• Five top priority issues for the next president


    First of two parts

    We’ve raised these pressing, mostly life-and-death issues before, but we must keep bringing them up to make sure our next leader and the voters electing him or her don’t miss them, amid the denial and downplaying by pro-administration media dominating the public arena.

    The big issues are: surging crime, rampant smuggling, persistent poverty and hunger, Mindanao conflict, and big-power rivalry in Asia.

    What makes these issues doubly worrying is the general lack of concern and awareness about them among press, public and politicians.

    Ask people at home or work if crime is at its worst ever. Most may wonder what you’re talking about. Yet as the alarming data show, SURGING CRIME has tripled to more than a million incidents reported in each of the last two years, from 324,083 in 2010, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

    Yes, we now have three times the crime in the year President Benigno Aquino 3rd took office. To quote the presidentiables briefing published in this column on August 18 (http://www.manilatimes.net/presidentiables-briefing-the-crime-explosion/210493/):

    “Crime incidence per 100,000 population also nearly tripled to 1,004 in 2014, from 350 four years before. Index crimes, which include major offenses like murder, rape and robbery, more than doubled to nearly half a million in 2014, from just over 200,000 in 2010. Per 100,000 population, index crimes went from 218 to 493 in the same period.

    “Crimes against persons hit 258,444 — triple the 2010 number, while crimes against property jumped 94 percent, from 118,943 to 231,005 four years later. Physical injury, rape and theft more than doubled.”

    And the crime wave isn’t over: “PNP-DIDM [Philippine National Police’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management] cited data for January-June this year: 885,445 crimes reported, up from 603,085 in the first semester of 2014. Index crimes surged 37 percent to 352,321. Murders jumped by 45 percent to 7,245 cases, while physical injury rose by half to 182,886 incidents. Thefts hit 105,229, up by nearly 20,000 from a year ago. And watch your car — carnapping nearly doubled to 10,039.”

    Any presidentiable worth his or her certificate of candidacy clearly should include crime fighting and prevention as a key part of the governance platform.

    Contraband out of control
    Next issue: RAMPANT SMUGGLING. Many Filipinos probably know that contraband is a major problem, after Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina got flak recently for wanting to inspect balikbayan boxes shipped by overseas Filipino workers, despite widespread knowledge that the real smugglers are not OFWs.

    Still, thanks to silent pro-Aquino papers, few people know that the undeclared or under-declared value of Philippine imports has trebled, from $7.9 billion in 2009 to a record $26.6 billion last year, based on International Monetary Fund trade statistics. The proportion of goods misdeclared or never declared has doubled from 14.7 percent in 2010 to 27.2 percent last year.

    And the total amount of smuggling exceeds P4 trillion, with revenue losses topping P760 billion just for uncollected value-added tax, with excise, luxury and other special levies not counted (http://www.manilatimes.net/smuggling-utterly-out-of-control-under-aquino-regime-p4-trillion-in-last-five-years/212920/).

    That Everest of graft makes the pork barrel of P10 billion allegedly corrupted by legislators through Janet Lim Napoles, look like an anthill. But even more pernicious than evaded tariffs, however, are the guns, drugs, explosives, and other killer cargo slipping through the ports.

    Imagine how many high-powered rifles and high-inducing narcotics can go in a 40-foot cargo container. Well, back in 2011, more than 2,000 boxes got lost in transit between Manila and other ports. And the street prices of firearms and drugs promptly plunged.

    Aquino and his chosen Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales never investigated that worst spate of smuggling in the country ever, even though it is so easy to check cargo release documents and pinpoint which negligent or conniving Customs officials kept letting containers leave Manila’s terminals even after dozens, hundreds or thousands had vanished.

    So Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Grace Poe and Miriam Defensor Santiago, and other presidential candidates, if elected, what measures would you take to stanch this smuggling running amok and no doubt fuelling lawless elements, drug syndicates, rebel groups, and perhaps — God forbid — terrorists?

    Poor and hungry
    Next on the priority problem list are the twin scourges of POVERTY AND HUNGER, which have minimally or hardly improved despite years of rapid 6-7 percent economic growth and the much-touted P40-billion-a-year conditional cash transfer stipends.

    Back in 2009, when the 2008-09 global recession, escalating food prices in 2008, and the Ondoy and Pepeng megafloods slashed Philippine growth to 0.9 percent, poverty afflicted one in five families. By January-June 2014, after four years of heady growth under Aquino, one-fifth of families are still poor, equivalent to a quarter of the population.

