Whenever the government wants to claim that the country is well geared for economic development or wishes to proclaim that the Philippines is in many ways over and above a given financial crisis such as the one actually taking place in the first world nations, it is already predicable what Malacañang and its faithful followers say--as a matter of course. Time and again the people are emphatically told in different words and in various ways that the “Economic Fundamental” is in place, that the present is good and the future is bright. In other words, people have nothing to worry about because everything is all right.
For the past seven long years, the government has been singing substantially the same song. Before, during and after the many SONA performances, everything about the national economy is not endearing but also promising and spectacular even. Such is the extraordinarily high economic perception and vision of Malacañang that it looks forward to building “super” regions—whatever these mean. Lately and to this date, it continues to declare not only with a straight but also a smiling face, that the oppressive and depressive E-Vat in fact spells economic development.
It might be good to ask the common people on the ground—not in luxurious government offices much less in the Palace—the three following questions that have big and direct bearing on their day to day life: What do they understand by “Economic Fundamentals”? How do they see the “Economic Development” of the country? Where do they place the country in its “Economic Standing”?
“Economic Fundamentals?”: There is very limited opportunity for employment in the country so millions go abroad to find work. There is very little food on the table such that millions of children no longer eat three times a day. There is scarcity of money, hence millions of children no longer go to school. Salaries and wages are low while prices of basic commodities are high. Philippine peso cost more but buys less.
“Economic Development?”: People are squatting by the canals, living under bridges, converting pushcart into their houses. More than one-third of the Filipinos are poor, destitute, hungry. More and more big as well as petty crimes are committed. Motels and casinos, drugs and prostitution are thriving. Contraception and depopulation are vividly called for. Suicides and abortions continue to rise in number and gravity.
“Economic Standing?”: Official graft and corrupt practices. Capital flight. Investments withdrawal. Fertilizer scam. Piglets scam. Rice scam. Communications scam. Railroad scam. Customs scam budget scam. Veggies scam. OFW remittance dependence. Importation of salted fish, onions and garlic—poisonous milk included.
Malacañang conclusions: The economic fundamental are solid and in place. Economic development is bright and right on tract. The economic standing of the country is high and proud. What?
22 September 2008