A serious national concern

Clobbered - this could be the right qualifier for Team Unity in the latest poll survey. GMA's senatoriables should be alarmed. But she herself should also be because this coming election is inevitably a referendum on her leadership. If the trend continues and the opposition gets it the Senate will become a stonewall against whatever developmental initiatives the Administration will take for the good of the country. This would be unfortunate indeed.

Judging from the actuation of the opposition big shots in the House this is not a remote possibility. And the Upper House will become a forum of grandstanding obstructionists full of blabber but bereft of deeds. Tension will characterize its relationship with Malacañang, a situation which will surely produce a negative impact on the country's economic thrust.

A worse scenario is the possibility that the opposition will dominate the Lower House. For sure, the first thing it will do is to refile an impeachment charge against PGMA. With an adversarial Senate the fate of Madam's presidency is sealed.

When this happens we will be back to square one. The current efforts to lift this country from the bootstraps of economic woes will go haywire. Then investors would scoot away shutting off job opportunities, and poverty incidence would worsen. Of course, the effect on GNP would be disastrous - which would mean that our peso, now strongest in six years, would shed its value and trigger an uncontrolled inflation.

There is no argument that presently the country's economy is well on its way to a robust growth. The GNP in the last three years has averaged more than 5 percent. It was in fact 6.1 percent last year and is expected to rise to 6.7 percent this year. Foreign investment has tremendously increased while our budget deficit has ebbed to P60 billion more or less from almost P200 billion a couple of years ago. With a P1.3 trillion budget for 2007 expansion in infrastructure development and employment generating ventures is a certainty. At P48.35 to a dollar exporters may not be happy, but consumers are because the buying power of their money is enhanced. These positive developments could be the reason why the Philippines' rating as investment haven has recently been upgraded. One US agency, CALPERS, for example, lately ranked this country above China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand as a such haven. Barring any adverse socio-political development, there is no stopping the emergence of this country into a NIC-hood status in the next few years.

That adverse development will happen once the Administration gets a blackeye this coming elections. Disunited and without a credible economic plan, the new political force would surely scuttle whatever gains have been made in the economic front. Mostly protégés of a discredited chief executive, it will be happy days again for these people many of whom are like their demigod - a master of misgovernance.

This is a serious concern, to use an understatement. Poised before the nation is an impending tragedy, the tragedy that the leadership, which has fashioned a good roadmap for development and has spurred this country towards a better future is now poised to be repudiated and rendered inutile. More tragic is the thought that the very people themselves who are the intended beneficiaries of such efforts will become the instrument of such repudiation. It's like killing the goose that lays golden eggs.

Yet the people can hardly be blamed. For despite the vaunted economic upswing, despite the favorable appraisal the country is getting from accreditors, the bottomline is whether this trend has made the people's lives better. Unfortunately, the perception is in the negative. Is it surprising if the common man has nothing but spite for those in power?

Add to this the unfavorable media blitz against PGMA on alleged malfeasances and abusive use of power, of extra-judicial killings for which her Administration has no honest-to-goodness counter-measure - all these plus the many unanswered questions on various issues particularly the "Hello Garci" affair have created in the mind of the average Filipino an unfavorable outlook towards the current Malacañang occupants.
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