    What about self-rated poverty, as surveyed every quarter by Social Weather Stations? Average SRP in 2009 was 49 percent. Fast-forward to 2014: it’s 54 percent. And in January-June this year: 51 percent.

    And the “food-poor” families who told SWS they could not afford three meals a day, rose from the 2009 mean of 39 percent to last year’s 41 percent average, though the ratio dropped a bit to just over 36 percent in the first semester of 2015.

    As for hunger, the numbers again cannot but dismay. In 1990, the Philippines had a lower global hunger index (20.1) than Indonesia (20.5), Thailand (21.3), and Vietnam (31.4). A decade later, we had the highest GHI of the four: 17.9 against 17.3 in Vietnam, 16.1 in Indonesia, and 10.2 in Thailand.

    And last year, Thais and Vietnamese brought their GHIs to single digits (5.0 and 7.5, respectively), while Indonesians was about to also go below 10. And we Filipinos? Still at 13.1.

    Tomorrow, we tackle national security issues, which, quite frankly, can unleash terrorism and war on our land.

    (The last part will be published tomorrow.)


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    1. Exactly nancy bulok cake you are definitely right… Absolutely..
      Kaya mga kababayan, maawa nmn kayo sa inyong mga anak at mga darating pang generasyon.. Magisip isip. bigyan kayo ng biyaya halagang 1500 kapalit ng inyong paghihirap sa 6 na taon, kunin ninyo ano man iyon, pero hwag ilista sa balota oras ng botohan…

    2. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      22 October 2015

      Other commentatoors can deal with any one of the 5 top-priority issues for the next President as listed by Manila Times columnist RICARDO SALUDO.

      Here I limit myself to persistent poverty and hunger.

      I am afraid there is no way the next and succeeding administrations can make even a small dent on poverty and hunger if they turn their backs on the country’s population which continues to explode at a rate which doubles it every 35 years or so–from the present around 107 million it may be around 200 million by 2050, and double yet again to around 400 million by the year 2080! Which is to assume that by 2080 there will still be enough physical space to contain all those warm, emaciated and sickly bodies!

      Even if the country’s GDP continues to spurt at the impressive annual average rate of 6-7 percent going forward, such a rate will paradoxically continue to be UNIFORMLY JOBLESS.

      And that explains why Pope Francis–even though without a PhD from Harvard, Wharton, or Cambridge, warned CATHOLICS NOT TO MULTIPLY LIKE RABBITS!


    3. It is only in the philippines that our politicians here don’t really care to uplift the living status of our people because they forever want that are people are ignorant, can be bought and corrupted. If we don’t have this kind of voters in our population certainly it’s the end of TRAPO’s and dynaties.

      ito ang karakter ng mga pulitiko at leader ng pilipinas

      1. Matalino naman may MBA, doctorate at maraming educational achievements pero nagbobobohan at nagtatatangahan (sinasadya)
      2. ayaw umasenso ang buhay ng mahihirap na pilipino dahil mawawalan sila ng mauuto at mabibiling boto sa election at mababayarang mahahakot na tao sa rally o supporters kuno.
      3. mga big time criminals na hindi basta basta malilikida ng kahit anong death squad dahil may sarili silang drugs, smugling, human traficking, gun running, gambling, prostitution business (basta lahat na ng illegal sila ang mastermind)
      4. mga demonyong nagkatawang tao.
      5. hindi natatalo sa election (it’s either nanalo o nadaya)
      6. plastik at balimbing
      7. sariling interest lang ang iniisip
      8. sobrang makadiyos, makabayan at makatao pag nasa TV o radyo.
      9. mga elitista at oligarch
      10. pupuntahan pati impyerno kapag may botanteng mabibili doon.
      11. dagdagan nyo na lang basta kasamaan

      eto naman ang klase ng botante meron ang pilipinas

      1. biniboto pa e alam namang masama
      2. utu-uto o nagpapauto
      3. nabibili
      4. ang iniisip ay ngayon hindi ang bukas
      5. walang sense of nationalism and patriotism
      6. mga mayamang botante ay boboto ayon sa sarili nilang interest.
      7. masyadong nahilig sa mga panooring walang kakwenta-kwenta (telenovela, teleserye, noontime show etc) kayat ang attitude sa pagboto ay masyadong personalistic.
      8. dagdagan nyo na lang basta sa aspetong bobotante

