forbes magazine, the collective wealth of the country’s richest grew by about 13 % in 2014, standing at $74.2 billion. Up from $65.8 billion in 2013.
Here’s the most interesting fact: The collective wealth of the country’s 50 richest individuals in 2014 accounted for 25.7 % of the country ‘s full-year GDP.
The most alarming aspect of the Philippine situation is the way business oligarchs have combined with political dynasts to control policy and power in the country. Seventy-five percent (75%) of Filipino lawmakers come from dynastic families. Oligarchs help them get elected or reelected by providing substantial campaign contributions in every election. Together, oligarchs and dynasts have a stranglehood on political and economic power. This is what keeps our people and our country poor – but hold on, one of the many campaign contributors of Duterte’s presidential campaign was a Chinese businessman right?