Action for Economic Reforms, a nongovernmental policy advocacy group, will join the August 20 rally. Some influential people-ironically, from those expected to support the rally-have expressed some reservation about joining the August 20 demonstration. Their complaint is that the rally lacks focus because it raises several issues rather than only one major issue. We beg to disagree.
We have to stress that increasing interest rates at this time when the economy remains fragile will only dampen the momentum towards full recovery. An increase in interest rate is very untimely. Investments have yet to pick up even as inflation is declining. Similarly, an abandonment of the low interest-rate policy will cancel out the hard-earned gains resulting from the DOF drive to bring down interest rates.
Mainstream economics relegated political economy to a backseat position during the dominance of neo-liberalism in the 1980s till the early
1990s. But the tide has changed. Market failures in the 1990s, as exemplified by the successive global financial crises that culminated in the Asian crisis, have forced a retreat of free-market orthodoxy. Keynesian economics, including its left-wing variety, has recovered lost ground. Further, even the strongest advocates of neoclassical economics have recognized the need for better institutions and better regulations. Suffice it to say that in this condition, political economy has likewise made a comeback.
We wish to point out a legal controversy regarding the appointment of Mr. Rafael Buenaventura as the new governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The new Central Bank Act (Sec. 6(a) provides that “the governor of the Bangko Sentral shall be head of a department and his appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.” In this light, we appeal to the Commission on Appointments (CA) to exercise its right, if not fulfill its obligation, to subject to the confirmation process President Estrada’s appointment of Mr. Rafael Buenaventura to the position of Bangko Sentral governor.