Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Senator Mar's list

Fans of Mar Roxas should get his list of
“sayang” items. We always criticize our political
leaders for being clueless, because most of them do
not even bother to draft a plan of action that is not
stuffed with motherhood statements. If they do not
know what the people want, they should at least have
an inkling of what we do not want. Here is one
senator, a presidential aspirant, who at least knows
what he does not want for this country. At a recent
meeting of the formidable Foreign Correspondents
Association of the Philippines, (FOCAP) Mr. Palengke
read his “sayang” list

Naturally, the good senator had to explain what
we Filipinos mean by “sayang” and tried to
translate it into the English phrase “What a waste,”
which also connotes regret, forlornness, over what
could be and might have been. Not quite, but that is
as close as one can get to ‘‘sayang”, a word in
Filipino “that so captures the sentiment of the
average person on the street.”

The “saying” : (1) ” As the first colonial
people to regain our freedom, we had a head start in
the race for development among the new nations. At
Independence , thanks to a comparatively benign
American colonialism, our individual incomes were
among the highest in Southeast Asia . Then, after
having led our neighbors in GDP growth in the
post-Independence period, we soon started to lag
behind.. .Thailand passed us by in 1981. Now the
average Thai has per capita income twice that of the
average Filipino. Malaysians have per capita four
times that of Filipinos. Singaporeans almost 20 times
more than the average Filipino. Indonesia and Vietnam
are breathing down our necks”.

2. The day-to-day erosion of the people’s trust in our
institutions has resulted in an increasingly
dysfunctional political system. The senator said trust
in all top four government institutions has
significantly declined compared to the previous
quarter. “From a net positive 32 rating in September,
the Senate has declined 13 points, to a positive-19 as
of year-end.The House of Representatives' net
satisfaction score fell from positive 18 to only
positive 3. The Supreme Court dropped from positive 24
in September to a neutral net positive 5 in December.
This is more glaring, given the fact that it has
enjoyed double-digit positive approval ratings over
the past four quarters. The Cabinet went from a
neutral net positive 1 to a negative 9, a steep plunge
that reflects the President’s own negative trust

However, Mr. Palengke remains optimistic and
determined. He said: “A silver lining though is that
business continues to exist and in some instances
thrives in what is its own parallel universe. A
stronger peso and a shrinking pool of qualified
workers could slow down the pace of growth in this
sector. In spite of this, though, we continue to hope
that this will remain a shining star of the Philippine
economy... The service sector will continue to lead
the way in terms of opportunity and employment ...
Mining will continue to draw in foreign investors …
and or once, the stars are aligned for the agriculture

On the other hand, Senator Roxas said , nearly
three thousand citizens leave the country everyday to
work abroad. More than a hundred Filipinos per hour
are packing up and leaving to secure a brighter future
for their families. They prefer two-year job contracts
elsewhere than to face unemployment and
underemployment here at home. "Young Filipinos have
learned to plan their lives around self-contained exit
plans as migrant workers...Development and
nation-building is all about hope; take that hope away
and the smart ones use their energies not to build
their nation but to escape from

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