We express our most vigorous opposition to the return of the “interest rate cure” to address the economic turmoil besetting the country in the aftermath of the explosion of the jueteng scandal. Recently, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) increased reserve requirements and jacked up its overnight borrowing rate by four percent. As an immediate result, prime lending rates have sharply increased, with some banks even charging prime rates above 20 percent. Worse, the BSP is contemplating a higher increase in interest rates to insulate the peso from further attacks.
This time we speak from our heart and soul, and we do so very sadly. Recent revelations–the jueteng scandal– give us no choice but to ask you, President Estrada, to resign and save the country, the people from further harm. In the minds and hearts of the people, you have lost the credibility and the moral ascendancy to lead us.
The price of petroleum products has risen sharply two years into the
Estrada administration. The price of petroleum products for motor
vehicles has increased by around 50 percent. Fuel oil, an important
source of power generation, has increased by more than 100 percent. LPG, a principal household commodity, has increased by 90 percent. And there is no end in sight. Just this week the new industry entrants have started raising their prices by around P1 per liter. The big firms are expected to follow suit next week by at least at much. These oil price hikes have enraged the public; transport groups held strikes. Going by media polls, the strikes enjoyed public support.
The legislation to privatize the National Power Corporation (Napocor)
along with the more sensational pay-by other earth-shaking news:
full-blown war in Mindanao, the kidnapping of Filipinos and foreigners,
the spate of urban bombings, etc. All these events have undermined
confidence in the Philippine economy. The Napocor controversy remains a
critical issue; a derailing of the electricity industry reform will be
interpreted as another blow to business confidence. In this light, the
Senate deliberation is very crucial.
We receive with great relief the news that as of 26 May 2000 the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will keep its overnight borrowing and
lending rates steady. Nonetheless, we call on the BSP to reverse its earlier decision to increase interest rates by a full percentage point, in its attempt to stem the further depreciation of the peso.
Finance Secretary Edgardo Espiritu’s decision to resign from his plum
cabinet post is a just position and a courageous action. When so-called
peers undermine his authority and when the President condones cabal
schemes to oust him, the honorable option then is to resign. The
conspiracy to remove Espiritu is a repeat of the tragedy that befell
Karina David, something that is becoming a regular occurrence in the