Friday, November 04, 2005

Agree on a direction

Senator Mar Roxas, chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, said that the recent and recurring political noise is the product of an absence of socio-political and economic direction, which provokes certain sectors to raise their voices in both protest and disappointment.

Roxas made this statement before more than 300 businessmen, CEOs, bankers, and business community leaders at the 7th Semiconductor and Electronic Industries in the Philippines, Inc. (SEIPI) Forum—a business and technology forum with the theme “Success and Failure” held at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel last October 25.

“Both sides are not getting the whole picture,” Roxas explained. “All these talk about cha-cha, coalition government, snap or no-snap, power sharing, are all rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The crux of the matter here is access to government and this is what they are fighting for. But no one is talking about what will happen to us, or where is our country really headed. They are not agreeing on the destination.” Roxas added that he believes that where the country should go must be the focus of our discussion and not who is going to get what. Unity, Roxas said, and power sharing would not workout in a political atmosphere where individuals or groups are poles apart in aims and ends.

“What are we really up to is a question we need to ask ourselves and answer too,” Roxas maintained. “For instance, on December, two months from now, the 180 member states of the World Trade Organization will convene. Do we have anything to say about it? Are we going to continue cooperating with these countries or what? We must have a wider world view than just our own immediate problems.”

Addressing these questions is important, Roxas explained, because much of the job opportunities Filipinos have and may receive in the future are predicated on the presence of these countries’ businesses in the Philippines. The significance of a bigger world view cannot be downplayed on account of political bickering. The question that should be asked, he said, is ‘What’s in it for the average Filipino to follow their agenda? Where’s the ‘value for money’ in having this or that?’ If both can agree on a destination, a clear and doable end-result, Roxas explained, then the political noise will surely stop.

“There is political noise because apparently no one is pointing to a specific direction where the country should go. Set a boat adrift in the middle of the open ocean with a group of people and see what happens. Agree on a direction, and I believe the noise will stop,” Roxas maintained.

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