IT’S bad enough when a person hallucinates. It’s worse when it’s the president of a country who hallucinates and thinks its citizens owe him a debt of gratitude for imaginary and fictional accomplishments. Well, this is exactly what’s happened to PNoy that many Filipinos are wondering what pill he’s been taking.
In a speech before school children at the Marikina Elementary School, PNoy bragged that the Philippines will surely attain First World status allegedly because of his accomplishments and the policies and reforms he put in place during his presidency.
PNoy trumpeted a litany of achievements under his watch such as the alleged decline in unemployment and hunger among families. He also boasted of his administration’s anti-corruption efforts and poverty alleviation programs.
“If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that we’ll be part of the First World,” PNoy said.
It seems PNoy is so “out of this world” that he apparently believes he’s become some sort of savior.
The reality, however, is that with barely a year left in PNoy’s 6-year term, the majority of Filipinos are still constantly living the nightmare of high unemployment and underemployment, high food cost, high electricity and water prices, a decaying mass transit system, widespread poverty and rampant corruption.
For instance, official data shows that our unemployment rate has remained practically unchanged over the past seven years, hovering between 6 percent to 8 percent. In fact, from 1994 until 2014, the Philippines’ unemployment rate had averaged 8.90 percent. This is a conservative estimate since the government’s definition of unemployment is different from that used by international agencies.
It is estimated that between 2013 and 2016, some 1.15 million Filipinos will be joining the workforce every year but only a fourth of them will find stable jobs, according to the World Bank. This means the unemployment figures will continue to rise unless the economy can absorb new entrants to the workforce.
But with the latest economic data showing the country’s GDP sliding to 5.2 percent last quarter – the slowest in three years – while the three major economic indicators have also posted a downturn: foreign direct investment (down 54.6 percent), exports (down 4.1 percent) and manufacturing (down 4.2 percent), it’s almost impossible for the economy can create enough jobs to match the growing labor supply.
And with as much as 75 percent of the workers employed in the informal sector – which means they are not covered by social security and health insurance – majority of the country’s workforce have no protection from job losses. This figure is likely to increase as the population surges, the World Bank said.
Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a recent report that the combined unemployment and underemployment rate of the Philippine work force still exceeds 25 percent. That’s around 10 million Filipinos who are either not working or employed at low-paying jobs not compatible with their skill or educational attainment.
Although Palace drumbeaters like to point out that we have the second fastest growing economy in Asia next to China, the country still continues to experience widespread poverty.
A recent World Bank report said the Philippines’ economic growth has benefitted only the top 20 percent of the population, while almost a quarter of the population still lives below the poverty line, earning less than P16,841 (about $386) a year. The World Bank said that this figure has remained almost unchanged since 2006 despite the economic gains touted by PNoy.
While government data showed that the percentage of Filipinos living in poverty had declined slightly over the last few years, poverty numbers had actually increased among youth and urban residents – the two segments of the population that are growing the fastest.
Moreover, the latest nutrition survey conducted by the government showed little progress in beating hunger. The number of stunted and underweight Filipino children has not changed much in the last 6 years.
As for policies and reforms allegedly instituted by PNoy, we have yet to identify one, let alone cite one that has really had a positive impact on Filipinos. Corruption at all levels of the bureaucracy, whether in the national or local government, remains rife.
Even PNoy’s so-called anti-corruption crusade turned out to be nothing more than a ploy to demolish and incarcerate his political opponents.
The P134-billion Development Acceleration Program (DAP) – the Palace-concocted stimulus package – was reduced to a “presidential pork barrel” to dispense bribes to legislators to impeach and convict Chief Justice Renato Corona.
And more than two years since the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam was first exposed, no charges have been filed against incumbent lawmakers and Liberal Party allies of PNoy implicated in the racket. In the meantime, the Commission on Audit (COA) is taking its sweet time completing the audit of PDAF funds during PNoy’s watch.
Can someone please slap PNoy out of his psychedelic dream?!