SONAmbulism

Here are my thoughts on the President’s Eighth State of the Nation Address (pictures and video here), as I conveyed them on Korina Sanchez’s show and briefly on Channel News Asia (Singapore).

A State of the National Address, in particular, has two main audiences in mind. Those sitting in the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, that is, officialdom; and those watching or listening on TV or the radio (or lately, on the Internet) -the citizenry. The President can be more subtle when it comes to sending messages to fellow members of the political class; she has to be more explicit when it comes to the impressionable public or politically naive allies such as the Catholic hierarchy (to whom she pledged the adoption of “natural” family planning as her government’s definition of birth control).

First, however, some thoughts on what we should bear in mind. This is the penultimate, or next to the last, State of the Nation Address the President will be making, under her current term of office. It is also the last she will be making as an effective president. By sheer force of tradition and reality, if presidential elections are held under the current rules in May, 2010, this means next year’s State of the Nation Address must be her swan song. This is her last chance to really push the country in the direction she wants; it is the last such occasion where Congress and the local officials need her, in a sense, more than she needs them.

By next July, the presidential campaign would have been well under way; her ruling coalition, quite conceivably, would be up for grabs as officialdom obsessed over which candidate to affiliate with and support. Her cabinet would be, by then, composed of tired, old holdovers deprived of prospects in the next dispensation, as the more politically-adept and ambitious would have started resigning by then, to run for higher office, enter a comfortable (and relatively case-free) retirement secure in the knowledge that their successors would bear the brunt of the inevitable lawsuits that accompany every change in dispensation. She would be a lame duck, though far from powerless.

The stark political choice facing her would be to dangle the prospect of her figuring out a way to keep the coalition fat, content, and in power, or throw in the towel now, and thereby fan the embers of ambition already glowing in the hearts of several prospective presidential candidates: to adopt a fatalistic attitude is neither like her nor politically wise; to at the very least hint that she has the means to reward and punish members of her coalition, and that they may have a prize worth brazening it out with her, is, I’d argue, not only clever, but necessary.

Her defense of her policies on VAT, which came as no surprise, carried with it this statement which I think distills the message she’s trying to convey to her coalition:

Take VAT away and you and I abdicate our responsibility as leaders and pull the rug from under our present and future progress, which may be compromised by the global crisis.

This was her warning to a coalition that, if you noticed the volume of their applause during the entire VAT-related portion of her speech, was quite publicly torn between manifesting its bootlicking for the President and not being too enthusiastic about a President prepared to be unpopular, but who can do so while they all have to bear the crushing memory of Ralph Recto’s going down in flames during the last election because of being tagged as the chief legislative architect of the VAT.

She warned them, essentially, that no money, no honey -and buttressed her point by listing, in detail, the multitude of programs she and her coalition must undertake, not only to help the poor, but court their votes. I believe that politically, the observation of that Bear Stearns analyst back in 2005 remains valid: eVAT provides the funding for patronage in our government, and the President pointedly reminder her coalition on which side their fiscal bread is buttered. Filipinos may instinctively realize the government isn’t to blame for the rise in the price of oil, they may be so naturally docile that in truth, rioting in the streets is a remote possibility; but she knows as well as they, that as the nation’s stewards they will get the blame for the belt-tightening everyone has to undertake at present.

Retaining VAT, then offers up the best possible combination: in certain respects, it is the appropriate response at the appropriate time, providing a windfall necessary for funding relief to the poor; at the same time, it maintains an appearance of government sobriety and even political will, in being unpopular domestically but impressive to the bankers and financiers whose blessings have helped obtain favorable credit (and rates) for the government; and relief becomes a convenient cover for patronage.

And perhaps as an exercise in demonstrating how unpopularity can still result in popular applause, there was this, most-noticed and sole genuine crowd-pleaser in her speech:

Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos.

