Everybody takes credit for a strong economy

Published March 12, 2019, 12:07 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

#MINDANAO

By JOHN TRIA

John Tria
John Tria

If there is one thing so irritating, it’s the game called credit hogging. Its the cousin of blaming and related to negative campaigning.

Time and again we are treated to efforts by certain politicians claiming credit for recent legislative achievements, a strong economy, and infrastructure projects. We paid our taxes to make sure these are in place.

This smacks of the infantile politics  where those politicians probably belong, where symbols and words matter more than action.

It does not help that those politicos are themselves guilty of not doing those things while they were in office. The size of their political mouth shows their lack of political will.

While it is true that the concepts or designs for these projects were approved perhaps decades ago, or that the original bills were conceptualized decades ago, getting them refiled and seeing these through the legislative mill, obtaining or allocating the funds and getting contractors to actually start the work only happened in recent years.

Take the Panguil Bay bridge in Misamis Occidental, the Davao City diversion road bridge expansion, or the Metro Manila Subway. They may have been proposed long ago, but have been set in motion only recently.

Cutting through the politics, the bare truth is that when vital initiatives start getting on the road or are signed into law, everybody benefits and democracy wins.

When new infrastructure is built, everyone benefits because a new way of doing things is obtained, a higher efficiency or better connectivity is achieved. This makes movement of people and trade easier and cheaper.

This, in turn, encourages companies to invest in commerce and industry that creates jobs. In the short term, jobs are created in the process of building them, using local talent.

This is one of ways a population’s economic potential is boosted and stability strengthened.

Democracy is strengthened when more people participate in economic growth, create their stake in the system, and in turn make it work for more people.

Of course, none of these processes are perfect, but at the very least things move and benefits are obtained. We move forward.

Nonetheless the President’s economic team, in particular, deserves praise for building on past gains and expanding them, or pushing for vital legislation that will cement the President’s legacy.

True enough, the results of these efforts speak for themselves: our economic growth remains on track, inflation is back within target levels, and unemployment is down.

The effect of this legacy will extend beyond 2022, as the key infrastructure projects are completed.

Because everyone benefits from governments achievements, it may be good to take a cue from the President who makes good sense not to wallow in the “claim and credit syndrome” for these.

Good luck and Godspeed Ben Diokno

The appointment of the new Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno was greeted with slight surprise, yet was welcomed by many quarters from within and outside the financial sector.

They note his aggressiveness and experience in promoting policies that push and expand growth.

Many may not know that apart from being an economist, he rose from the ranks, having served as budget secretary in two governments (Duterte and Estrada) and one time budget undersecretary under then President Aquino.

His advocacy experience is vital in building the necessary monetary policy that will guide our the growth.

A central bank governor’s key role is to guide this policy to make sure that we keep growing despite the headwinds encountered by lower global trade as a result of Trump’s trade war with China.

Critical in the next few years will be making this growth more inclusive, especially for the southern regions bordering ASEAN.

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