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Commentary: Lessons from the ants and RP's need to brace for the impending slowdown in global economy

Tacloban City (February 13) -- Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer. Sometimes, the seemingly simple things in life can teach us some of the most important lessons. No wonder the Bible says. "Go to the ant... consider her ways and be wise."

Among other lessons, the ants who store up their food in the summer teach us the importance of being prepared ahead of time for whatever may come out way, and most especially if we know what is about to come our way.

The Chinese proverb, "Dig your well before you're thirsty" makes the same point. This is actually the very point that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo stressed during the February 12 NEDA-Cabinet group meeting - that the government must act ASAP in order to cushion the harsh effects of the impending global economy slowdown and to sustain the country's economic growth.

Even though their brain is less than one-tenth the size of a pinhead, ants live in highly organized orderly social colonies. Some collect food, others build the nest and keep it clean and some look after the queen ants. Nurse ants clean and feed the larvae. Soldier ants guard and protect the food the food-collecting ants. Amazing!

The President has a clear vision as she cited three action plans that the government must implement immediately to ride out the storm of the expected global economic slowdown.

First, the government must accelerate spending on infrastructure and pro-poor projects to fuel the engine of economic growth, create an investor-attractive environment and enhance agricultural production.

Second, the government will increase investments on people by boosting support for education and training, especially skills urgently demanded by industries here and abroad in such sectors as construction and the business process outsourcing (BPO). The concerns of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) must also be addressed to ensure that they enjoy the full protection of their welfare.

Third, the President cited the imperative need to address the problems posed by red tape and corruption. She has ordered Trade Secretary Peter Favila and Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya to take immediate steps to address the twin evils of red tape and corruption in the bureaucracy and to coordinate with the private sector, business community, academe and the religious groups to implement reforms in the bureaucracy.

The President said that amidst external threat, there is a need for peace and stability to sustain economic prosperity and make the Philippines a strong and stable economy.

But the government cannot do all the bracing and preparing alone. There is a need for each and every Filipinos to do his or her share and work together to attain the goal, "for our family and community."

How tragic beyond all measure it would be, if despite the President's resolve, despite the plans of action, the economic prosperity that the country is now experiencing as a result of the sacrifices and reforms, will be in vain because of complacency and inaction to gird for the impending global world slowdown. (PIA 8) [top]

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