Friday, July 29, 2005

Roxas: It's the economy, stupid

I saw the following news article in the inside pages of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Page A5) and for some reason, this cannot be found in the Inquirer's online version.

In anycase, this echoes my sentiments towards the proposed Charter Change.

Roxas: It's the economy, stupid

by TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer, A5
July 29, 2005

IT'S THE economy, stupid.

Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II yesterday added his voice to the growing opposition to the proposed constitutional ammendments, saying the government should instead focus on passing a new budget.

Roxas urged the Arroyo administration to initiated budget deliberation to allow Congress to adopt fiscal measures int he budget to respond to the needs of the 80 million Filipinos.

He stressed that the passage of a new budget was crucial to government efforts to sustain the gains of the tax reform measures passed by Congress last year.

If Congress focused its efforts on constitutional change preparatory to a shift to a federal-parliamentaryform of government, the country might slip back to its "critical fianncial situation" last year, the senator warned.

"In 2004, the country suffered an economic downturn until Congress passed the tax reform measures to rescue the ailing economy," he said.

When she delivered her State of the Nation Address last Monday, President Macapagal Arroyo made no mention of the budget.

Roxas also pointed to the need for the government to take a look at the country's fiscal situation, nothing that there were some indications that the economy was hurting from the current political crisis.

The prices of canned goods, such as sardines and milk, are expected to rise by 15 to 25 centavos as an offshoot of the increase of tin prices in the world market, he said. (Er, Senator Mar, hindi kaya may kinalaman din ang pagbubukas muli nang National Steel Corporation? Mangyaring humingi nang proteksyon ang mga nangangasiwa dito ngayon sa pamamagitan nang pagpataw nang karagdagang buwis sa pag-angkat nang tin? Oo nga pala, kayo ang isa sa mga nanguna at tumulong sa pagpapabukas nang National Steel Corporation diba? HOY! HOY! HOY!)

"The prices of canned goods, such as sardines and milk are heavily dependent on imported materials. Tin can accounts for an average of 27 percent of all canned products' price, but for sardines and meat products, it can go up to as high as 70 percent," the senator said.

If it would insist on amending the Constitution, the government should focus on the economic provisions, Sen. Ralph Recto said.

He said people "might now sway" (Diba?) to the tune of Charter Change (Diba?) if this were limited to political provisions.

"Juan de la Cruz would like to see a linkage between the state of the Constitution and the state of kaldero (pot). Will Charter Change put rice in my pot?" the senator said.

Recto suggested that trade, patrimony and investment issues should be the subject of debates on Charter change, instead of the form of government and term limits of elected officials. (Diba?)

Curiously, Sen. Recto's statement is similar to a statement made by Roxas before he ran for the Senate in 2004, where in he was looking towards Charter Change to introduce economic reforms. Oh! and by the way, Senator Roxas had been for Charter Change from the very onset of his senatorial aspirations, it was another "mantra" he prescribed for economic growth.

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