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PIA Press Release
2006/10/04

Commentary: The robust peso and “Milenyo”

By Bong Pedalino

Tacloban City (4 October) -- Less than a week after tropical storm “Milenyo” unleashed its billboard-smashing fury in the metropolis, another attention-grabbing development unfolded, this time in the field of economy. The peso surged past the P 50.00 :-- $ 1:00 barrier from a high of P 56.00 -- $ 1.00 just a few months back. The last time the peso swayed in the P 49.00 territory was in May, 2002, or more than four years ago.

It may be too early to rejoice at this record-breaking, unexpected turn of events. But coming as it did in the midst of consuming devastation brought about by the typhoon’s wrath, then it makes sense to celebrate, be it ever so fleeting.

The Philippine currency is on a roll -- even the extreme pessimists cannot deny this -- and so the next logical step is to sustain the economic gains achieved thus far.

***

How do we sustain the rosy economic picture? That is the question all sectors of Philippine society should dare search for answers.

Yet before trying to answer the query, it may interest our readers to know that the US-based investment bank Merrill Lynch had already recognized our country’s fiscal and economic progress as a “success story.”

Elsewhere around the world, the global community expressed confidence to our government’s handling of tough fiscal reforms, coupled with the growing climate of political stability.

***

So, in effect, the rest of the world took notice, knew, and recognized what was positively happening in the country -- except perhaps the Filipino who cannot easily grasp and appreciate what was going on.

Worse, the negatives, the failings, the unmet expectation of governance bombarded our day daily, and most of us do not care to look at the other side, the brighter side especially, to balance the worrisome outlook.

Thus, the answer to our question is quite simple: all sectors must heed the government’s call for unity and cooperation. Personal pride must give way to national pride; personal interest traded for national interest.

***

“Milenyo’s” passage and the strengthening of the peso may just be a coincidence. Still, we thank Milenyo’s coming for allowing us to reflect on all these things.

The great challenge before all of us, therefore, is to rally the Filipinos, irrespective of social status and political inclination, to be united in the pursuit of the common good.

And with our tried and tested track record of the “bayanihan” spirit, there’s no doubt we can do it.

***

LOCAL FRONT: The waste segregation scheme undertaken by the City of Maasin through the Office of the General Services (OGS) was off to a good start Monday, October 2. True to their word, the garbage collectors did not collect those who did not follow instructions, Monday being set aside for compostables with the matching color, green. Early on, OGS Chief Benjase Lumen noted 75% compliance around the 15 barangays covered under the plan. This early, too, a foreign government organization from Germany, the GTZed, noticed this initiative of the city government and came forward to help. Again, to make this activity successful, the cooperation and support of households and offices are crucial.

ODDLY YOURS: The world’s biggest garbage dumping site was the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, New York. Opened in 1948, the area was about 3,000 acres, and everyday 14,000 tons of garbage have been dumped there daily. But in the year 2002, after operating for 52 straight years, this dumpsite was already closed as it was filled up to capacity. (PIA-South Leyte) [top]

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