Inspiring hope


THE BREADWINNER | Mario F. Fetalino Jr.

Recently, I expressed my disappointment with doomsayers as their negative opinions are not helping our fight against the pandemic.

But what happens if the doomsayer is President Duterte himself? Earlier, Duterte said the economy is ‘in bad shape’ and it is sinking deeper and deeper.’ The statement is not good for a government trying to attract more investors to help the economy recover.

Compounding the problem is that some of our colleagues in media are keeping the old habit of taking the most negative side of the story probably because that’s what sells to readers.

I understand Duterte was simply being honest with the public when he made the sad announcement. And he made it in good faith. Besides, he didn’t forget to end his statement in a positive note, saying the government is doing its best to address the problem to inspire hope.

Inspiring hope is what we should do for our people who are already weary over the pandemic and its cruel and devastating impact in their lives. I’m glad there are people in government doing this. They should be followed.
One of them is Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. Despite the pandemic-induced blow to the economy, Panelo echoed the sentiment of economic managers that the country’s economy will bounce back.

He made this remark after Duterte, in a recent speech, admitted that the country’s economy is “in bad shape”, but the government is doing its best to stay afloat.

Following the reopening of the businesses amid eased quarantine restrictions, he assured that the government is also balancing economic growth as well as the health and safety of all citizens. Let’s not lose hope, he added.

Citing National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Karl Chua, he noted that the government is confident that the Philippines will graduate to the upper-middle income country status by the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.

He pointed out that the country was able to reduce poverty until the coronavirus health crisis came and led to job losses.

Meanwhile, Panelo also expressed support to legislative efforts to make economic amendments to the country’s charter, noting that there are currently restrictions that impede the country’s economic growth and progress.

The House committee on constitutional amendments earlier voted to adopt Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 where the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” would be added to the constitutional restrictions that limit the participation of foreign investors in the governing body of entities based on their proportionate share in the capital.

This means lawmakers would be able to use legislation to lift the current prohibitions on foreign investors.

Panelo said he agreed with Dominguez that while restrictive economic provisions should be eased, the ban on foreign ownership of land in the country should remain.

Members of the opposition rejected legislative efforts to resume talks on Charter change in the middle of a pandemic. But Panelo said that Congress should not only focus on legislation to boost the government’s Covid-19 response, but also discussions on Cha-cha.

“You cannot be hostage to this pandemic forever. We can focus on responses to this pandemic but at the same time we can also discuss other concerns of the state,” he said.

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