FIRING LINE: Let’s get back to work!

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Amid a failing economy – kicked and weighed down by the COVID-19 pandemic – the end of 2021 reveals a slit of light on the horizon for our beautiful country.

Perhaps, we could consider our crisis-ridden year-end deficit of P1.7 trillion, which is lower than the P1.9-trillion projection by the Development Budget Coordinating Committee, as a P200-billion sparkle as bright as Venus is tonight.

Yes, folks, there’s good news about the economy other than deadening rankings by Bloomberg on the Philippines’ COVID resilience – which I think is biased and blindsiding in favor of Western economies, if not a total failure in fairness and truth.

Trimming the impact of the deficit, so our chief economist in Congress — Albay Rep. Joey Salceda — says, is one of our country’s great challenges. But having done so reflects revenue recovery for our government and a slight deceleration in spending – which is all good.

With our economy reopening and our COVID-19 situation managed significantly better – regardless of what Bloomberg naysayers have in their more-than-imperfect analysis of Southeast Asian countries – a golden opportunity presents itself for Filipinos to carry the nation on its working shoulders. So, this is no time for Juan Tamad.

Lawmakers in the House are trying to eke out a P90-billion program for wage subsidies and temporary employment designed not only to cut joblessness but to increase demand, spur domestic spending, and strengthen micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to push the economy forward in the first “Bang!” of 2022.

There is hope for a speedier recovery for our nation and that’s already a wonderful gift this Christmas season. But it’s a gift that requires nurturing in our working hands – for the love of God and country. So, let’s get back to work!

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Speaking of getting back to work, Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano of Pasay City should watch her back yard like a hawk. Her city’s bouncing back from economic turmoil and COVID infection misery could be sabotaged by the vices that make communities real sick.

Firing Line is talking about the “peryahan” operated by a certain “Mike” at the corner of Libertad and Harrison Streets under Barangay 68. It might well have secured the necessary permits to ply its trade, but residents are alarmed at the sight of people without face masks and children allowed to jam-pack the venue.

For as bright a lady chief executive as Mayor Emi, I’m sure it is not in her interest to let a peryahan become the breeding ground for new COVID-19 cases in the city.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at https://www.thephilbiznews.com

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