My column for today is Peace, and quiet.
A brouhaha over the President’s selection of Artemio Panganiban as Chief Justice hogs the headlines. The Inquirer (as well it might, since Panganiban was once upon a time, President of the Inquirer) says Appointment of Panganiban draws praise; the Daily Tribune grumbles that Puno disappointed, may opt for early retirement: Carpio, Santiago tapped for CJ post after Panganiban; ABS-CBN says Palace: Panganiban best choice;
(It’s useless to link to the Star, because their articles’ links don’t last, but the way Max Soliven has been crowing and gloating about just how wise and wonderful the President was in following his advice to appoint Panganiban, and just how utterly swell Panganiban is, inspires me to rebaptize him Gloateus Maximus).
Shameless plug: Korina Sanchez has a special one on one interview with the new Chief Justice tonight on ANC (I help write the “weaves” for her show).
For a profile of the chief justices of yore, read the Philippines Free Press profile of Chief Justice Ramon AvanceÃƒÂ±a, circa 1939.
America’s boy: Tony Abaya pulls a mean one by discussing the latest conspiracy connect-the-dots on why Uncle Sam may be out to get Mrs. Arroyo -and promptly says he’ll let in his readers on who America’s Anointed One is, after the Holidays!
The Business Mirror has an interesting editorial pointing out something we often forget:
…after the “people power revolt” at Edsa, the government of Corazon Aquino found itself staring at a real GDP growth of negative 7.31 percent the year before. What to do…?
Backed by one of the best-albeit perennially quarreling-economic teams, the Aquino administration went on a deliberate “pump-priming” strategy, authorizing the disbursement of millions of pesos for projects, especially in the countryside, that allowed vital but simple infrastructure (schools, markets, roads) to be built, creating jobs along the way.
This priming strategy, initiated by Solita Monsod, one of the best chiefs ever of the National Economic and Development Authority, went on for at least two years, enough to stimulate economic activity where it mattered and where it was most doable. It created a momentum that, mixed with new private investments and the planned use of official development assistance (ODA)-then coming out of government ears, because the restored democracy had so much international goodwill-eventually generated real GDP growth steadily climbing to 3.42 percent in 1986, 4.31 percent in 1987 and peaking at 6.75 in 1988, and then 6.21 percent in 1989. Before the Honasan-led foiled coup of late 1989 sent the economy on a tailspin to 3.04 percent.
I remember how everyone was brimming with enthusiasm at the time; and how it all came crashing down because of RAM’s failed putsch. The editorial says the government’s decided to embark on a similar policy of “pump-priming,” which sounds well and good. It offers the President great political benefits: having starved the bureaucracy for months now, a cascade of checks can only help keep people on her side.
Read John Mangun on how good governance is in a crisis here, because good governance can also be equated with economic achievement:
In personal economic terms, the drop from 55.4 in 1996 to 32.4 in 2004 means that the wealth of the Philippines has fallen dramatically. In personal terms, that means each citizen has lost US$2,300 or about P125,000 in wealth. Of course, that may not necessarily be money out of your pocket. Think of it this way. Every coral reef destroyed or every hectare of virgin forest burned down decreases the nation’s wealth and therefore your personal wealth. In the same way, a nation not following the rules destroys its wealth. It is true for the rich countries as well as for places like the Philippines .
And in a tart year-end wrap up, Ernesto Hilario asks, What if they started a revolution and nobody came? What indeed. As someone remarked over dinner last night: “in no other country but our own, would a national leader have survived such a scandal.”
A curious rant by Amirah Ali Lidasan: the problems of Muslim Filipinos seems to have everything to do with everyone except the poor leadership of Muslim leaders themselves. Not to mention the long history of Moro collaboration with the Americans Lidasan so detests.
The Philippines Free Press’s Man of the Year is Archbishop Oscar Cruz.
Slate Magazine on the benefits of sycophancy.
Will the usual holy rollers permit Brokeback Mountain to be shown in Manila?