One term enough for a Philippine president

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 September, 1997, 12:00am

I read that Philippines President Fidel Ramos has defended the Congress' right to change the 10-year-old constitution that limits a president to only one term ('Ramos denounces 'unchristian' cardinal', South China Morning Post, August 25). The Philippine constitution should not be changed in this respect. Six years is long enough to be president.

Filipinos learned a lesson under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. His first term seemed very good. He achieved a lot, especially in agriculture. Infrastructure went ahead: schools were built, roads were constructed.

In his first term, the Philippines seemed to be booming. So when election time came round, the people elected him to his second term thinking that he would continue his good achievements.

But what happened? Instead of making the Philippines prosper, the wealth of the nation was plundered. Corruption hardened. Afraid of not being elected for a third term, Marcos imposed martial law so he could stay in power as a dictator.

As the Philippines became poorer, thousands upon thousands Filipinos went abroad to accept menial jobs. This has continued until the present day.

This is what Cardinal Jaime Sin, Archbishop of Manila, does not want to happen again, which is why he is urging his followers not to support the changing of the constitution.

I think it is not unchristian for a religious person to criticise the government.

There is no doubt President Ramos is a good president. Under his government, the Philippines is recovering from its economic ills. He has a lot of achievements to his credit.

So he will be remembered as one of the good presidents. And I hope his successor will follow his example.

A six-year term is really enough to avoid the need for 'people power'. It is only in the first term that a president of the Philippines can do a really good job. So one term is enough.