The country’s six percent growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is meaningless because it did not translate to more jobs and a better life for the poor, according to Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“Economic growth is meaningless if it excludes the poor and working class Filipinos. We have claims of growth in the midst of unmitigated poverty, unemployment and hunger. The job of any administration is to address poverty by providing jobs and economic opportunities,” Binay said on Friday.
“The country’s economic growth would have been more meaningful if it induced the creation of more jobs and opportunities for our people,” he added.
Binay cited the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that showed 50 percent or around 11 million Filipino families consider themselves poor.
The survey also showed that poverty incidence in the Visayas increased to 66 percent compared to June’s 58 percent while Mindanao’s poverty incidence remained at 70 percent over the same period.
According to the SWS, 54 percent of Filipinos considered themselves poor in 2014, a six-point rise from 2010’s 48 percent, when President Benigno Aquino 3rd was proclaimed President.
“We witnessed how good intentions are not enough to run a country. [Few are able to
move ahead, millions remain poor, hungry and jobless. Pity the people],” Binay said.
He added that the government needs to bring in more foreign direct investment, considering the Philippines ranks among the lowest in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on FDI.
The Vice President noted how the Philippines is second to the last among its Asean peers in terms of starting a business, dealings with construction permits, registering property and enforcing contracts.
“[Investors look for stability, consistency. They can’t find them in the Philippines, that’s the reason for the country’s low FDI compared to other Asean member-economies],” he said.
The Philippines attracted $6.0 billion worth of investments in 2014.
But the country’s FDI inflows remain low compared to other Southeast Asian neighbors like Singapore with $68 billion, Indonesia with $23 billion, Thailand with $13 billion, Malaysia with $11 billion and Vietnam with $9 billion.
Binay said his administration, if he is elected President in next year’s elections, will focus
on inclusive growth and making sure that the country’s economic gains are felt by all.
“My vision is for every Filipino to have an equal share in the nation’s progress. No one should be left behind,” he added.
The Vice President said inclusive growth is possible with the right mix of social and economic policies by a government that is sensitive to both the needs of its residents and those who do business in the country.
He assured that his administration will strive to create jobs and provide adequate social services that will especially help the poor.