Archive for the ‘trust’ Category

World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates

February 13, 2009

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is hotly agitated by the World Bank (WB) scandal. The corruption charges by the international lending body implicate Jose Miguel Arroyo, the palace’s “first gentleman” and husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo. The accusations of unlawful transactions inflame the pompous side of the flighty woman-senator who acts like a straight and unbending arrow.

Santiago has displayed irritation over the non-appearance of WB representative Bert Hofman in the January 27, 2008 senate hearing in which he is expected to clarify the allegations against government officials, influence peddlers, and road contractors. With the characteristic loquacious bravado that the lady-lawmaker is known for, Santiago blared:

““Mr. Hofman must come here in person or else we will cite him for contempt. Let this cause trouble (between the WB and the Senate) that would even lead to the Supreme Court or even the International Court of Justice. This is good because we will be able to test who between the World Bank and the Filipinos are the kings here.” —-Philstar (02/13/09, Calica, A)

Sen. Santiago’s incendiary words don’t fail to befuddle observers who think her thunderous tirades are nothing but another episode of “entertainment” in the corruption-riddled government. She effectively distracts the public from the sordid corruption charge in the WB-funded projects which has been “institutionalized” for at least a decade. While she seems urgently intent to pursue truth and punish wrong-doers in her ranks, many believe all the fury will die down before anyone will ever be proven accountable. She focuses wrongly on the messenger of bad news—the WB, instead of the rapacious perpetrators of the crime.

From whichever angle people look at the Santiago, her demeanor is a source of both pride and dishonor. She poses as a feisty defender of truth ready to uphold the dignity of the nation, something rarely seen in the slow-mo senate. But there are those who question her truthfulness and motive. From past experience, it is unlikely her noisy declarations will ever amount to anything beyond the exercise of words. At a time when the world suspects how deeply the country is mired in dishonesty, Santiago won’t probably go farther than mere investigations.

Even as the controversy goes on, Finance secretary Margarito Teves is already banking on the WB to increase its lending to the Philippines to a tune of $1 billion for the next few years. Keeping a warlike stance (instead of being conciliatory) is distracting. Sen. Santiago brushes aside the reality that the foreign bank isn’t obligated to humor the Philippines so that it can enjoy the “honor” of granting loans to the country. As a government official representing the country, there are those who think she is rude and crude—a loose cannon who blames the foreign bank for its “incomplete” disclosure, effectively deflecting the issue from the real crime.

It is said the leads pointing to fraud in the WB-financed project biddings have been passed on to Filipino authorities as early as 2007, but it’s only now (after the lid of corruption was blown open) that they see the urgency of investigating. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been criticized and threatened with dismissal for negligently sitting on the case.

The World Bank has already provided vital information to work on. Many wonder the aptness of the senate demanding more information from the foreign entity without the Philippines taking exhaustive effort to gather truth from its own backyard. As if to lamely cover up for glaring shortcomings and the embarrassments which go with incompetence and hypocrisy, Santiago’s blistering words have been set into play for the public to guess and digest. (Photo Credit:; ButchokoyD; Arenamontanus) =0=


Iceland’s government fails as the economic crisis worsens

January 26, 2009

After attempts to reverse Iceland’s financial crisis since October last year, Reykjavik’s government has collapsed amid street protests from citizens who set fires and hold noise barrages with pots and saucepans. Having lost trust in government, angry Icelanders protest a mismanaged economy, worsening joblessness, and rising cost of goods.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde couldn’t quell the public’s disappointment after Iceland’s currency lost its value and banks failed that mirrored the financial troubles in Wall Street and many countries in Europe.

“The IMF announced in November it would pump about $827 million into the Icelandic economy immediately, with another $1.3 billion coming in eight installments. Iceland’s Nordic neighbors — the governments of Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden — announced they would lend Iceland another $2.5 billion.”— (01/25/09, Nyeberg, P)

Calling for an earlier election in May, Haarde, who had been afflicted with cancer, resigned and announced he wouldn’t run for another election. Fearing national bankruptcy, he dissolved the coalition government he headed— formed by the Social Democrat party and Independence party.

With the government’s future uncertain, the island-country’s figurehead President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he would consult with Iceland’s four main political parties before asking that an interim government is formed.

Similar economic and political troubles are happening in many parts of the world as well. Hard hit are the economies of the United States (USA) and Great Britain which have embarked on their respective financial remedies. The outlook of the crisis at this time is grim even if economic bail-out packages at the expense of taxpayers have been laid out. Nobody seems to know how and when the financial mess will end. Ordinary citizens are left confused and fearful of what next will happen. (Photo Credit: Nele en Jan; Jon Palma)=0=


Premature attrition of confidence

December 8, 2008

Even before Pres. Elect Barack Obama gets inaugurated on January 20, 2009, there are troubling signs in the horizon. The “Yes we can,” slogan of his campaign during the election seems dampened by the herculean task ahead. His mesmerizing words which don’t synch well with truth have started to show their cracks. From his camp, liberal supporters have started to show impatience.

Liberals are growing increasingly nervous – and some just flat-out angry – that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on Cabinet jobs and policy choices. Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and take on Big Oil. He’s hedged his call for a quick drawdown in Iraq. And he’s stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts of the left. Now some are shedding a reluctance to puncture the liberal euphoria at being rid of President George W. Bush to say, in effect, that the new boss looks like the old boss.”—YahooNews (12/08/08, Lee,C; Henderson, NM)

President George Bush must be smiling with relief. Obama’s new administration promises a 2.5 million job generation program which may cost taxpayers 500 billion to finance. To raise optimism, the upcoming president dangles Harvard technocrats to keep his magic in place. But many believe experts can only be as good as the results they can produce.

What the Obama team plans to accomplish is something that the public can’t take bait, hook and sinker. Americans have seen enough of the promises, ineptness, greed, corruption, and extravagance of their leaders. And they know intelligence and smartness aren’t guarantees for success.

This early, liberals from Obama’s party have raised concerns. The messianic black president who has been heavily supported by the partisan media is telling his people that economic hardship is on the way. The financial mess will get worse, he said—a let down on the expectation of the people. It makes his supporters start thinking whether their man is up for the job.

The $700 billion bailout package earlier forged by the government isn’t enough. The beleaguered American auto industry is asking for a rescue package of $36 billion dollars in the wake of more than half a million unemployed have been reported this month. More workers fear that they’ll be laid off from their jobs or they’ll lose their homes from forfeitures. Saddled by about $10.7 trillion debts, USA’s economic picture isn’t pretty. Americans face the worst economic uncertainty since 1974.

Economists Ben Shalom Bernanke and Henry Paulson aren’t sure if what they are doing will work. They are just as confused as the senators and congressmen in Capitol Hill regarding the economy. Their expertise hardly guarantees that things will get better. The heroics they display are dubiously too little too late, after private finances have been ruined.

Americans are nervously watching their investments wear away and go down the drain. The burnished promises they heard during the presidential election frustrate them. They realize consumer confidence isn’t easy to keep when things don’t do well. Stretching more patience, they need to wait and see what will happen. Uncertainty has started chipping on their trust. Many feel the economy is far from being fixed. (Photo credits: Cody Kiffen; M Dumlao98) =0=.

RELATED BLOGS: “Longer recession blues as more jobs are lost in USA” Posted by mesiamd at 12/05/2008; “Mr. Fix & the tall challenge to keep USA & the world to believe that we can quickly come out of the financial mess” Posted by mesiamd at 11/22/2008; “Like Filipinos, Americans Have Money Troubles Too!” Posted by mesiamd at 7/16/2008.