Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the Business Mirror on July 30, 2008, page A6.
“I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.” — President George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008
Unlike her American counterpart, Gloria Arroyo chose to detail what she thought Filipinos should have figured out by now: that she is the greatest unelected president they have ever known or will ever be blessed with. Thank God and Garci for that. Thank Congress, the Supreme Court, and the uniformed services for preserving and protecting what God and Garci have wrought.
God gave Gloria “the guts not to flinch in the face of tough choices.” She asked Congress to pass the VAT. She saved the country but it made her more unpopular than a boil on the nation’s behind. But who cares? “Leadership is not about doing the first easy thing that comes to mind; it is about doing what is necessary, however hard.” Thank you for the hardship, Gloria.
She made tough choices. “Through foresight, grit, and political will,” she “built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crises.” Today, the government has the money to care for the people and pay for rice that people have to line up for; it has funds for fuel that only government officials can afford. Congratulations, Gloria.
Although she has remained always accessible to the rich and powerful, she spent “time every day with the underprivileged and under-represented who cannot get a grip on their lives in the daily, all-consuming struggle to make ends meet.”
During typhoon Frank, she felt her people’s suffering and stayed with them during their greatest hour of need, via teleconference. She spent sleepless nights supervising disaster relief operations from various five-star presidential hotel suites in San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York City. She did not forget her people as she traipsed around America looking for photo-ops with a lame-duck president and two wannabes.
It’s unfortunate that uncalled-for criticism of her diplomatic initiative caused her to miss the greatest diplomatic coup of all: raising the hand of Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.
As good Catholics, Filipinos applauded her support and policies for “natural family planning and female education.” During her administration, population growth was reduced to 2.04% from 2.36% in the 1990’s. Filipinas deciding to have fewer babies while she is in charge, what better proof is there that her female education program works?
The entire country was insulted by the Millennium Challenge Corporation giving a billion peso contribution to Mrs. Arroyo’s fight against corruption and declaring her eligible for more grants. What’s the matter with the MCC, are they nuts?
What do they have against Merceditas Gutierrez? Aren’t they impressed that Gloria “allocated more than P3 billion—the largest anti-graft fund in Philippine history—for real evidence gathering and vigorous prosecution?” Do they think she’s lying when she says she is fighting the decades-old scourge of corruption every single day?
Peace is at hand in Mindanao. And she did it not by fighting but through appeasement. The MILF, MNLF, and the Abu Sayyaf thank her.
The Malaysians also thank her—for allowing a puppet buffer state to stand between the Visayan islands and Sabah. She avoided a war over territory that her father believed belonged to the Philippines. Better talk than fight, if nothing of sovereign value is anyway lost, right?
Finally, we thank Gloria for asking Congress to act on legislative and political reforms —charter change as some prefer to call it—despite knowing that the Filipino people will not be grateful for the sacrifice she and her family will have to go through staying in power until the Philippines reaches first -world status.
She is the greatest. May she live and rule forever.