OPINIONS / COLUMNS  (September 15 – September 21, 2008)


Serious Business

Jay S. Ramos

True leader


At one time in the past this writer presented a report about subject of slow rate of energy in pushing from below economic growth and poor performance of attracting investors.  Apparently, the impediments were due to perennial corruption (no wonder our senators are at the highest peak of pointing one another), political instability, bureaucratic inefficiency or red tape, a fragile peace and order situation, inconsistency of or absence of political will to implement government policies, and still a poor infrastructure. 

To re-echo UN-ADB’s  latest assessment on Millenium Development Goals our  country has been falling off though the Philippine government has countered that our country is on the right track. Further, the UN-ADB report states that there is  little or no progress seen  in key development area.  Well, I surmise that  the only thing awing is that NEDA people are good in presenting plans and programs for this matter and yet the results are almost nil.

Why trust the UN-ADB repot, comfortably the UN Economic And Social Commission for Asia and Pacific and the UN Development Programmed tracks progress towards achieving the development goals relating to poverty, nutrition, education, gender equality, infant immortality, maternal health, prevention of HIV and other diseases,  water access, sanitation and environmental protection. 

The information stares that we have little progress on rural water access and rural sanitation.  However, it reveals that our country is said to be on the right track in  attaining the 2015 goal of reducing by half the size of the population living on  less than $1a day, increasing primary enrolment, reducing HIV prevalence and improving urban sanitation. 

Moreover, it pointed out that there is a need to boost primary education and basic health services—two MDG areas where the Philippines rated most poorly and would translate this into a P350 billion in funding  (till 2015).  In all cases, funding is a significant factor in achieving the MDG’s, thus in a very much long over due our country—our children’s children—are dead serious in need of honest-to-goodness economic managers and well behave chief executive.

Inconsistency of government policy may in part be attributed to the lack of political will exhibited by the nation’s top government officials.  The current political instability certainly detracts from the capability of the government to act efficiently.  The uncertain political situation has further discouraged businessman, foreign and local, from investing or initiating new initiatives and ventures.

The mood is decidedly cautious—a wait-and-see attitude is the norm.  If the mood spreads to the consumer market with the resultant decrease in consumer spending then the economy will surely slow down and plunge us into the depths of recession. 

In fairness, our forever beloved president is trying to reach out and must act decisively to resolve our political predicament.  However, will the price of cooperation erode the last vestiges of our president’s independence and render her subservient to those who helped her retain the seat of power?  If so, then the business sector, conversely the economy, and the people will suffer. 

Progress and prosperity silences dissension, hunger and poverty foment discord.  The surest way to boost the economy is through the infusion of new capital, the influx of investment.  Thus,   government policies should encourage this trend, not the other way round. Our leaders have enunciated sound business principles.  Therefore, GMA (being an economist) must now (as in now) demonstrate the political will to enforce those policies, even in defiance of patronage politics and vested interests.  Our country’s future lies on the true leadership of GMA.


Ilocos Times copyright 2008

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