OUR economic and political landscape has lately been assaulted with some personal and political imbroglios. Commencing with the unconstitutional utilization of government funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) down to the continued deceleration of the people’s satisfaction and trust in the president; but still, it represents the highest among the lowest, according to the presidential spokesman. Despite the fact that traces of economic strength seem present in our economy, greater strides toward growth are hampered by some political decisions that have indirect impact on local stability. And though a series of confidence-building measures has been achieved by the country lately (e.g. credit upgrades, pledges of investments, etc.), translating these into more measurable and concrete growth that will redound to the benefit of the grassroots seem nowhere to be found, at least in the current scenario.
The present administration is almost at the homestretch of its six-year reign and it is quite admirable that the trust rating it has built in the past four years has remained steady despite some instances of botched leadership. The people, even though bereft of improvements in their lot, have remained steadfast in their trust of the current rule of President Aquino. The number of people getting hungry has increased, abject poverty is unchanged, unemployment unceasing, inflation accelerates and more; yet the president still enjoys the trust of the people significantly.
Seldom will you find a leader where more than majority of the people are firm in their trust and confidence in his leadership. It is perhaps because President Aquino has inherited the upright stature of his charismatic mother, former President Cory Aquino and the heroism displayed by his martyred father Benigno Aquino, Jr., who was an icon of democracy. Despite some lapses in leadership insights which is a normal occurrence in any administrative rule, lapses that put the president in hot water on several occasions, the perceived honesty and sincere leadership thrust has nevertheless bailed him out unscathed because of confidence in his persona.
Power shortage cum water rationing in 2015
As if it is not enough that the country is bound to experience at least three to four hours of power outages in the summer of 2015, now comes the threat of water rationing, also this coming summer of 2015. The inevitability of rotating brownouts come summer looms in the horizon. Energy Secretary Jerico Petilla has declared this is because of energy shortage and other consequential factors like the breakdown, maintenance, and repair of power plants and anticipated high demand for power during the summer months.
As if this was not anticipated, energy authorities simply warned us that the power shortage is inevitable as though it were a natural occurrence like earthquakes or super typhoons. What has it got to do with the ongoing drive of our economy to achieve economic growth and reach tiger status? Again this will result in a regression of our growth and tiger prospects by at least several years.
Hardly have we “digested” the gloomy impact of the upcoming power shortage to our economy, yet here comes another threat, this time of water rationing. The threat of water rationing will not only impact businesses but also households. Water is not a mere need but the most basic need of the people. And this threat of rationing or shortage will come at a time when people are laboring from the scorching heat of the summer months. For individuals who struggle to earn a living to achieve at least the most basic comfort in life, water and electricity are a “trophy” or a prize that they want to win.
Even if the situation is already in the eleventh hour, the government should still try to seek a more permanent solution to this problem that has hounded the nation intermittently. These are the most basic tools that should be addressed even prior to other needs, especially for an emerging market like the Philippines.
If we cannot stabilize the most basic factors of a sound economy, how do we expect the country to attract foreign as well as local investments to our local turf? These are basic arguments that will require basic leadership acumen that was overlooked in the previous regime and has been continuously overlooked.
Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the Most Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., DD, Archbishop-Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Caceres, First Filipino Rector of the University of Santo Tomas. His remains lie in state at the UST Chapel (August 13 to15, 2014).
For comments e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.