By Alex P. Vidal
“A strong economy begins with a strong, well-educated workforce.”—Bill Owens
IF billionaire former Senator Manuel Villar’s Advanced Media Broadcasting System, Inc. has lawfully acquired the channels previously assigned to ABS-CBN, we don’t see any hindrance for its operations to blast off soon.
Lawfully means it must pass through the proper legal channels from licensing, permit, trade name, labor, environmental viability, among other pre-acquisition and operational requirements, not through the back-door alley and arm-twisting tactics.
Any lawful acquisition of a legitimate business or franchise for any businessman or investor in a free country like the Philippines is healthy for the national economy.
It’s otherwise known as Laissez-faire or free enterprise.
Capitalist economies operate on the pillars of private property, supply, and demand, competition, freedom, and incentive.
As one of the country’s richest and most successful capitalists, Villar should be able to once again thrive in his latest investment conquest; once given the green signal, his fledgling broadcasting company is expected to help spur the Philippine economic growth in the next level as it would certainly generate employment opportunities for thousands of Filipinos.
If it is good for the economy as a whole, is Villar’s ascension as would-be broadcast media mogul bad for politics?
It depends on who is interpreting it, or whose political and business interests are at stake.
Because he is President Rodrigo Duterte’s crony, critics are quick to attribute Villar’s latest sensational triumph to so-called “crony capitalism” prevalent during the Marcos hegemony in the ’70s.
We can’t blame these critics. Everything that politicians do, even if it is for the country’s economic prosperity, will always be linked to politics.
Be that as it may, what we are trying to look at here is the bigger picture rather than the divisive and counterproductive political intramural and nitpicking, which has no tangible impact on the immediate and long-lasting needs of an economically enfeebled nation.
It’s seeing the forest through the trees, not just the façade.
The regular emails I received from New York Governor Kathy Hochul were always full of interesting information and facts about the state’s battle against the pandemic. Here’s another one:
Alex, When it comes to our fight against the winter surge, we are trending in the right direction and making progress. For six days straight, our COVID positivity rate has been below 10%, the lowest since December 20.
And thanks to New Yorkers wearing their masks and getting vaccinated, boosted and tested, we’ve been able to bring new positive case numbers down to a third of what they were just two weeks ago — and hospitalizations are down by nearly 2,700 over the past week.
But we’re not through this surge just yet. We’re working hard to bring New Yorkers more tests, more testing locations, and more places to get vaccinated and boosted — please, keep using these tools. Let’s dive in.
TAKE-HOME TESTS FOR EVERY STUDENT. Testing is a critical tool to keep our kids safe and in the classroom. By the end of this week, we will have already distributed more than 14 million tests to schools. And to continue our efforts, we’re sending two tests home with every K-12 student ahead of the midwinter break. Tests are widely available across the state—find a testing location near you and get tested today.
MORE #VAXFORKIDS POP-UP SITES. We’re making it even easier for kids to get vaccinated with 76 new Vax for Kids pop-up sites set up to date. Vaccines are safe and effective, and over 1.5 million New York kids already have received at least one vaccine dose. Parents & guardians, if you’ve been waiting to get your child vaccinated, now’s the time to do it. Make an appointment today.
SENDING TESTS TO NURSING HOMES. Our efforts focused on controlling the spread of COVID in nursing homes are working — cases are down 30% in nursing homes as of January 22. We have deployed 2.2 million tests to nursing homes and congregate care settings already, with 200,000 more coming this week.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)