Continuity


Byline: Gemma Cruz Araneta

IN movie, theater, and television productions, there is always someone assigned to take care of continuity. When the leading lady disappears into a room with straight hair, the one in charge of continuity has to make sure she emerges from the place with exactly the same hairdo. However, in our national political life, continuity is virtually unknown. I am certain that you get the impression that continuity is considered a weakness, a kind of personality defect that betrays a lack of or total indifference to lucrative creative. In my opinion, continuity is the unheralded virtue of silent martyrs who value sincere and sound governance over personal glory.

Often times, I get that feeling that we are always going back to square one, or going around in circles instead of moving forward to achieve greater goals. That is because there is no palpable continuity in our political and socio-economic endeavors. Five years ago, for example, the issue of gross income taxation hugged the headlines and only one person, economist Solita Monsod, dared exclaim that the gross income tax scheme had already been discussed ad nauseum and discarded during the Ramos administration. She reminded one and all that a presidential task force had drafted the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program which was subsequently submitted to the House of Representatives as well as to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other private sector groups. The UP School of Economics headed by then dean Philip Medalla actively participated in the debate about the merits and demerits of imposing the gross income tax scheme. But that was not all, ten tax summits with the non-governmental sector were convened to further scrutinize the plan before it was finally and definitely discarded. So, Dr. Monsod had all the reason to rant and rave as to why that same over dissected scheme was being resurrected, as if no one in the Arroyo administration had ever heard of it.

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