The economic improvements of the Aquino administration did not impress leaders of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), as they gave President Benigno Aquino 3rd a failing mark for not harnessing growth to wipe out poverty.
Bishop Broderick Pabillio, CBCP national secretariat for social action, said he rated the President three out of 10 because the vaunted economic growth has not reached the poor yet.
“Asset reform means the assets are with the people: land reform for the poor, no contractualization in companies. The gap between the poor and the rich is widening,” Pabillo said in an interview with Radio Veritas.
Jose Palma, CBCP president and Cebu archbishop, said Aquino, rather than boasting the 7.8-percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth, should “tell the truth” in his state of the nation address (SONA) in July.
The 7.8-percent GDP growth for the first quarter of the year, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), was reported to be “impressive” as it is the highest growth recorded in the Asean.
The growth was also associated to higher consumption, manufacturing and extensive government spending.
But Palma questioned the development, saying it hasn’t removed poverty at all.
“Now, the people are hungry for the truth. What is really the truth? Up to what extent is the so-called development?” Palma said.
“I have to talk to some businesses. They are asking if the President is doing the right thing by imposing too many taxes. In the end, it’s the businessmen who are progressing and not the people,” he said, referring to businessmen questioning the imposition of higher taxes.
Kristyn Nika M. Lazo