Which was as much a shot across the bow at big business, as it was a sop to gain propaganda points from the public. As of this writing, talk is already going around that this is a “limited time only” thing, perhaps along the same lines as the President having used moral suasion to demand that the oil companies roll back oil prices in the weeks leading to her speech. And while the oil companies grudgingly complied -but stated, with ill-disguised bad humor, that this might be one of the last times the President could do that to them- and while the telecoms companies will have to react to the President planting the idea of cheaper SMS messages in the public’s mind, this is of no consequence to her. The propaganda points have been made, she can worry about businessmen later.

This was the passage that I felt was overlooked by most but which was pregnant with meaning:

The sad irony of Mindanao as food basket is that it has some of the highest hunger in our nation. It has large fields of high productivity, yet also six of our ten poorest provinces.

The prime reason is the endless Mindanao conflict. A comprehensive peace has eluded us for half a century. But last night, differences on the tough issue of ancestral domain were resolved. Yes, there are political dynamics among the people of Mindanao. Let us sort them out with the utmost sobriety, patience and restraint. I ask Congress to act on the legislative and political reforms that will lead to a just and lasting peace during our term of office.

Why do I say this statement’s pregnant with meaning?

Ricky Carandang on July 21 laid out the stage for what actually unfolded today:

Recent efforts by the Regime to resurrect the long dormant peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have led to pronoucments by lead negotiators Rodolfo Garcia and Hermogenes Esperon that revisions to the constitution would be required in order to give more legal and fiscal autonomy to the expanded region of Muslim Mindanao. They point to a resolution to shift to a federal form of government proposed by, of all people, Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

This means that aside from Arroyo and her politicans, there will be a significant number of people in Mindanao who will find it in their interest to support charter change this time around. The regime can also pre-empt potential opposition from the international community by arguing that that the revisions would enhance stability in Mindanao and make it less susceptible to terrorism. In which case extending Arroyo’s term would be a small price to pay. I’m told that this the line taken during Arroyo’s recent working visit to the US. Its almost like blackmail. If you want stability in Mindanao, you must allow us to stay in power beyond 2010.

Even as it puts the wheels into motion, the Regime can therefore argue that amending the Constitution will not be self serving, it will be a big step towards a lasting peace in Mindanao. Besides, it will argue, it was actually the opposition, through Senator Pimentel, that proposed the idea, not us!

Mindanao is the President’s achilles heel. Recently I was able to have a talk with a former official (see my blog entries, Thoughts on Mindanao and Dismal Diplomacy), among others, who confirmed my view that the increase in rice prices in Mindanao reflected war jitters -or as the former official preferred to explain it, an added premium on all business activity in Mindanao to reflect uncertainty and risk. From what I’ve been able to gather, the dilemma facing the President, as far as Mindanao concerned is simple: the government only has enough money to attend to programs for the poor, or to fight a war in Mindanao, but not both. The last thing it needs are for tensions to rise there, further complicating the situation.

And that situation has been bad and deteriorating for some time, as the President has had to coddle her Moro allies from the traditional and warlord clans, who hold government positions, while parlaying with the MILF. But what should have enabled her to negotiate from a position of strength, has proven less than outstanding in recent months. If you survey the papers, NPA offensives have increased not only in the Visayas (which may be due less to an actual increase in the ranks of the NPA, but low morale and poor leadership in the AFP) , but also in Mindanao, where there is talk of a growing MILF-NPA tactical alliance. This has given the MILF, if I understand it correctly, added clout, while the President’s dilemma is that the forthcoming ARMM elections -widely expected to go the way of her allies, by hook or by crook- would deprive the MILF of a chance to not just sit at the bargaining table, but formalize its control over some areas. The MILF’s ultimate strength, of course, is its perceived ability to cause real mayhem if things deteriorate to the point of open hostilities.

Put another way, she owes her allies a victory in the ARMM elections but she will be hard-put to convince the MILF and other rebel groups she’s serious about bringing them into the Republic’s fold if all they can look forward to is being on the outside looking in on her allies ruling the official roost in Moro areas. Not to mention the demand of the MILF for the President to find a way to expand the territory covered by the ARMM, without making the MILF a party to a plebiscite, which might prove embarrassing if it results in a loss for the proposed expanded ARMM (it seems many of the areas proposed for addition to an enlarged ARMM are borderline majority Muslim, at best, and in the case of quite a number of towns, borderline Christian-dominated).

