Friday, February 24, 2006

"State of emergency" in the Philippines

You can read the state of emergency proclamation (pdf) (hat tip: sassy lawyer). Back in May 2001 the President declared a "state of rebellion" when the pro-Estrada demonstrators got rowdy and marched on the Presidential palace. She got a lot of flak for that one, so this time it's called a "state of emergency."

I'll leave it to the lawyers to sort out the legalities. Two provision of the Constitution have been invoked:

1. Article 18 Section 7 - suppression of rebellion; ("state of rebellion", now studiously avoided);

2. Article 12 Section 17 - from which the term "emergency" actually came.

The latter provision states: "In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest."

What does this have to do with preventing public demonstrations? What privately owned public utility or business could the administration be thinking of taking over? Broadcast media? Sea and air transport? Beats me.

Because of this kind of possible intervention, the atmosphere for business just got hazier. What can blacken it is bloodshed and a persistent clampdown on peaceful assembly.

The pressing need of the country is a return to normalcy. The sooner, the better.

3 comments:

Gray said...

The pressing need of the country is a return to normalcy. The sooner, the better.

You being an economist, i guess i can understand where you are coming from. I too would perhaps like to move forward and live in peace.

But as a citizen, I am inclined to think otherwise. By simply returning to normalcy, it feels so much like sacrificing tomorrow for today. I really is very tempting, even to me, to take the path of least trouble at a time like this. But should we be more willing to live comfortably today with a very uncertain tomorrow; or should we slug it out today so that we can be more certain that tomorrow is built on good foundation?

VentiTres said...

You know, I just read a few pages of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" and I thought gee... could this be the Philippines?

Let me explain...

By far, the Philippine Peso has been the best performing currency in all of Asia. Yes, dahling, that's three straight years beating the big US dollar. It's now running in it's 4th year and predictions were that it's going to breach the Php50/$1 level.

Well, go figure. How do you bring the peso down? Exactly what's going on right now. So who would think of doing all these? Well.. check your ABC if you could figure it out...

What do you think?

Econblogger said...

Gray,

My new post (February 25) addresses your concern.

Ventitres,

I would rather think the fall in the value of the peso and stocks as collateral damage, and not the prize sought.

The prize sought is obviously regime change. The prospect terrifies me. Kiss another 20 years of possible development goodbye.