We Need Continuity

Manila Bulletin, May 18, 2009 | Go to article overview

We Need Continuity


"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”Shakespeare’s “Julius CeasarOne of the many reasons why prosperity and sustainable growth have eluded the Philippines is the lack of continuity of administration and policies which is the raison d’etre for political stability and economic growth.Truth to tell, under a presidential six-year fixed term system, it is the consensus that six years’ tenure is too short for a good man; and too long for the ill-prepared.To add salt to the wound, the three-year term of members of the House of Representatives is also too short, and the interlude is spent preparing for reelection, and recovering the election expenses that seem to escalate with every election.The Senate, of course, is shafting itself into redundancy and obsolescence.The thrust of Congress lamentably is legislation in aid of anything but legislation.Nonetheless, despite its poor governance performance, the Philippines has survived as a democracy, dreamily drifting in the high seas.In the recent past, circa 1960s-1970s, the buzzword in Asia was continuity of leadership and government.Except for the Philippines, nearly all East Asian countries, such as, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, China, and Singapore developed rapidly brought about by continuity of administration, policy consistency, and continuity of leadership or political parties.Each developing economy had each own brand of governance, methodology, and leadership personality whether it be Park Chung-Hee of Korea, or Chiang Ching-Kuo of Taiwan, or Mahathir of Malaysia, or Suharto of Indonesia, or Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, or Bolkiah of Brunei, and irrespective of whether it was an absolute monarchy, or a distant semblance of democracy, or dictatorial. …

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