The President, a political pragmatist, wasn’t inclined to postpone the ARMM elections previously but recently, there’s been a noticeable shift, after things got a bit warm with Malaysia’s showing its displeasure with our official foot-dragging on the peace process (said the former official: the real Malaysian concern is that the fluid situation in Mindanao is leading to the kind of power vacuum governments abhor; Malaysia doesn’t want a further radicalization in Mindanao which has already caused problems because radicals who find refuge in Mindanao then smuggle arms to Malaysia’s own radicals).

As Carandang suggests, perhaps because it offers up the prospects of finally accomplishing Charter Change at a time when the Palace can count on an obliging Supreme Court to smooth away all constitutional obstacles to either Charter Change as a whole, or the expansion of the ARMM’s territory. During Korina’s show, I had the chance to ask Sec. Jesus Dureza some questions (I have interacted with him in the past, in his capacity as Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, in which he laid out, in bold strokes, the government’s willingness to basically offer Commonwealth status for Muslim Mindanao).

I asked him (Dureza) about the President’s statement, and specifically, what the agreement arrived at last night was about good courtier, he said I was being fanciful but then he hemmed and hawed, saying he wasn’t a party to the negotiations in Kuala Lumpur, but that what seemed to be on the table was not expanding the current ARMM but rather, creating an additional (for lack of a better word) ARMM II. While he pooh-poohed the possibility of Charter Change in general terms, he declined to give additional details as to how whatever has been agreed upon, will be carried out, broadly hinting that it merely had to do with scheduling a plebiscite to approve the ARMM II, which required a law. If the coming days reveals that the MILF has suddenly returned to the bargaining table and gone as far as withdrawing their objections to a referendum, there was obviously a quid pro quo.

Could it involve something as easily fixed as postponing the ARMM polls (sending those interested in it as a laboratory for electoral automation into hysterics, and probably irritating the President’s warlord and traditional Moro allies, too, specially if they will then have to share power with MILF nominees)? Maybe; but the possibility of going whole hog by using it as a cover for broader constitutional change -by declaring it “political reform”- seems to me quite probable. The dividends are too tantalizingly delicious to pass up. Allies -from the USA to Malaysia- will be reassured; business might perk up; popularity might be reclaimed if Federalism proves politically attractive; the MILF and other groups will be pacified; and the ruling coalition and the President get a new lease on power.

This is why the President didn’t dwell, unlike last year, on her leaving office and instead, issued a warning to potential succesors. This is why the speech she delivered focused on pandering to the groups who’d check-mated her Charter Change and other ambitions in the past, from the bishops to businessmen: delivering, instead, a speech, which if you dissect it, is a gigantic public works/pork barrel roster.

[email protected] takes a cue from Queen Elizabeth I and puts forward a satirical version in the manner of a Speech from The Throne; A Filipina Mom Blogger offers up a parent’s reaction; over at Filipino Voices, there is a call for less market intervention and a whole lotta hope. And finally, here is how the Palace wants you to interpret the President’s speech.

119 comments

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  1. poor leadership, coup, fertilizer scam, hello garci, ZTE scandal, endless intrigues, lucky bitch, VAT, corrupt , oil crisis, typhoon, mindanao conflict, insurgency, sulpicio tragedy, mahal na bigas, pandak and all….

    and yet she’s still there, stronger than ever laughing sa mga “talunan”…

    as mikel said “kawawa naman”. lol

    • supremo on July 29, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    mikel said “kawawa naman”

    mikel forgot that he is on the same boat. kawawa naman talaga.

    • UP n student on July 29, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    to cvj: You gave me the impression that you believe Mindanao citizens are easier than Luzon-citizens to sway when in your blog you said

    .secession in Mindanao …. a friendlier government over there will agree to establish a US Base in General Santos

    • cvj on July 29, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    UPn, the word ‘easier’ didn’t even cross my mind. That’s not how i think (i.e. in terms of Luzon v. Mindanao etc.). If you’ll notice, you’re the one who keeps bringing up the regional card.

