On December 30, 2008, I published a list of Ten Predictions for the Philippines for 2009. Here we are just getting started on July already, so the year is already half way complete! Time flies, don’t you think? I figured it would be a good time to go back and review my Ten Predictions, and see where we stand on them. So, let’s have a look.
Here are my Ten Predictions that I made for 2009:
- Terrorism. I predicted that the Philippines would experience some kind of terrorist attack in 2009. On this, I would say that as of now, there have been some terror related events in the Philippines. There have been multiple kidnappings in Mindanao. Several high profile kidnappings of foreigners have already occurred in 2009, including the kidnapping in January of three Red Cross workers in Sulu. Of those three, two have been released and one remains hostage at this time. In addition, there have been a number of kidnappings of Filipinos as well, notably a group of school teachers from the Zamboanga Peninsula. All of these kidnappings have been conducted by the Abu Sayyaf Group, a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda. In addition, there have been several bombing incidents in various locations as well. However, to date, I would not classify any of these events as the kind of thing that I was predicting for 2009. Personally, I hope sincerely that my prediction of a larger scale terrorist event was wrong, and that no such thing happens. So, as of now, I would say that my prediction is, thankfully, not correct.
- Charter Change. I predicted that Philippine Politicians would make a push to change the Philippine Constitution this year in advance of the 2010 Elections. While events are still happening, I would say that my prediction has already come to pass. I did not predict that it would be changed, but that an attempt would be made. Several weeks ago, the Philippine House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for a Constituent Assembly to change the Constitution. The Assembly may or may not happen, and the Charter may or may not be Changed. But, I predicted that an attempt would be made, and I further opined that the people would put down the attempt. Well, and attempt has indeed been made, and I say that this prediction has already been fulfilled.
- Presidential Politics. I predicted that with the Presidential Election coming up in May 2010, that at least one “non-traditional” candidate for President would emerge this year. I said that this non-traditional candidate could come from a Religious background, or perhaps a businessman. Already this early in the year, two Religious figures have emerged as possible Presidential candidates next year. The first, and most probable is “Among Ed” Panlilio, a Catholic Priest who is now Governor of Pampanga. Among Ed has already declared that he intends to run for President next year. Of course, it is early, and his plans may or may not actually happen, but I only predicted that such a non-traditional candidate would emerge. I did not go further than that. Another Religious leader who has all but declared his candidacy is Brother Mike Velarde, a television evangelist here in the Philippines. Earlier in the year, Brother Mike clearly stated that he intended to seek the Presidency, although lately he has backed off a bit, indicating his intention to focus on fighting the Charter Change movement. But, most certainly, these two men, who are both non-traditional political candidates have indeed emerged as “Presidentiables” as they are called in the Philippines. Another prediction that has been validated.
- Economics. I predicted that with the World in Economic Turmoil, the Philippines would manage to escape relatively unscathed by the Economic crisis. So far, my prediction has remained correct. The Philippines has yet to even experience recession so far. Even the harshest of economic predictors are now looking for the Philippines to experience only mild economic decline, with some predictors still saying that recession can be avoided altogether. My prediction specifically said that in 2009, Recession would be avoided in the Philippines. So far my prediction is correct. The first quarter numbers showed continued economic growth (although slower growth than previously). My definition of Recession, the accepted definition by Economists worldwide is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. So far, the Philippines has remained on track to keep my prediction OK. Still too early to call it one way or another, though.
- Lingual Education. I predicted that the Philippines would make moves to put more emphasis on the teaching of English to school kids. I said that legislation may or may not be passed, but that there would be a renewed effort on this topic in 2009. So far, while there has been some talk among policy makers on this topic, it is really no more than the normal. I’m still watching for this to happen. We’ll see.
- Retirement and Expat destination. I predicted that this year, particularly because of worldwide economic hard times, there would be an upswing in interest in retiring in the Philippines. I believe that we are really seeing this one happen. A number of other sites that I read have also reported an upswing of interest among Westerners to potentially live here. And, as I reported in my article on Monday, there is an upswing in the number of LiP readers who are going ahead and making the move to the Philippines now. So, I believe that this prediction is also on the “fulfilled” list.
- Mindanao Issue. I predicted that the Mindanao issue would make a shift. Either things would get better and the Government and MILF would reach an agreement, or that things would go the other way and lead toward more lawlessness. It’s still too early to call this one, although so far, it seems to be the negative way. There have been more kidnappings this year in Mindanao, a lot of bombings (although small ones only so far) and other lawlessness. I believe there is still hope for a settlement. We’ll just have to wait and see. Remember that my prediction was that there would be a change, either for the better or worse. While things have been worse so far this year, they have not been bad enough for me to call this prediction fulfilled yet. And, I still hope that things make a change for the better.
- Internet Business. I said that there would be an upswing in Philippine Businesses using the Internet this year. As I reported a while back, I see a lot of companies now using coffee shop WiFi to conduct business now. There is also an upswing in business at eBay Philippines and a new player called AyosDito too. I believe that this prediction is already a success.
- Broadband Availability. I predicted that there would be an upswing in the availability and speed of broadband Internet in Philippine homes. There has indeed been an upswing, but in my opinion not enough of an upswing to call this prediction fulfilled. Hopefully we will see more in the 2nd half of the year.
- Pullback of US Commitments to the Philippines. Right now, the USA has been busy with other things, primarily trying to save it’s own economy, and the Philippines has sort of been on the back burner. This in itself kind of indicates a move in this direction, but not enough yet to say that the prediction was correct. Still have to wait, watch and see what happens.
So, halfway into the year, and so far 4 of my 10 predictions are, in my view, already fulfilled. Several others seem to be in the process of being fulfilled. I don’t see any of the 10 that can be said to be outright incorrect so far. So, I think that is a fairly good track record so far. We’ll have to watch the rest of 2009 to see how things go down, and what my final record will be. Even 4 out of 10 blind predictions by the end of the year would be a respectable record in my opinion. We’ll see how it goes!