07 March 2004

---In Order To Solve a Problem,
One Must First Accept That There Is A Problem

Titled GLORIA ARROYO, Ph.D., I loved this editorial from today's issue of The Daily Tribune. Read on. It is rife with convincing points.

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"It's difficult to shake Gloria into the reality that it was during her term when the state of the economy had most atrociously deteriorated, since in her current state of denial she ascribes all criticisms against her as the work of the political opposition.

Indeed, it would take great courage to admit one's self as a lemon, although that would have been a step forward to instituting change.

Then again, it would be a big political letdown to Gloria if she admits her mistakes after bragging all throughout her administration that she has a doctorate in economics and is therefore intelligent and infallible.

Come to think of it, she has an aversion to admitting mistakes and would only do so, when needed, to score political points.

Her answer to mistakes which are numerous is by oftentimes burying them in a mountain of lies. For instance, she would boast, without anything to back it up, that the Philippines under her term had one of the fastest economic growths in Asia, taking not just the entire country for a fool, but making Filipinos out as fools in the region, if not the world, as the pro-administration media blare her dreamed up statistics, without pointing to the disparity between her claims and the official data, which are sometimes fudged by this administration.

The reality is that since the start of her term, Thailand, which suffered the hardest blow from the Asian financial crisis of 1997, had bypassed the Philippines and had galloped into development. Vietnam and Indonesia are gaining fast and will leave the country in their dust pretty soon.

Gloria snatched the presidency from Joseph Estrada at a time when the country was starting to sail ahead of others in Asia that had been caught in a recession as an aftershock of the regional financial crisis in 1997. The growth rates have been officially recorded during Estrada's time, and the data show that the economy was on the upswing, with the currency firmer, and certainly not plunging in the lows it is experiencing today.

Yet Gloria and her “economic team” aided by her media, continue to weave tales about how incompetently managed the economy was under Estrada, then claim that the economy has shaped up under her reign.

If Gloria will keep on denying herself the truth by not believing her critics, then she can ask her Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri.

Neri, the other day, said the country is in dire need of “dramatic economic reforms” if it hopes to remain globally competitive.

Reforms are taken to mean government policies, which Dr. Gloria Arroyo should have pushed from the start of her administration.

She never did because she had no plan nor program save to perpetuate herself in power for as long as she can, such as nine full years as President, and, with a change of Constitution, perhaps, she can even stay on till her last breath.

At times, when Gloria is asked about the lazy pace of reforms, she would often blame Congress as having taken too long to pass economic bills.

Gloria, however, in her daily routine would prefer being in front of media cameras than discussing with legislators how to speed up the passage of the supposedly urgent bills.

In that front of leadership, that of inspiring action, Gloria was also sorely lacking. But this is hardly surprising. She was never a leader and was completely bereft of leadership skills.

Her obsession was to keep an image of being in control of government when actually she had none.

To quote Neri, the Gloria administration needs “fiscal discipline to ensure macroeconomic stability.” Telling a doctor in economics to exercise discipline in handling money is like asking Gloria to go back to Georgetown, where she only took a semester of studies, or whereever she got her Ph.D.

If indeed that school is Georgetown, the university should be told to revamp its economics curriculum.

It would also be a good idea for the University of the Philippines to ensure that its academics in Economics shouldn't pass a candidate for a doctorate if she had already flunked her orals. Such lemons could end up in MalacaƱang, as already proved by one."

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