Now that Manny Pacquiao has won that fight of his life, let’s buckle down to work. Let’s not pretend that Manny’s victory is our victory as a country too, as some politicians would like us to believe. That victory is his alone. It was he alone who trained like crazy in the United States, skipped Christmas and New Year with his family just to get the fame and fortune that he deserved after demolishing the Mexican legend, Erik Morales. The truth is that had Manny lost, most Filipinos will probably dismiss him as just another boxing has-been who is soon forgotten.
Remember Luisito Espinosa? Espinosa was the toast of politicians and sports fanatics when he was the country’s boxing superstar. Today, he is totally forgotten. The politicians who basked in his glory in the halcyon days of his career would not even touch him now with a ten-foot pole. Not a single big-shot in this country has bothered helping him collect his fight money from that South Cotabato ex-governor who refused to honor the contract.
Yes, we are happy that Manny won that fight but he owes us nothing, except the taxes that he ought to pay for holding a Philippine passport. He did not win because of our “prayers.” The Mexicans prayed like hell too and the Lord Almighty probably stayed neutral. Manny won that fight because he did his homework and fought with intellect, great heart, and sheer will to win. These are traits that could never be said of our so-called political leaders.
For instance, we have yet to pass the country’s budget for 2006 and there seems to be no urgency at all among the administration legislators to do so. We might yet end up reenacting the 2005 budget that we know does not contain significant allocation for capital expenditures. That could mean that we are stuck with our rickety infrastructure, a major turn-off among investors. Too bad because next month, we are set to implement the expanded value added tax law raising corporate tax from 32 to 35 percent, extending the coverage to certain products including fuel, and raising that rate from 10 to 12 percent.
In view of the continuing failure of the government to provide good infrastructure, a higher corporate tax would simply make it more difficult for us to get more investments. Raising the VAT rate to 12 percent may yet push inflation rate soaring especially so that kidnapping incident in Nigeria and the deadlock over Iran’s nuclear program may yet add another layer of uncertainty to the already volatile world oil markets. Should crude prices soar again, we could expect a further slowdown in the economy as people are likely to reduce expenditures because of lower purchasing power. More so because the flow of dollars from overseas workers will probably slow down after remittances surged during the Christmas holidays. Is the government ready for these scenarios?
Yes, Manny won but let’s get back to work so we could get our own little victories. (Note: You may drop by Photographs and Memories for new pictures and some personal travel notes).