Gloria's figment of imagination

All I can say? Liar, liar, pants on fire!


Ang Pahayagang Malaya

We know Gloria Arroyo is a liar and we have long learned to apply a steep dis-count rate, to borrow a term from business folks, on the value of her pronouncements. But it still came as a shock to us that the multi-billion regional fund to help Southeast Asian Nations which she announced last Wednesday was a figment of her imagination.

The announcement was characterized by sufficient verisimilitude to make it believable.

Arroyo said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its regional partners China, Korea and Japan hade agreed to set up a multi-billion dollar fund to buy toxic debts and support banks in the region hit by the global economic crisis.

She said the World Bank, for starters, has pledged $10 billion.

She said the "understanding" was reached by Asean finance ministers, its three allied partners China, Korea and Japan, and representatives of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank in Washington last Oct. 11.

Arroyo said the World Bank and the IMF in consultation with Asean finance ministers and central bank governors would be drafting the implementing mechanism as soon as possible.

She said a meeting would be convened to discuss the guidelines for the facility "which we suggested should be quick-disbursing with minimal conditionalities."

That multi-billion facility, it turned out, was made out of whole cloth.

The World Bank categorically said it has no plan to contribute to such a fund. The Asian Development Bank said it was premature to talk about such a facility because the region remains economically strong. Singapore flatly said it was not aware there was a plan to put up a regional emergency facility.

Palace spin doctors are now busy trying to clarify what Gloria "really meant." That there have indeed been discussions about having a bigger version of the liquidity mechanism adopted during the regional financial crisis in the 1990s and this was what Gloria was referring to.

We are all too familiar with what her propagandists are trying to make us believe. Brainstorms are passed off as programs. Programs are passed of as accomplishments. When something indeed gets done, a road and a span built are hyperbolically pictured as a transport corridor.

When she leaves in 2010, we can already see Gloria claiming the Philippines is now among the more prosperous countries in the region, thanks to her leadership.

And we will be among those feeding her megalomania by thunderously cheering her on her valedictory. Small price to pay for seeing her finally exiting from the scene.

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