‘It ain’t bad times yet’ - DEMAND AND SUPPLY by Boo Chanco

() - October 16, 2000 - 12:00am
Worried and confused over the recent turn of events, I invited my astrologer friend for lunch to help me make heads and tails of things. Soon as she sat down, I asked her point blank when would the bad times end. She looked at me and calmly replied, "what are you talking about? It ain’t the bad times yet."

Momentarily stunned, I could only gasp and limply ask, what do you mean this ain’t the bad times yet? She gave that all knowing smile of hers and tried to explain as clearly as she could and in terms even Titoy Pardo should be able to understand what she is talking about.

"Think of it this way," she said, "you are standing at the edge of a precipice. There is a deep ravine down below that you may think of as the bad times. But you haven’t fallen over the edge yet. Technically, it ain’t the bad times yet."

"You mean to tell me the bloodied stock market and the exchange rate that will soon be over 50 to one and the fact that foreign fund managers have formally scratched us out of their list ain’t the bad times yet?" I wanted to tell her that she is beginning to sound like Erap’s economic advisers who keep on telling us that our economic fundamentals are good and we should recognize the fact that this ain’t the bad times. NEDA numbers are so good, those who think otherwise are economic ignoramuses.

But then she quickly reminded me that I had deliberately misrepresented her view of the future in a previous column. She said I wrote that dire times, including a possible military rule, are coming but that’s eight years into the future. I justified it by saying I didn’t want to alarm people.

Well, she said, if you recall, I did say it was going to happen sooner than that. What’s going on now, she explained, are just the precursors. We are within the 25 to 30-year cycle, which last came around in the late 60s and early 70s. That’s why the feeling of uncertainty feels so much like déjà vu.

So I asked if her previous prognosis is still true. She just smiled, as if to say, what’s the matter with you? It is plainly written in the stars.

I don’t know about you guys, but there is a feeling of helplessness that seems to envelop me the more I think about things. The informal market and some banks were selling dollars at 50 to one last Friday. Even the Thai prime minister is blaming Erap for the fall of the baht. With the Middle East crisis raising the specter of $40 a barrel oil, or even more than that, things can indeed get pretty bad.

I was about to say I pity Erap because of all these weighty problems. But I remembered that Erap is one lucky fellow. I remembered what Chavit revealed about the Boracay sa Balete mansion of Erap and realized that he seems to be well compensated for his troubles. Maybe that former Madrigal property isn’t registered in his name to avoid the legalities of unexplained wealth. But he and 03 are using it and possession is ownership.

So, my astrologer friend is telling us that we ain’t seen nothing yet. Maybe, because he has access to all the data that points to tough times ahead, Erap is just preparing for it. If we know what is good for us so should we.


Forget it. Impeachment will not prosper. More important than not having the numbers in the House of Representatives, this Congress simply does not have the time. Lawyers, and there is a surplus of them in the legislature, will delay the proceedings to the point that the opposition would be lucky to get a word in. What happened in the Golez committee last week is a preview.

But what happens if the pressure to resign gets unbearable? I understand the lawyers of the President have advised him to fall the opposition’s bluff somehow. He will not resign but will challenge the opposition to bring the matter up directly with the people.

How? They will offer a constitutional amendment that will cut short his term of office. If the people vote for it, he goes. If not, he stays. One variation of the proposal will actually call for a snap election to cover not just the presidency but the vice presidency as well. Everything could be timed for the May elections so as not to have extra expense.

An outright resignation is however, out of the question. This worse case offer is as good as they are willing to give.
Business and politics
I got this e-mail from reader Don G on last Friday’s column.

Good article on Business and Politics. To summarize your article though, you were saying OK Mr. Pardo, this is how it works take it or leave it. Never once did you try to criticize the system. And you know what? I don’t blame you, Like many Filipinos (if not all) we have come to accept corruption as part of life. The only time we ever complain about it is if it is done in excess i.e., Marcos and now Erap. It is because of this passive (wala naman akong magagawa, talagang ganyan na iyan) attitude we will never change and politicians will not either.

Isn’t it ironic that the people who suffer the most from this set up are the same people who put ERAP in office.

God bless the Philippines. We need it.

I just thought I wouldn’t moralize. I sort of assumed the morality issue is there. We all know the system stinks. But I wanted to argue on their terms and show that even there, kulang na kulang. As I said in a previous column, the only thing shocking is the brazenness of it all.

We are talking here of business confidence. Nothing impresses business executives more than efficiency and effectiveness. The stupidity in the handling of the Chavit Singson case, where the President and Atong Ang allowed their personal emotions get in the way of handling Chavit well, is unforgivable.

The Chavit case is one more reason why this administration can’t get the confidence of the business sector in a way that will turn the economy around.
Question of priorities
Dr. Ernie Espiritu, an emergency room doctor, sent in this one for today.

A man had a terrible accident. His manhood was mangled and torn from his body. The urologist reassured him that modern medicine made it possible for his manhood to be rebuilt, but insurance didn’t cover the expense. It was considered cosmetic. He had three choices – small for $3,500; medium for $6,500 and large for $14,000.

The man was sure he’d want a medium or large. The urologist suggested that he discuss it with his wife privately before a final decision was made. The surgeon then left the room and while he was gone the man called his wife and told her their options.

The doctor returned and found the man looking very sad. "Did you make a decision?" the doctor asked.

"Yes", said the man. "She’d rather remodel the kitchen!"

(Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@bayantel.com.ph)

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