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Oil Exchange: A “Cure” Worse than the “Illness”?

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.

Payola, Efficiency and Electricity Industry Reform

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.

Cronyism Wins Over Reforms in Espiritu’s Exit

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
Estrada Cabinet.

Rebuilding Society, Rebuilding the Economy

The tasks facing the post-Estrada Administration are awesome. It will
be presiding over a devastated economy – deserted stock market,
debased currency, weakened domestic sector, cash-short treasury and a public sector debt almost equal to the gross domestic product. To get the economy going, it has to fast track the repair and renovation of collapsing infrastructures while building new ones. But more importantly, it has to create jobs for over three million unemployed and in the long term, decent and regular jobs for over seven million underemployed.

Why We Are Joining the August 20 Rally

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.