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Opinion

EDITORIAL – Plodding along

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As far as political turbulence goes, 2003 was a relatively peaceful year in this country. No president was impeached or ousted, although there was one bizarre mini coup attempt, staged from a posh apartment complex. The scandals were relatively tame; attempts to implicate the President and her spouse in corrupt deals fizzled out, although their names were tarnished by the accusations. Unprecedented efforts to kick out the Chief Justice also collapsed, although the scandal threatened to tear the nation apart and further weakened the judiciary.

Major embarrassments such as the escape from national police headquarters of Indonesian terrorist Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi and two Abu Sayyaf members were mitigated later in the year by the capture of the notorious Commander Robot, Ghalib Andang, as well as two key members of Jemaah Islamiyah.

There were some encouraging developments, such as the final ruling of the Supreme Court on the Marcoses’ multimillion-dollar Swiss deposits, still held in escrow but soon to be turned over to the Philippine government. The government handled the SARS crisis well. US President George W. Bush also survived a state visit in Manila with not a hair on his body being harmed.

In terms of progress or national achievements it was an unremarkable year. Trading in the stock market was flat and the peso refused to improve. We’re stuck with the same problems from a year ago, with little change in sight in the near future. Politics and realignments in preparation for the forthcoming elections consumed the nation, with some distractions thrown in – "shock and awe" in Iraq, the Kris and Joey show.

The nation plodded along in 2003. Life could have been worse, but it also could have been much better. Filipinos can’t afford to be content with just surviving crises big and small, distracted by show biz, content to watch the world pass us by. As we bid goodbye to 2003, every Filipino must resolve to do his part in making 2004 a better year.

ABU SAYYAF

CHIEF JUSTICE

COMMANDER ROBOT

FATHUR ROHMAN

GHALIB ANDANG

GHOZI

JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH

KRIS AND JOEY

MARCOSES

PRESIDENT GEORGE W

SUPREME COURT

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