Sunday, February 17, 2008

From rocks to boulders

 A couple of days after he was appointed
Director-General of the NEDA (National Economic
Development Authority ) Mr. Romulo Neri was
interviewed by a television network (ANC, if memory
serves) where he sounded so candid, cheerful and
idealistic that I began to wonder how long someone
like him could last in the vipers’ tangle of
government. That was sometime in December 2002.
Calmly and with a boyish smile, Mr. Neri answered
with ease and aplomb a barrage of acrid questions from
the program host and tele-viewers about changes in the
President’s economic policies. Earlier, the Chief
Executive had announced that she would be shifting
gears, from macro mode to microeconomics.

Romulo Neri explained the new orientation in a
manner easily grasped by people like me whose
knowledge of economics is quite elementary. He also
revealed that President Arroyo was disheartened that
the policies and programs she had earlier announced in
her first State of the Nation address had not been
implemented to her satisfaction. Neri then compared
President Arroyo’s policies and programs to seeds
planted on fertile ground, watered and nurtured by the
Chief Executive herself but unable to sprout to
fruition because of the proverbial field was littered
with rocks.

According to Neri, the rocks were the “powerful
individuals and groups” who strangle economic
development to protect their vested interests and he
likened the President’s new microeconomic approach
to removing those cumbersome rocks that were
smothering the seeds of progress. That was in 2002;
perhaps, never in Romulo Neri’s wildest dream did he
imagine that while clearing the road of pesky rocks
a truly back-breaking task lay ahead, that of
moderating greed. In six years, the rocks had become
boulders of mammoth proportions.

During that maiden interview, Romulo Neri also
advocated the controversial “open skies” policy
because it was President G. Arroyo’s avowed objective
to make the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport
a regional travel hub that would jump start the
development of both Central and Northern Luzon.
Moreover, Neri said we should have “open skies” with
Korea and the Middle East and increase seating
capacities and flight frequencies so Filipino
overseas workers would not have to “pay an arm and a
leg” just to come home. Did he succeed in removing
the meteors in our air lanes?

From “Snow White” to “Golden Compass” ( my
first movie and latest one I have seen) the forces of
evil seem to be more dynamic, formidable, relentless
and ruthlessly astute than the forces of good which
appear meek , improvised, diffused and impotent.
Naturally, in both “Snow White” and “ Golden
Compass”, the good triumphed in the end but, that
is not always the case in real life where evil seems
to reap astronomic dividends until the coming of
Karma. But that can take ages so in the mean time,
the righteous have to run for cover. Don’t you
notice how your good works always boomerang on you
with the most hazardous effects? Ask Eng. Jun Lozada,
Mr. Romulo Neri’s friend and colleague.

No comments: