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Friday, May 30, 2014
I HAVE no problem with President Noynoy Aquino failing to credit his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo, with some heads-up economic moves that might have become veritable stepping stones for the economy’s high growth rate in his watch. But I have big problems with his bullishness about the economy when like all his predecessors he has also failed to reckon with two basic obstacles to sustained economic growth.
His successor’s possible mismanagement of the economy and cuddling of the corrupt will definitely bring us back to an economic stone age. Yet I am not talking about succession although that’s what readily comes to mind as the sure monkey wrench to dismantle PNoy’s purring economic machine. Rather, I am just talking about the failure of present and previous administrations to provide this country with an ample supply of cheap electricity and water.
Water is one basic source of energy. We have more than enough supply of it judging from the heavy rains and floods that visit us annually. Yet, many communities are perennially short of safe drinking water having to draw from primitive wells like Old Testament tribes. Moreover, after a relatively short period into a dry season, water supply to farms and industries are down to critically low levels.
Incontrovertible proof that we have never bothered to impound water from excess rainfall. High-living dynasty politicians, who never feel the scarcity of water in their luxurious mansions and corporate farms and businesses, have never caused to be constructed enough infrastructure like dams and water-impounding ponds or lakes to store water that instead they simply allow to waste away into the sea.
How can our economic planners not realize that water is essential for continued economic growth of farm and industrial production? How can we ask outside foreign capital to invest in a country that becomes parched and starved of water at the first instance of a drought?
Electricity is the other essential element that is not only perennially in short supply but also very expensive. How can any administration be bullish about our economy when without adequate supply of cheap electricity the economy will definitely grind to a halt?
How can we ask that foreign capital be invested in our economy when the latter know that here at home we have local officials asking ordinary people to save on electricity to support the high-rolling political elite’s profligate ways.
This sorry oversight is happening on all levels. Local, provincial and national governments are taking power and water supplies for granted yet our political leaders are bullish about our economic prospects. It’s “bahala na” and “puede na” at its most irresponsible in high places. Simply unconscionable.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 31, 2014.