The Swap Deal

It surprised (translation: shocked) us so much it took some time before we could come to grips with its impact. I’m talking about “the P74.1-billion share-swap deal between telecommunication giants PLDT and Digitel [which] was conducted in almost complete secrecy”. (“Gung-ho,” editorial of the Phil. Daily Inquirer, April 7, 2011) PLDT CEO Manny V. Pangilinan lauded the deal, “Though this initiative alters the country’s telecom landscape, we expect competition within the industry to remain very robust.” (Ibid)

It appears the alteration caused by the deal is more of a landslide than a landscape (to paraphrase former president Erap). It appears that PLDT, the first major industry player, outsmarted us all by eclipsing Sun Cellular, the third major industry player. According to an internal memo, “We might find ourselves competing in a more rational marketplace with better margins as the new opposition could decide to scale back on the unlimited propositions that undermine industry.” (Ibid) In other words, what that memo was saying is that the unlimited call and text deals that made Sun shine actually undermined the telecom industry. But that’s what really made the telecom competition robust resulting in consumer benefits. The Inquirer voiced out what’s in the mind of the subscribers: “The very dynamism in the telecom sector that has led to such labels as ‘the texting capital of the world’ is seen as less than rational. The deal may be good for the market, but is it good for the community at large?(Ibid) That community, according to estimates of how many Filipinos own mobile phones, can reach up to 90 percent of the population. That mega-deal seems to be good for the shareholders but bad for the consumers.

But, as I monitor this news, I cannot help but think of another, greater swap-deal. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tell us,“For our sake [God] made [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (ESV) Wayne Grudem wrote, “This does not mean that God thought that Christ had himself committed the sins, or that Christ himself actually had a sinful nature, but rather that the guilt for our sins (that is, the liability to punishment) was thought of by God as belonging to Christ rather than to us.” (Systematic Theology) The Message version goes this way: “God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” This divine swap-deal is the best for everyone.

Brethren, our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for us.

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