• On JDF, local growth and UAAP

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    Ej Lopez

    Ej Lopez

    THE unrelenting “stubborn attitude” being displayed by some lawmakers in their insistence to probe the Judicial Development Fund (JDF), despite the Supreme Court’s autonomous status, is obviously due to political gratitude. The groups that insist on probing the JDF, even if such course of action is a losing proposition, are mere distractions in the debate and whose only objective is to foment intrigue and veer away from the real issue of fund misspending, with the hope of creating factions within the camp of the president and in the end create divisiveness and confusion among freedom-loving Filipinos.

    That has always been and will always be part of the travails of our system; where political patronage and gratitude is the measure and gauge of “public service.” Compared to more politically mature nations like the United States, where political alignments commence and end in the election period, here in the country it lingers, in fact it persists from the time of patronage until it so dictates and this continually proceeds with the administration and most possibly putting the favored ones in a position of choice or favor them on certain (or is it all?) occasions. In the long run, the people take the cudgels for such leadership oversights resulting from political gratitude.

    This is the main cause of the widespread and unrelenting graft and corruption that pervades our bureaucracy. People with no expertise at all are assigned to some choice positions; in the end they manifest their incompetence but manage to cling to power because of political favors accorded resulting in deliberate “omission” of their rightful duties.

    Headed for long-term growth?
    Banner headline states that the Philippine economy is headed for long-term growth, according to the Department of Finance. The statement came from Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, who said this growth is seen to materialize and gain more momentum given the strong macroeconomic fundamentals. This will be achieved despite the absence of any stimulus coming from election-related spending that admittedly boosted economic growth the last fiscal year.

    This declaration came on the heels of a 12 percent unemployment rate the country has consistently experienced the last two years; an almost 5 percent inflation rate we had at the end of the 2nd quarter, and a growth downgrade from the IMF-WB to about 6 percent. How would one reconcile the local prediction of growth against the steadily worsening inflation and unemployment? This is as good as saying that we are engaging in double-talk where what you are saying is different from what is happening.

    According to the DOF, the Philippines’ gross national savings exceed its gross national investment by around 6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). It further states that this implies that the Philippines has excess resources to spend to push the economic growth higher.

    But how do you manifest and invite borrowers to make use of local savings to accelerate local growth? Despite the existence of excess liquidity which is an offshoot of higher savings, the consumer or investor would rather save, which promotes a more assured take-off than investing, which is riskier.

    The government, in its effort to promote growth and development, should initiate the move toward sustained growth by spending more than what it has been traditionally doing. There is a need to pump-prime the economy for the people to be given job opportunities. How will you translate 7 percent economic growth into reality?

    Business of UAAP
    I am not an avid viewer of UAAP or any basketball game nor do I actively root for any basketball team since the legendary era of Toyota and Crispa during the 70s up to the 80s, where I would always side with the Toyota team because I was working with the company of the Silverios (owner of Toyota) during that time.

    Basketball is the core of what the UAAP is all about. Every school takes a serious position when it comes to their goal to get the much coveted UAAP crown. Many times I get to watch during a lazy night before retiring to bed replays of UAAP games and it is hard to believe that even in friendly games like these that are meant to promote camaraderie among the students, partiality obviously exists in how they call the game. I am no basketball guru but usually in the last few minutes of the game, you let the players decide the outcome of the game and not you, referees, because you rather ruin the beauty of the game.

    You don’t need to be an expert to see that lesser mortal schools are always at the raw-end of the deal when you talk of officiating. Unless you are exceptionally talented in the game of basketball, your chances of winning the crown are nil because you are up against a high-profile team with rich benefactors with all the resources at their dispensation to win the game at all cost.

    The current scheme where majority, if not all, are imported talents destroys the beauty of UAAP games. Whereas before the game was primarily played only by homegrown talents, but with the change in priorities, the games have evolved from a purely student-centered activity into a commercial and even personal-centered activity. And this destroys the beauty of what the real intention of the league is all about which now is in its 77th year…

    For comments e-mail: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com.

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