    • cvj on July 30, 2008 at 12:05 am

    …and your terminology ‘Luzon-citizens’ and ‘Mindanao-citizens’ does not make sense as both are Filipino citizens (so far).

    • Bert on July 30, 2008 at 1:26 am

    mikel said:

    “and yet she’s still there, stronger than ever laughing sa mga “talunan…”

    only gma & family & minnions are not “talunan”, the rest, all of us (including mikel), are talunans. that’s why they are laughing and tayo kawawa talaga.

    the only difference mikel and some others are in love with gma, and people in love, they say, are blind.

    so, when gma laugh mikel and some others laugh with her.

    • supremo on July 30, 2008 at 2:09 am

    A US Base in General Santos will just rejuvenate the following

    1) communist movement
    2) statehood movement
    3) flesh trade
    4) spam consumption (the one that you eat but still bad for you)

    • PSI on July 30, 2008 at 2:23 am

    Plus the American servicemen will get first crack at the fresh tuna and leave the rejects for imperial Manila.

    If Carandang’s conspiracy theory pushes thru, Manny Pacquiao would no longer be Philippine champ, but would be Mindanao Republic’s or American champion .

    • supremo on July 30, 2008 at 2:33 am

    A US Base in General Santos might also depopulate Luzon forcing the government to declare Davao City as the new capital. Goodbye Imperial Manila, Hello Imperial Davao.

    • supremo on July 30, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Bert,

    Parang Titanic yan. Lahat ng mahihirap sa baba ng barko nagtitiis at di pwedeng umakyat. Lahat ng mayayaman sa taas ng barko nagsasaya at di bumababa. Pero pag lumubog ang barko, damay lahat. Kawawa si mikel dahil di niya nakikita ang buong barko.

    • TheColdKing on July 30, 2008 at 4:40 am

    Seryoso, kapag natupad na talaga ang Charter Change, papatay na talaga ako ng mga tao. Tutal, kung magiging impyerno lang naman ang Pilipinas mismo, ok lang na maging demonyo na ang mga tao…

    • hvrds on July 30, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Government announced that the budget for 2009 will hit Php 1.4T. But no announcment for what principal payments they will make under the Automatic Appropriations law. That is already fixed. Also what amount of that principal amount will be retired or rolled over.

    Why government had to put in a flat tax rate consumption tax that is regressive relative to the vast majority of pinoys.

    It is a chicken and egg question. Institutional and regulatory capture of state.

    Vested interests are organized and embeded in the political system. While the majority are outside the formal system.

    That means the cost and time of collecting income taxes which are voluntary in nature for those in power can be evaded precisely due to capture.

    Our Queen to be, said it clearly, when she said she supports the extension of CARP, “stop the rackets”

    What does she mean??????

    The world today is paying a heavy price for the capture of the financial multilateral systems primarily by the U.S. and other former imperial countries.

    I met Peter Wallace some years ago and told him bluntly – the financial system of the world is broken.

    How do you teach government to smarten up and amit that the abuses of the fiat currency system and inflation and closely related and weak states use inflation to prop themselve up.

    India will be running a budget deficit of almost 10% of GDP but has a higher credit rating than the Phils. Indonesia recently reduced their VAT.

    How do you think it would appear if the President of the Republic will admit that the state itself has very limited chocies due to the fact that it has been overspending for all the wrong reasons all these years.

    She staked out a position that she is different. But during her watch she had overspent all her predecessors combined since Marcos. Almost all directed to insure her so called electoral victory.

    That data cannot be fudged.

    • leytenian on July 30, 2008 at 9:26 am

    On 12% VAT, it’s a little too high for the poor. The elites who are mostly listed as members of the Makati Business Club are availing themselves of incentives such as tax holidays. This solid group is also against CHA-CHA.

    Our current system of taxation should also lean towards taxation on income from employment and real property taxes ( highest and best use).

