In the Inquirer, there’s this article: Philippine future bleak, says Bear Stearns analyst. This analyst was the one I quoted in a blog entry last year: The President’s “sweet spot”.
According to the article,
Stuermer described the economy as “very resilient,” noting that the last time the gross domestic product contracted was in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in 1997.
Even then, he said, the contraction was due to the drought-inducing El Niño weather disruption, which cut agricultural output. “It is very hard to make the Philippine economy collapse in any given year.”
The Bear Stearns analyst believed, however, that this resilience would be the country’s undoing.
“The downside is this: There is now a downside for bad political behavior,” he said. “The Philippines’ political class has no incentive for good political behavior.” [surely, a typo? surely he meant, there’s now no downside?]
Because the bulk of economic growth still depends on agricultural output, which is largely immune from politics, political squabbles can only depress growth by so much.
This is precisely what having “two Philippines” is about. One Philippines desperately fighting for the crumbs from a government increasingly hungry itself (and increasingly incapable of exercising even the most basic restraint), and the other Philippines directly feeding off our economic refugees working abroad.
The papers focus on Cory Aquino’s statement declining to attend the Council of State meeting:
Aquino shuns Palace meet: Warns of prolonged political turmoil (Inquirer)
Cory rejects Council of State invite (Standard -Today)
Aquino rejects Council of State invite amid legitimacy question: Cory, Estrada step up Gloria quit call (Daily Tribune)
Cory to boycott Council of State: Says Gloria continues to muddle issues (Malaya)
RG Cruz has the Palace reply to Mrs. Aquino, and Miriam Defensor Santiago’s statement, too: one commenter in my blog says publishing the full and unexpurgated statements of people is an important function of blogs.
The Senators have circled the wagons, it seems:
More senators join anti-ChaCha fight (Standard-Today)
Joker: One more scandal will KO Gloria
But on the other hand, Charter change supporters resorting to people’s initiative.
Something curious is going on, like the game, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? Except in which military camp is escaped putschists Faeldon? Or like that traveling statue of a garden gnome which gets photographed in tourist spots around the world:
Now Faeldon has stills and video of him at Crame (Manila Times)
Faeldon enters PNP headquarters unnoticed (Daily Tribune)
Faeldon strikes anew, visits Camp Crame (Malaya)
Of course, Sassy Lawyer has already made her tart observations about what everyone saw coming, but anyway, it happened: Lozano refiles impeach complaint against GMA. The only question is, does the opposition have the discipline to black list the complaint, so that the only way it gets approved is if an administration lackey endorses it?
The Palace denies the “brat pack” formed story.
The BRP Ang Pangulo, the presidential yacht, suffered an accident. A fire broke out while the ship was being refitted in Batangas. The Inquirer story says the ship was bought for $3 million in 1959, but from what I’ve read, the ship was part of the reparations paid by Japan for World War II. Under President Garcia, the ship was known as the Lapu-Lapu; Macapagal renamed it the Roxas, and vowed to sell it; Marcos named it Ang Pangulo and it escaped during Edsa to bring stuff to Hong Kong.
In the punditocracy,
Chin Wong has an interesting piece on how the Philippines is prepared for e-government.
Alex Magno says those who can, amend; those who can’t, oppose:
Those who have the time and the energy to spare imagining other formulas have that luxury precisely because they are in no position to do anything about our political system. They might have the sound bites and might be able to wangle some media space, but the bottom line is that they do not have the power nor the organization to do anything about their imagined alternatives.
Lakas, by contrast, has the organization, the elected base, the logistics, the plan and the audacity to undertake the urgent constitutional reform the nation needs. It is the only party in a position to do anything about a situation that most of us can only whine about.
Of course, the vision Lakas espouses has been clarified through the prism of party interest and the political survival of some of its leading members. Of course, the plan Lakas espouses is something that does not endanger the political agenda of its elected constituency. These are not matters worth arguing about.
Altruism is something that, by nature, the powerless demand of the power wielders. Altruism is a virtue to those who can do nothing to shape the way history transforms.
Political practicality, on the other hand, is the adhesive by which coalitions are formed. It is practical men who get things done.
Dong Puno, however, suggests the formulation of the referendum questions might consolidate opposition to the proposed amendments:
The party will apparently take no official position on No-El but will refer the matter to the people as one of two questions to be propounded in the plebiscite to be held as early as June of this year. The first question reportedly will be: Do you approve of the amendments? The second will be: Do you want elections for all elective officials under the parliamentary system in May 2007 (or, alternatively, May 2010)?
A number of things stand out. First, the people, if the above formulation of questions is adopted, will be asked to accept all the proposed amendments in all-or-nothing fashion, as in hook, line and sinker.
If you, for instance, argue for a unicameral but Presidential system, as did the minority in the Consultative Commission, you would have to vote no. If you have reservations about federalism, you would also have to vote “no.” The new Constitution would put the nation on an irreversible path towards a federal state, although the precise timing and procedure for this process is still up in the air, probably by design.
If you are in favor of some, but not all, of the proposed easing of restrictions on foreign investment and equity ownership, or if you would like to put more restrictions than those set forth in the draft revised Constitution, you would again have to vote “no” because you would not be able to choose only the specific “liberalized” provisions you deem appropriate, while rejecting those you believe constitute an unnecessary sell-out of our national heritage and sovereignty.
Most of all, there doesn’t seem to be any mechanism for asking the people what they think about the proposal to allow the President and other officials elected for terms of office expiring in 2010 to serve out their Constitutional terms. Even if No-El is rejected, and elections for a new Parliament are held in 2007, all those with elective terms until 2010 would still remain in office until that year.
Carmen Guerrero Nakpil pans TV presenters.
Tony Abaya says a New Magsaysay is needed, but can only arise extraconstitutionally.
In the blogosphere, The Sassy Lawyer announces she’s working on a book (which, I think this early on, promises to be a best seller).
Men’s Fun Philippines on entertaining foreigners, and the ethics of accepting either Karaoke or massage parlor freebies in relation to corporate work.
Global Voices on line has some tasty tidbits: The President of South Korea keeps three blogs; Singaporean blogger Xiaxue is in deep doo-doo for something potentially racist she said.
Poynteronline lauds New York Times op-ed columnists making their columns available as podcasts.
BuzzMachine fulminates against Google and splog fraud.
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