Let’s wait for 2010

Sometime early 2008, I wrote a series of columns about the need to start an intelligent discussion on what could be the most appropriate form of government for our country – a form that will help us achieve progress and greater political stability. We proposed that the future candidates’ campaign will be based on their platforms, on their views on the constitution, and on their plans for our country to move forward. Both my father and grandfather, JoeCon and Salvador Araneta, were members of the constitutional convention during their time

The main proposal in my columns then was that any implementation of constitutional changes will take place after the 2010 election. This means that in the coming election, a question will be posted: Are you in favor of making the newly elected senators and congressmen to form themselves into a constitutional assembly? Or, are you in favor that a constitutional convention be formed instead? SO, ONLY AFTER THE 2010 ELECTIONS WILL WE DETERMINE WHAT FORM WILL BE USED TO CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION.

I also mentioned this to Congressman Martin Romualdez sometime this year. He thought that it was a good idea. Constitutional provision dealing with economic reforms can be made effective immediately, while major political reforms, if any, like moving to another form of government such as a parliamentary system, should only happen beyond 2016, again after another plebiscite on the changes. These proposals are seen less disruptive as it allows transition and more consultations and will ensure that the elected officials in 2010 would complete their terms.

Today, the Congress moving on its own is a move that we don’t need, especially as 2010 election season is near. The financial crisis is not yet over, even with the rebound in the stock market. I predict that we will see another major correction to come soon, which will shake the world again. It is not over. We cannot have a political crisis together with a financial crisis.

While the Philippines is doing very well compared to the rest in the Asian region, our latest numbers show that we are close to a recession. The inflow of remittances and job opportunities in some sectors like the business outsourcing sector is keeping us from fully experiencing one.

I am now in a cruise with my whole clan to celebrate my mother’s birthday and anniversary. The Crystal Cruise has 250 Filipino workers on board. It has about the same number of Filipinos from the last time we were here four years ago. Most of them, if not all of them, are still here – happily earning despite the downturn in the cruise industry. Many Filipinos work abroad and sacrifice not being with their loved ones just to give their families a better future. They risk marriage problems and other family problems, like being an absentee spouse and father.

We cannot allow the cycle of misery to plague us every time we are doing well. Many of the people who work abroad eventually would want to come back home to a more prosperous Philippines and be with their families after they have saved enough to start a negosyo. Unnecessary political events like what we are experiencing now somehow derail whatever success has been achieved.

Eleven months is not that long to wait for change to happen. Patience is a very small thing to ask. While I am for Charter Change from an Economic viewpoint, political reforms can wait.

The worse thing also is that both Congress and Senate are locked in a legal battle. As what I have always said: when things are coming out better, we tend to shoot ourselves in the foot and create unnecessary setbacks. I hope that the congress will heed to this and consider the proposal on a timely and gradual manner, allowing the right transition.

There is no doubt that PGMA has steered this ship pretty well during the financial crisis. At this point, it is important to prepare the next government to continue with the programs for our country. What is important now is that our current economic and political stability are maintained.

Let me continue to share with you the dreams of other Pinoy entrepreneurs:

“I dream that I could make the life of my family better than it was before. I dream to see a leader and a government for the Philippines that will truly serve the interest of the nation and not the interest of one’s politics or one’s greed and corruption.”

-Victor Tan, President of Bobson

“I dream to be a speaker in raising young Filipina entrepreneurs. I would like my company to help train Filipina Entrepreneurs and bring our country to become a 1st world country, where there is no poverty and no homeless people.”

-Gina Alexander, CEO of Gina Alexander Bags

“I dream of a country where there is no poverty; where everybody is treated with equal worth and dignity from the warehouse stockman to the CEO; where fair wages, providing better quality of life, and cultivating people’s talents to their fullest potential are as important to business as making a profit. I dream for my children to enjoy the vast natural resources of Philippines, and for them to grow up with a sense of responsibility for their land and for their people.”

-Anna Meloto-Wilk, President of Gandang Kalikasan

“I dream to live a healthy and productive life until my old age so I can continue to serve the Lord, serve the country, work to make my businesses grow, and help those in need. I always keep my dreams alive because it motivates and inspires me to achieve things even greater than those I imagine. My dream for the Philippines is for its people to rely on their strengths and abilities, and look beyond the country’s flaws and its leaders’ shortcomings. However big the obstacle thrown its path, we Filipinos can overcome it. After all we are never given any challenge that we cannot overcome.”

-Anna Marie Periquet, Owner of Kessel Dance Studio

“I believe that in order to visualize a reality in our world of form, I must be willing to do whatever it takes to make what I want happen. If one succeeds, we all do. Make A Better World…..By Making A Better You.”

-Dr. Vivian Sarabia, President of Vivian Sarabia Optical

“I would like to be a part of something that will create a long lasting legacy of empowering the needs of our most common people. I would like to see programs in our schools that would teach basic ecology and recycling to students. I would like to see a government subsidized program to make potable rain harvesting systems available to the very poor. And, I would like more entrepreneurs to create businesses from recycled materials.”

-Diana Limjoco, CFO of Digital Web Group Inc.