    • cvj on July 30, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Leytenian (at 9:26 am), i look on it differently i think the problem with focusing on income tax is that it puts a disproportionate burden on a narrower and narrower segment of our society, i.e. the salarymen and salarywomen who mostly come from the middle class.

    cvjugo.blogspot.com/2008/07/new-social-contract-on-taxes-wages-and.html

    As i explained in my blog entry (linked above), I prefer a combination of continuing subsidies to the poor, income tax relief, both of which are to be funded by VAT. I also believe that it is in our Society’s interest to widen the tax base which includes taxing income in the form of inward OFW remittances.

    • cvj on July 30, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Sorry, here’s the link:

    http://www.cvjugo.blogspot.com/2008/07/new-social-contract-on-taxes-wages-and.html

    • rego on July 30, 2008 at 10:13 am

    hoo h ummm, kakaantok!

    • leytenian on July 30, 2008 at 10:28 am

    cvj,
    I did read your blog. I actually like your proposals. I agree with income tax relief to those who don’t make enough ( poverty line).

    I think the problem is implementation by revenue people. It is corrupt due to lack of system process such as accurate information or recording of who are employed or who are the employers. New or Establish Employers must register NEW HIRE and update numbers of employees quarterly . The employers are responsible to withhold income tax from employees’ wages ( plus SSN and Health payment deductions, etc ) and depositing them monthly or quarterly not yearly. The government should allow direct deposit of income taxation payment. Automation will reduce costly labor for corrupt auditors.

    I can’t find solution on how we can collect taxes without the National ID system and computerize/centralize data of information. If we have the techonology, the government can easily project, adjust and make budgets. Presently, our state revenue is an assumption….What if?

    • UP n student on July 30, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Yahoo-news byline :

    WASHINGTON – Al-Qaida in Iraq is increasingly embracing extortion and kidnapping to finance its operations as cash carried in by its dwindling foreign fighter network is drying up, according to U.S. intelligence and documents captured in Iraq.

    Runs in the “family”, doesn’t it?

    But a major reason for the “drying-up” is because the Iraqi “natives” are resisting the thuggery of the Al Qaeida-in-Iraq. Now if only the Muslims of Mindanao were to resist the thuggery of the ASG & MILF, then things may begin to happen a lot sooner for Pinas the entire country.

    • UP n student on July 30, 2008 at 11:28 am

    another side-topic: Mangahas, citing survey results, says about Filipinos:

    “Is it the government’s responsibility to reduce income differences between the rich and the poor?” To this question asked by SWS in 1998, 38 percent of Filipino adults in the national sample said Definitely Yes, 28 percent said Probably Yes, 21 percent said Probably No, and 13 percent said Definitely No. That’s two out of every three Filipinos saying Yes.

    • cvj on July 30, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Leytenian, thanks. I agree with you about the need for automation. One of these days, i’ll blog about how income taxes are paid here in Singapore, it’s such a pleasure.

    • frombelow on July 30, 2008 at 11:52 am

    “kawawa naman”.- mikel

    kawawa talaga. Kasama ka.

    • hvrds on July 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    India and China apparently stood their ground and the Doha round of continuing talks of the WTO collapsed. Way to go!!!!

    Now when will the world take up the breaking up of the multilateral system of global finance based on a unipolar currency.

    It is time to destroy the dollar as global currency. The U.S. government and the bankers have destroyed a lot of dollars in the system. That now has to happen on a global scale.

    It is ironic that it was President Johnson who also took Fannie Mae off the budget and created the promise into an off budget implicit guarantee owned and operated by private capital and his creation of Freddie Mac brings the whole attempt to mislead the taxpayer through off budget transactions to the forefront in todays financial crisis.

    The U.S. has nationalized the two companies once again.

    Here we give out half price text messages when crisis hits.

    Funny ever since Marcos almost all debts were created off budget…. Hindi pa natuto ang mga tao.

    • MARCELO on July 30, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    One of the reasons why mainstream economic policy (liberal, globalist, market-based) gets such a poor press is that our people, as pointed out by the SWS surveys, WANT BIG GOVERNMENT. Look at our constitution. It is the charter of a frankly interventionist state not for a minimalist government.

