Katipunero: a member of the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng Pilipinas, a revolutionary group of the 1800s; a Filipino who continues to fight unjust and corrupt structures in society.

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Location: Loyola House of Studies, Quezon City, Philippines

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Credit Rating or Credibility Rating?

I am no economist. But based on the little I know and the little I've read about credit ratings, it seems that these ratings reflect an entity's creditworthiness based on its present financial condition and past credit history. In short, it is an entity's ability to settle its obligations in the appointed time.

The news today says that the US-based investment banks - Merill Lynch and Morgan Stanley & Co - have upgraded the credit standing of Philippine debt papers in reaction to the news about EVAT. Also, the value of our peso and stocks surged after 5 months of beating in anticipation of good things to come with the implementation of the EVAT. The financial community seems to be very optimistic about the EVAT.

Yes, things will seem to be better. Because the government is able to collect more revenues, they will have more funds to dispose. Unfortunately, another news item says that 70% of the EVAT will be used to service our outstanding debt and only 30% will be spent on infrastructure and social services. This means, that the additional tax we pay will not immediately redound to out benefit. It will take some time - years and even decades perhaps - before we feel the benefits of the additional taxes we pay.

The question is: have we ever felt the benefits of the taxes we pay? I have never met anyone who is happy to pay taxes? And the reason is that only a few really feel it is all worth it to pay taxes. The prevailing perception is that the money we pay go to the pockets of a few individuals. Corruption seems to be a badge proudly brandished by our public servants! Hence, with the implementation of the EVAT, the little consolation we deserve is the assurance that our money will be used for the benefit of the majority.

But how is this possible when the President herself has not cleared herself of the doubt cast on her honesty, integrity, and credibility by her "lapse in judgment" and by her family's "little" acts of indiscretion?

Maybe it is not the country's credit rating that should be improved; it must be someone's credibility rating.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Suffering is the Only Road to Peace

We go to war so that we may have peace. - St. Augustine

The present government has gone to great lengths to protect itself from the emerging fury of the masses. It has introduced the "great debates" on constitutional change to muddle the issue on GMA's election manipulatin and cheating and the use of tainted funds oil her campaign machinery. And when she and her allies successfully killed the impeachment complaint against her in the lower house (obviously to escape the ire of the Senate), she continued to douse cold water - both literally and figuratively - on the coninuing efforts of those militantly working to expose her many dark secrets and her true character. The government has responded with an Executive Order that will prevent public servants from spilling the beans.

Personally, I think the President is spending more of her time in politicking rather than governance. Sure, she appears to continue to run the country but not with the common good in mind. Most of her statements and actions seem to be done to save her already ailing presidency.

But the president should realize that the cloud of doubt will forever hover over her head, even beyond her term, if she does not allow the truth to come out. It will be a painful process not only for her and her allies but for the whole nation as well, for it will reveal to us the moral degeneration that has continued to eat up our so-called democratic systems. And the more she protects herself, the more she feeds this festering wound that would not leave us in peace.

Hence, the President should make the supreme sacrifice - no, not to step down from office but to simply allow things to unfold before us so that the truth may finally emerge and set us all free. It is only in allowing conflict and "war" to take its course - God forbid a civil war! - that we can ever hope for peace. Ms. President, we do not want a civil war. All we want is a battle of wits that will allow the truth to finally emerge. Let this great debate begin!