The Reformation Period

Manila Bulletin, May 14, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Reformation Period


When society requires to be rebuilt, there is no use in attempting to rebuild it on the old plan.

John Stuart Mill

THE first decade of the 21st century will be the determinant, crossroad, and watershed in Philippine political and economic history, and it appears that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will be tasked to see to it that she leads the Philippines down the correct path of righteousness, political stability, sustainable economic growth, and happiness to the greatest number, during which period President Arroyo would have had an unprecedented nine years of continuous governance (20012010) which has never been bestowed on, or been enjoyed by, any democratic Philippine president other than the autocratic martial law years of Ferdinand Marcos.

However, unlike the cathartic Reformation Period of the 16th century which saw the breakaway, the rise of Protestantism and revolt against the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church, and the emergence of Martin Luther in Germany, Calvin in Switzerland, and later the Church of England, the Gloria Reformation Period, 20042010, will be, comparatively speaking, more benign, constitutional, gradual, and political which admittedly will be easier said than done, and attendant with risks and perils if she does not deliver after having been given the overwhelming mandate by the Filipino people.

First, already this early, and with the growing consensus for amending the 1987 Constitution, President-elect Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should immediately commence the mechanics and mode of constitutional change, and the proposed agenda and scope, as the process will be lengthy, controversial, vested, and partisan.

It goes without saying that different presidential advisers will have different priorities.

There will be those who will suggest relegating the constitutional reforms to the backburner in lieu of the seriousness of the budget deficit, legislative priority bills, revenue-raising laws and new taxes, national amity, and a host of other excuses to delay the Constitutional Convention or Constituent Assembly. …

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