The Philippines finds itself today in a conjuncture that makes it necessary to review the lessons that we were supposed to learn from the East Asian Crisis of 1997. With a politically charged environment as a backdrop, the Philippine economy has continued exhibiting disturbing traits and this has called the attention of not a few economic experts.
In the United States, Congress is duty-bound at all times to legislate an appropriations act on time. When it fails to do this, federal agencies and programs literally shut down. In the Philippines, in contrast, Congress is not subject to the same kind of pressure. Government agencies simply operate on the basis of the previous year’s budget when the passage of the general appropriations act is delayed.
Recently, in a widely unread and largely disbelieved piece for the Yellow Pad, this writer argued that it was by sheer accident that the KNP and the 4K turned out to be two sides of the same coin. A coin owned jointly by two gentlemen whose futures depend on the outcome of the coming elections. (By the way, for the computer-literate, have you noticed that the dollar sign is located on top of the number 4 on your computer keyboard? Just press “shift” on 4 and you get dollars ).
The much-maligned Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is fashioning a new image: that of a professional, efficient, transparent and innovative institution. This image is becoming a reality under the leadership of Commissioner Guillermo Parayno, Jr. The good news – amid all the uncertainty, jitters, and antagonism in the pre-election period – is that BIR achieved its collection target for 2003.
In the January 12 issue of BusinessWorld’s Yellow Pad, Rafaelita M.
Aldaba of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies judged the
collapse of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Cancun as a loss for poor countries. Others
With the Cancun breakdown, anti-globalization groups and NGOs were extremely delighted. Our own trade minister and chief negotiator was elated by it. It is ironic how we could rejoice in the fact that with the collapse of the trade talks, every country would suffer with some having to suffer more than others. The developed countries have less to lose, they have the resources and they can always engage in bilateral and regional agreements where they can easily flex their economic muscles. The real losers are the developing countries especially the smaller and weaker ones.