The fiscal crisis has generated a wide range of responses. The Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) administration initially packaged its revenue
strategy by stringing together eight revenue measures, which the
President outlined in her State of the Nation Address (SONA). In a
paper published by BusinessWorld (Yellow Pad column, Aug. 9 2004), I criticized the revenue package of eight measures for being half-baked and ill-conceived.
This package also served as a backdrop, or a context, of the paper
authored by the 11 faculty members of the University of the Philippines (UP) School of Economics (or the UP 11) titled “The Deepening Crisis: The Real Score and Deficits and the Public Debt.”
The UP 11 paper – notwithstanding its clear critique of government’s
economic, including fiscal, policy – was kind and gentle in its treatment of GMA. This, at first glance, was surprising, considering
that some of the coauthors are known for their outspoken, no-holds-barred criticisms (they call a spade a spade, to borrow Solita C, Monsod’s favorite line). But a constructive paper, with a mild tone,
was meant to get GMA to listen. Call it a benign tactical approach; it
nevertheless paid off in moving GMA to declare a fiscal crisis and in
producing a sustained, vigorous debate on the issue.