The political year ends in confusion for the President’s forces even as it also ends on a despondent note for everyone else. Is the plan a May referendum? Labor lauds a wage increase for the year end; Capital closes the year on a somber note because of it. But it only affects those earning minimum wage.
The Economist Intelligence Unit has this in its “Philippines at a Glance, 2007-08”:
The authority of the president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, remains fragile. During the past year she has survived demands for her resignation, an impeachment bid by the opposition, allegations of vote-rigging and a reported coup attempt.
Her hold on power is increasingly dependent on the support of the military. Congress (the legislature) is discussing options for constitutional reform.
The budget deficit will shrink in 2007-08. Private consumption will continue to be the main driver of GDP growth, which will slow from an estimated 5.6% in 2006 to 5.5% in 2007 and 5.3% in 2008. Annual consumer price inflation will average 5% in 2007-08. Buoyant remittances from Filipinos working overseas will ensure that the current account remains in surplus.
The Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is in a precarious position. In the past year she has survived a coup attempt, allegations of vote-rigging and an opposition attempt to unseat her.
Restiveness within the lower ranks of the military remains a concern, and opposition-led street demonstrations could lead to her ouster in a “people’s power” revolution. Despite this, the president has retained the support of the top ranks of the military.
The possibility of her sudden overthrow cannot be ruled out, but, unless a credible alternative government emerges, Ms Macapagal Arroyo should be able to survive as president until the end of her term in 2010.
Maitet Diokno-Pascual and Clarence Pascual examine economic prospects for the country, too.
Overseas, Andres Oppenheimer in a year ender says Latin America is shifting Right, not Left. History Unfolding points to a useful chart summarizing the year that was for Iraq: and a columnist who says Arab politicians are different: they tell the truth in public, but lie in private.
Morofilm looks at the holidays from a Muslim and Davaoeño’s point of view.
This blog is going on vacation for the holidays. There really isn’t any need to agonize over vacations. Unless something earth-shattering happens, I’ll see you all after the New Year. Thank you for reading, for sharing your thoughts, for arguing with me and each other, for staying informed and keeping involved.
Season’s Greetings to all!