Saturday, January 6, 2007

Good news, sort of

The government recently announced that it was paying off the rest of its debts to the IMF early. The Philippine peso has not been stronger in many years, inflation is down and the treasury has never been more flushed with foreign currency. But at what cost?

Record remittances from overseas workers approaching $15 billion coupled with hefty cuts in education and infrastructure budgets are responsible for the unprecedented surplus. There is nothing inherently evil in this arrangement but it does reveal the government's priorities.

Take a chance in not investing in building roads and bridges and power lines and telecommunications for a few years. Keep the teachers underpaid and the students undereducated for a spell while we look good to our foreign creditors. Spend billions modernizing the armed forces without clearly determining who our enemies are and why these elements are so violently opposed to the dispensation.

The Asian Development Bank commissioned a report on the prevalence of corruption. As expected, the report detailed that even when it comes to the distribution of aid and assistance, the system appears to be hopelessly corrupted.

This blog is almost one year old and looking back, I have written regularly regarding the perspective of a native son gone back home. The topics are disturbingly similar. There is a theme that we can synthesize from all the troubles outlined. My version of the way out continues to evolve. Today is traditionally the Feast of the Three Kings, the Day of Epiphany. I will tell you about an Epiphany soon.

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