    That being the case, populist, Leftist and so-called “progressive” positions will always attract large followings.

    That does not make those positions the right ones for our country.

    So, I agree, the eVAT and the rest of fiscal policy needs to be calibrated to provide relief for the poor without mortgaging the national future.

    This line must be held, at whatever the apparent short-term cost, because the long-term cost for failing to do so will make the present seem like an extended luxury holiday.

    PS. Nothing of the above covers corruption, which, going by global evidence, survives and thrives under all systems.

    • Sonny on July 30, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Jove Francisco came up with a blog entry about how the latest sona evolved. Good read. Sakto sa mga sinabi mo MLQ3

    • Tio Paeng on July 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    RG Cruz meanwhile came up with a “transcript” he cut and paste from the OPS site. That’s all.

    • cvj on July 30, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    An attitude of dependence on the government is also manifested by many of the locals here in Singapore. In their case, it’s a consequence of their government’s success.

    • hvrds on July 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    “One of the reasons why mainstream economic policy (liberal, globalist, market-based) gets such a poor press is that our people, as pointed out by the SWS surveys, WANT BIG GOVERNMENT. Look at our constitution. It is the charter of a frankly interventionist state not for a minimalist government.” Pundit who is probably clueless

    Almost all the equilibirum scientist (mainstream)economists I have met in the Philippines are of the Keynesian type. (SHHHHH it means intervensionists) The minute you remove gold from the monetary system, Keynes rules…….

    National currency systems rule for those that have sovereignty. For those that don’t you are a neo- colony.

  2. Ginawa lang niyang katawa-tawa lalo ang sarili niya sa pagdeklara na .50 cents na lang ang text messaging.

    Wala na kasi siya maaaring idagdag sa listahan niya ng mga accomplishments “kuno” kaya pati ang promo ng mga telecom companies inako niyang sa kanya.

    What a shithead.

    • UP n student on July 30, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    The collapse of the Doha talks in Geneva points to “failure to negotiate” and Tata’s political clout —- India (also China) unwilling to open up their territories for more US- and Europe-made cars in exchange for US/Europe reducing their subsidies to their farmers.

  3. bet.

    whoever is elected president in 2010 will not scrap VAT. lumuha man kayo ng asin. there will be new ___________ haters. supply the name of the new president.

    that’s life. parang gulong, pag ikaw ay nasa ibaba, pisak.

  4. “Almost all the equilibirum scientist (mainstream) economists I have met in the Philippines are of the Keynesian type. (SHHHHH it means intervensionists) The minute you remove gold from the monetary system, Keynes rules…….

    “National currency systems rule for those that have sovereignty. For those that don’t you are a neo- colony” – hvrds

    hvrds,

    Please enlighten us further, in non-economist lingo. Tx.
    .

    • jbd on July 30, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    The link you provided to Filipino Voices is right. The government should be spending less time on trying to master the pricing forces of the world commodity markets and more time on setting up and enforcing systems that will better equip many more Filipinos to face the myriad challenges that are coming not just due to commodity prices but also due to knowledge competition.

    We enjoy high OFW deployment rates today and this shores up the local economy but when we the torrent of deployments slows to a trickle, watch out.

    First of all, there will be no one left to run the country or operate businesses in the country. Second, when investors see that the only ones left behind are the monkeys, they will very quickly close shop and transfer their factories to where the smart ones migrated.

    Economic even institutional implosion will not be far behind if we do not invest massive amounts in the development of human capital.

    • PSI on July 30, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Not a GMA apologist but many of the bad winds were from the past disturbances setting the ‘perfect political and economic storm’ today.

    The militarization of the cabinet, human rights violations, and heavy debt overhang started way back during Marcos time. EDSA I did not eliminate these conditions..

    The use of alternative nuclear energy was scuttled by the administration of Cory Aquino. But they did not press strongly enough to renegoiatte the terms of the Westinghouse loan. This did not mitigate RP’s debt problem.