      1. sila sila pa rin ang ang pulitiko at namumuno sa ating bayan (100 yrs ago)
      2. dynasty
      3. hindi umuunlad ang bansa
      4. bulok ang sistema
      5. 2 klase ang hustisya
      6. masyadong malayo ang agwat ng mayaman sa mahirap or middle class (just imagine less than 10% of our population controlled 70% of the phil. wealth)
      7. generally walang disiplinang mamamayan
      8. 60% of the population belongs to poor classification ( class D-Z)
      9. corrupt na bureaucracy (pati Janitor sa customs ports/airports magnanakaw kung may ipis na empleyado sa gobyerno malamang marunong din magnakaw)
      10. di nagbabayad ng tamang buwis dahil ang nasa isip e kinukurakot din kasi.
      11. dagdagan nyo pa more

      tsk tsk tsk..kaawa awang bansa

    4. >>> The bottom line or the roots of all this regretable and misery in the Philippines could not be just because of corrupt and incapability of elected government offiicals.

      >>> Most ( Voters) Filipino People ( Natural Born Citizen and Naturalized Citizen) WILL ONLY CHOOSE AND VOTE FOR CANDIDATES ON THE FOLLOWING BASIS AND REASONS.


      >>> BECAUSE ONLY 1 to 3 out of every 100 FILIPINO VOTERS (especially from age 18 to 22 years old) DOES NOT KNOW OR DOES NOT WANT TO KNOW WHO IS WHO THE REAL AND CAPABLE CANDIDATE TO VOTE.

      >>> Kasabihan ng karamihan ng ating mga mamamayan ay :
      “PARE-PAREHO LANG SILA KAHIT NA SINO PA ANG MANALO”…. KAYA BAKIT PA SIYA O SILA BOBOTO?.iyan ang kadalasan sinasabi ng mga tao.
      “WALA AKONG PANAHON DIYAN” Isa pa rin dahilan ng mga Filipino sa araw ng eleksyon.
      “Mag-sabong, madyong, tong-hits, mag-facebook na lang”…iyan ang isa rin siguradong dahilan ng mga Filipino sa araw ng eleksyon.
      “Barangay officials lang naman ang makikinabang tuwina magkakaroon at pagkatapos ng eleksyon”. Dahil karamihan pinamumudmod na pera ng mga candidate sa kanila ipararaan para bumili ng boto, ang nangyayari barya na lang ang napupunta kadalasan sa mga taong bayan nasasakupan ng bawat barangay.


    5. These problems cannot be solved without addressing the underlying cause, and ttat is the stranglehold of the oligarchy and the foreigners especially the Americans on our government policies.

    6. I am keeping this article as a reference when the presidential campaign get started to see and to know who among our candidates will adhere to this premise.

    7. Nancy Bulok Cake on

      The main and root cause of all the problems you mentioned is graft and corruption. When a president or government official bribes a voter with a can of sardine, a kilo of rice, P500 and a Jollibee lunch which all totals approximately P1500; the mayor or president will make sure that if elected, he needs to steal at least P10,000. Worst for the smugglers for they bribe customs by the tens or millions of pesos. When a government employee starts from councilor to representative or senator, don’t be surprised that they will soon have mansions (with elevators), CARS, BANK DEPOSITS, real estate properties which does not equate their salaries. Poor Mang Juan, with a can of sardine, a kilo of rice, P500 and a Jollibee lunch which all totals approximately P1500, he is still the same Mang Juan compared to the mayor whom he voted because of these. The Binays are the best example of this.

      • Absolutely correct! Corruption is a way of life in our country. But these issues you’ve mentioned are lingering issues since you and my parents were born. Started by the Spanish, Americans, Japanese and back to Americans. Our problem is similar to Mexico..or to many Latin American countries. Why? Simple.. corruption, oppression, greediness taught and influenced by the some people. I am not too sure about your figures or statistics but certainly there is a downward trend as reported by international press.
        We are starting to see “the light at the end of the tunnel” . We should thank the current government for doing something on corruption, developing infrastructures, strengthening military, education, business climate improving, etc. The problem with some of us, we do not mention the good ones just the band ones. We are lucky we are not in North Korea or China.