Sometimes I think Amando Doronila is simply dying to prove the President can pull rabbits out of her hat. His column, today, Arroyo seizes the initiative, seems along the lines of his previous claim that the President had pulled a “breathaking” reclaiming of the political initiative after the May elections.
I don't know. Iba ang recollection ko kay kuya Manuel re Doronila's "previous claims."
Eto yung "Arroyo seizes the initiative" article ni Doronila:
Instead of producing an issue around which the opposition senators would close ranks, the bid by Sen. Panfilo Lacson to revive the tape scandal has allowed the President to seize the initiative by shifting the issue to the economic argument, thereby painting the opposition senators as a bunch of obstructionists standing in the way of giving momentum to what she has claimed as the “highest level” of gross domestic product growth since 1991, based on the 2007 first quarter growth of 6.9 percent.
But here's Doro from last month (July 27, 07):
No State of the Nation Address (Sona) delivered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the past seven years has devalued the intrinsic worth of the presidential word more than the one of July 23.
Sona 7 was so puffed up with the vision of a country transformed into a First World economy in 20 years that, on closer examination, it proved to be not worth the weight of the paper on which it was printed.
the picture we get is that the foundation upon which the Sona vision of a Philippine Shangri-La is built on two assumptions, both of them pies in the sky. The realization of the infrastructure program in 20 years depends on expected revenue collection. Sona 7 has offered a promise of an economic paradise in 20 years in exchange for domestic peace and the more immediate prospects of a coercive political environment in the remaining three years of the Arroyo presidency. This is an extremely one-sided tradeoff that gives little in terms of short-term economic benefits, at least through poverty alleviation, in exchange for the immediate curtailment of political liberties.
With the flick of a sorcerer’s wand, the President tried to shortchange the Filipino people by offering uncertain promises of prosperity in exchange for reducing their political liberties. This trade-off contradicts academic studies showing democratization is not incompatible with economic development. These studies are based on the development experience in Southeast Asia during three decades of re-democratization from the 1970s.
In this tradeoff, Sona 7 tried to turn the clock back to the era of the hard authoritarianism in Asia epitomized by Suharto in Indonesia, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. In 1972, Ferdinand Marcos tried to bring the Philippines in step with these prototypes as a latecomer in the Southeast Asian authoritarian club.
In Sona 7, Ms Arroyo tried to revive this Faustian bargain by offering a delusionary prosperity in exchange for reduced political liberties threatened by the launching of the Human Security Act days earlier.
The Sona slammed the door on the Supreme Court-convened summit recommendations calling on the President to order state security forces to halt the wave of extrajudicial executions. Although Congress gave a place of honor to Chief Justice Reynato Puno during the delivery of the Sona, the gesture turned into tokenism when the President acknowledged the summit’s resolutions with a mere paragraph in the compendious speech.
The reference bristled with contempt with this passage: “We fight terrorism. It threatens our sovereign democratic, compassionate and decent way of life. Therefore, in the fight against lawless violence, we must uphold these values. It is never right and always wrong to fight terror with terror.”
On human rights, she asked Congress to enact laws to “transform state response to political violence,” including laws to “impose harsher penalties for political killings,” and laws “reserving the harshest penalties for the rogue elements in the uniformed services who betray public trust.” This declaration shifts the onus to Congress to pass more laws, when the moment calls less for laws and more for emphatic action from the executive branch.
This washing of the hands offers little hope that the killings will stop. It underscores even more sharply the emptiness of the economic promise of the tradeoff dangled by the Sona.