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Businessweek Archives

The Philippines Needs New Leadership (Int'l Edition)

International -- Readers Report

The Philippines Needs New Leadership (int'l edition)

Although the Philippines is afflicted with many disasters, natural and man-made, it is heartening that you have chosen three Filipinos to be among 50 leaders at the forefront of change ("The stars of Asia," Cover Story, July 3).

Two of the three Filipinos you chose are among the few fearless individuals in this country. Jimenez-Magsanoc, chief editor of the country's broadsheet, stood her ground in the face of the President's subtle but relentless assault on press freedom at the leading newspaper. Ex-SEC Chairman Yasay exposed what many Filipinos know but no officials affirm: that the President favors and protects his friends at the expense of 70 million Filipinos. That is the most fearless action ever taken by a public official before a vindictive President. Zobel, who belongs to one of the richest families in the country, is not a known critic of the Estrada administration. However, he is not a member of the President's circle of friends, who are having a grand time getting favors from the President.

Your choices mean that under the Estrada administration, the country is back on its sickbed, and we need leaders outside the administration to bring it back to its robust state.

Orpheus M. Velasco

ManilaReturn to top

Conservation: The Overlooked Key to Plentiful Oil (int'l edition)

At last, someone points out the obvious ("A little energy conservation would go a long way," American News, July 17). Virtually no one else has blamed anyone but OPEC, Big Oil, and the Clinton Administration. Yet the problem is that Americans are rapacious consumers of energy who have been lulled into complacency by cheap oil.

The long-term answer to this recurrent squeeze is not to pump oil out of the ground faster and faster until it is gone but to use it in accordance with what it is: a finite resource.

Mark Stevenson

TucsonReturn to top

A Peruvian Defends His President (int'l edition)

Regarding "Latin America's not-quite dictators" (Latin American Business, June 12): The statement "They hold elections--but always win" implies fraud. The reason Peruvian President Fujimori has won three times is simple: He delivers.

It is easy for foreigners to forget that when Fujimori came to power in 1990, Peru suffered from rampant inflation (5,000%-plus per year), zero foreign investment, boundary conflicts with Ecuador, terrorists held half the country, drug-trafficking and production were at all-time highs, and the country was headed into total chaos. President Fujimori has changed all that in just 10 years. That is the reason he has been reelected a third time by over 50% of the vote.

Regarding the U.S.'s "awkward" position: Peru has the most successful drug-control program in the region, with very little U.S. support. Meanwhile, Colombia just received a hefty aid package, and its drug-control policy has proved to be a joke. So for now, Peruvians have chosen what works. That is democracy--doing what 50% plus one vote wills. The U.S. should respect that.

Bernardo Calderon

LimaReturn to top

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