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Metro Opinion

Counting the Journey

account_balanceMetro Opinion account_circleLeigh Bellosillo chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

From my observation deck, Junior is seemingly following the footsteps of former President, now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In his less than five months in office, Junior has gone to five countries: state visits to Indonesia and Singapore; working visits to the US for the United Nations general assembly, where he spoke with nary an audience listening based on footages and pictures.

And, he just came back from Cambodia, where he attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

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Then, there’s another visit to Singapore, unannounced to watch the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix (the Formula1 race).

Yes, I’ve been around. I started in this industry with the restoration of democratic process after more than 20 years of iron rule under Marcos senior.

History can bear me out on my observation that the most footloose leader of the country, excluding Junior, was GMA. In her 10-years in office, GMA has virtually circumnavigated the world.

Data compiled showed her globetrotting brought her not only around the region but as far as Ankara in Turkey, Lima in Peru, Mexico, Egypt, Syria, London, Switzerland, Italy as well as Portugal.

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I am not sure if it’s by co-incident that Junior, like GMA, first stepped out of the country to go on a state visit to Indonesia.

And interestingly, the United States is seen as GMA’s favorite country, visiting the so-called land of milk and honey (is the description still apt, up until now?) 16 times, either on an official/working or state visit. Coming close is China with 15 visits.

There’s a big difference between the official/working visit and state visit. We, the people, the taxpayers, pay for the so-called official/working trip while it’s the host country that foots the bills on a state visit.

To date, Junior like GMA has as well tacked-in an average of a trip a month.

While others, particularly those in the social media, are counting the “Sandro-isms,” Junior’s son who is the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and obtained certain notoriety with his comment on the weakness of the peso against the US dollar, I prefer to tally the presidential journeys and the diplomatic bounties reaped, including enhanced trade and commerce.

An altogether different kind of tripping is happening in the economic team of Junior. Rumours circulating around is for the journey of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Felipe Medalla to be cut short.

Instead of completing his one year-term, the Marites in the flea market are gossiping that a new governor may be named before the end of the year, at the earliest or at the latest early next year.

Whether this is fake news or not, such news sends shivers to the financial market, which has so far calmed down following the forward looking announcement of Medalla for a 75 basis points increase in overnight rate scheduled next week.

Medalla’s tenure ends July 3 next year. He is serving one year term to complete the six-year term cycle of a BSP governor that started with Nestor Espenilla, who passed on after only two years and half on the job. Benjamin E. Diokno succeeded Espenilla but had to leave the post to cross over as finance secretary of Junior’s administration. 

Diokno, who most market observers noted that he more often forgets he’s no longer the BSP governor and talks about market developments as well as the need to defend the peso, is rumoured to be eyeing back the position,

The names of Ayala Corp. officer-in-charge/banker Cesar Consing and Government Service Insurance System president and general manager Wick Veloso are also in the line-up.

Let’s watch how this journey ends.


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