    Although FVR did solve the persistent brownouts, the IPP contracts written at that period resulted to higher unit cost of energy from fossil fuel-powered plants, with the ‘take-or-pay’ provisions. EPIRA just formalized the ‘You rub me, I rub you” arrangements.
    The FVR administration also took the globalization mantra hook, line, and sinker which diminished food security and social safety net programs.

    The Erap administration had a big hand in escalating the war in Mindanao when he ordered the capture of the MILF camps.

    This is in no way absolve PGMA’s share of lapses of judgment and alleged schemes, but seven years would not have beeen enough time to untangle this mess of a situation given RP’s political, administrative, and judicial environment.

    In our neck of the woods, you gotta be kinda cruel hunter and sharpen the blades in order to move things.

    • UP n student on July 30, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    to jbd: on that the government should spend more time on setting up and enforcing systems that will better equip many more Filipinos to face the myriad challenges that are coming not just due to commodity prices but also due to knowledge competition.

    Primary- and secondary-education sounds just about right, won’t you agree? With English, too. As the editor of the Inquirer has lamented, among the reasons that the quality of Pinas media has deteriorated (in addition to Saudi raising oil prices) is poor grammar by Pinas journalism grads.

    • anthony scalia on July 30, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    PSI,

    you are spoiling the fun of our friends here 🙂

    • Bencard on July 30, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    upn, i think more than “poor grammar” it is poor logic, analysis and discernment. the distinction between “news” and writer’s private opinion or spin is blurred. everything is editorialized but is seldom presented as such.

    • mikel on July 30, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    i repeat: to gma oppositionists, kawawa naman..she’s beaten you at every turn. i am a member of the silent majority; it’s because of us GMA is in power. and it’s because we don’t trust the messengers of the opposition. we’re bright enough to distinguish real, quantitative gains vs rabid, unsubstantiated claims against the government. THAT’S why..kawawa naman kayo!!

    • Bencard on July 31, 2008 at 12:49 am

    psi, mikel, as i’ve said time and again, it’s premature to write a finis to gma’s story. i think she has laid the foundation for a much better philippines and, depending on the competence and effectiveness of her successors in pursuing her visions (or improving on them – not gutting them just because they were initiated by her), we have a real chance of beating the odds.

    at the time of his death, abraham lincoln was at the lowest ebb of popularity. it took years for american historians and the public to appreciate his true worth as a leader. to a lesser extent, the same may be said of harry truman.

    in politics, emotion almost always trumps reason for the short haul. this is why i view poll surveys (of which we have a little too much lately) with jaundiced eyes. to a person who is not cutting it in a competitive world, what kind of answer could one expect to a loaded question whether the government is “satisfactorily” doing its job? simple-minded people wants a president to be a “wizard”, a magician capable of giving them instant gratification, with themselves hardly doing anything on their own to improve their lot. that’s a sad reality of human existence.

    • supremo on July 31, 2008 at 1:06 am

    mikel said ‘i am a member of the silent majority’

    kawawa ka naman bulag ka na at pipi pa.

    • Bert on July 31, 2008 at 1:56 am

    “i am a member of the silent majority; it’s because of us GMA is in power.”-mikel

    the silent majority now, more or less80% of the Filipino people, spoke out and given gloria survey result of negative 38% negative approval and popularity rating, plus the most corrupt. they are not silent anymore.

    plaques of ‘loyalty awards’ are due mikel and some others. swerte talaga.

    • Bert on July 31, 2008 at 3:27 am

    “at the time of his death, abraham lincoln was at the lowest ebb of popularity.”-Bencard

    goodness, Bencard, you gave me the creeps. i’m not pro-gma, but I don’t want that to happen again.

    • anthony scalia on July 31, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Bert,

    “the silent majority now, more or less80% of the Filipino people, spoke out and given gloria survey result of negative 38% negative approval and popularity rating, plus the most corrupt. they are not silent anymore.”

    here we go again my friend. 80% (more or less) of Pinoys ACTUALLY (sorry i don’t know how to italicize) spoke out and gave gloria the low rating?

    pero you’re right. the ACTUAL (same) survey respondents are not silent anymore. especially if there’s a consideration for responding. more especially when someone commissioned the survey/s. most especially when gullible media (oops, a redundant redundancy) are always waiting for something to put in the headlines – once media report survey results, the voice of 1,200 can really sound like 88 million!

    napakaswerte talaga ng mga survey firm owners. felipe and mahar – you’re the men!

    to paraphrase a song –

    people
    who own firms that survey people
    are the luckiest people
    in the world

    • mang_kiko on July 31, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Maraming Leaderes naging “unpopular”dahil sa lakas lo-ob na ginagawa and Dapat Gagawin para sa kapakanan nang Bayan at sang Kataohan, PERO si GMA naging Popular dahil sa pagtakip nang namga allegations nang Kalokohan sa Administration sa pamara-an nang Pag-abuso nang Pribeleyo Executibo at ibang pang allegations nang Corruptions sa Kontrata nang Gobyerno,,,hindi natin maicompara sa manga Lideres na Katulad ni Lincoln, pero pagikumpara si Nixon, puede at si bise Pres. Agnew yon ang malapit na Halimbawa…

    • UP n student on July 31, 2008 at 8:47 am

    sino nga ba ang mas mahusay na pangulo, si Erap o si GMA? Si Erap, nang giyera nga sa MILF pero tumador at hindi nakatapos ng kaniyang anim na taon — nakalaboso pa. Si GMA, ayan, nasa Malacanang pa.

  5. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

    We were already cheated in 2004.

    Are we going to allow Gloria to get away with Cha Cha and extend her reign indefinitely?

  6. alam na ng mga tao na masyado nang malalim ang problema ng bansa and not one-term president can solve this.

    walang himala during Cory’s term;
    walang himala during FVR’s term;
    walang himala during Erap’s term;
    at walang mangyayaring himala sa panahon ni GMA;

    the problem with these president-wannabes, trapos, traditional newspapers, traditional commentators and traditional editorial writers are “wala na silang kredibilidad”, everytime they speak about “kahirapan”, hindi rin sila kapanipaniwala as in giginhawa ang mamamayan overnight kapag sila ang naupo sa poder.

    they don’t even offer solutions for crying out loud.

    • hvrds on July 31, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    For those that are interested in the roots of the global problems. Fiat currency systems ruled by political elites.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121642367125066615.html

    Why No Outrage?
    Through history, outrageous financial behavior has been met with outrage. But today Wall Street’s damaging recklessness has been met with near-silence, from a too-tolerant populace, argues James Grant
    By JAMES GRANT
    July 19, 2008; Page W1

    Mary Lease
    “Raise less corn and more hell,” Mary Elizabeth Lease harangued Kansas farmers during America’s Populist era, but no such voice cries out today. America’s 21st-century financial victims make no protest against the Federal Reserve’s policy of showering dollars on the people who would seem to need them least.”

    • hvrds on July 31, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    When the Philippinesa agreed to liberalize its capital account to allow almost full decontrol it switches its entire banking system to a dollar based fractional reserve system.

    Our BSP becomes a de facto member of the Federal Reserve System. All it would take is for the U.S. Congress to agree to share seignorage rights (Money government earns when it charges people for using it’s paper currency.) (Similar to when kings took a little gold from coins they minted as charge for the minting) with the RP and for Philippine Congress to surrender fiscal policy to the U.S. Treasury. There have been bills filed in the U.S. congress on this for countries to dollarize their economies. Hence the need for parity rights for all othercitizens of the planet. Most will have dollars anyway. The more the demand for dollar grows the more the U.S. economy can borrow indefinetly to fund its deficits at very low interest rates.

    That means we revert back to pre colonial times and the national government becomes irrelevant..

    For all the posturing of our BSP guys figuratively speaking Tetangco’s balls have already been cut off.

    He is no better than a eunuch.

    • hvrds on July 31, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Correction that should read American colonial times.

    • Bert on July 31, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    UP n, si erap mas magaling tumuma, pero palagay ko mas magaling kumapit sa malacanang si gma. palagay ko hindi ipinaglihi si erap sa tuko.

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