• The myth of the economic growth

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    ejlopez

    SEEMS like the school year 2013-2014 will start on a positive note with a bunch of good news starting to come out and the promise of a better life is expected in the not- so-distant future. The promise of a better and competitive standard of education is assured with the passage of the K+12 law, which in essence is meant to extend basic education by two (2) more years. This is what other countries have been doing, and we are just following the global practice. This is done despite the current system of basic education has seen no dilemma, in terms of global competitiveness. The current leadership has seen a quandary in this area that according to them needs rectification, which previous administrations have not seen and acknowledged. The “scholarly” nature of the leadership has seen the “possible” world standardization of our educational system, if only for the number of years added to its operation.

    But it has either ignored or overlooked the possibility of greater number of out-of-school youth (OSY) that may come into play because of the stretch of basic education to earn a degree. The current number of OSY will be further highlighted in the next few years because of the cost incurred in sending children to school. Not to mention the people who are directly and indirectly earning a living that may be displaced in the next 3 years with the non-existence of college freshmen and sophomores in 2016-17. To look for alternative sources of income for educators and others is easier said than done. This predicament may trigger the statistical increase on the number of hungry Filipinos, if left to mend on their own without a clear support coming from the government.

    Development can wait because it is long term and needs brewing before it can attain its objective, but a hungry Filipino can’t. The increasing number of hungry Filipinos is increasing everyday and this cannot wait unlike development. We should not wait for these people to make hunger their excuse to commit mayhem because we have not done concrete approach to assist them from such predicament. Preventive measures should be made before unlawful behavior could be made. As they say, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

    1st quarter growth
    Everyone was ecstatic about the growth rate we had the 1st quarter of the year 2013. Who wouldn’t be? The 7.8% growth rate was very high by any standard, in fact, the fastest in Asia and in fact higher than China’s 7.7%. Aside from the fact that the economic growth was reflective of the confidence for the local leadership, it also a gauge that the economy is on a roll in terms of progress. But what is the component of growth before we become too elated about it. Primarily, the main driver of economic growth was consumer spending which is temporary and not sustainable coupled with government spending poured into the system. Over above these are the overseas remittances which every year has proven to be the most significant contributor to economic growth.

    Unless and until we can attract more investors to pour in the local economy, the economy’s growth will remain fluctuating and not sustainable, because what the economy needs are more permanent structure like investment spending unlike consumer driven growth. This has been proven by our unmoved and in fact growing unemployment rate which now stands at 8 percent.

    Ancillary growth indicators like portfolio investments and the financial market should likewise complement other GDP indicators. Last week’s decline in index performance was one of the highest the past two years. This is representative of the “significant growth” contributed by “unsustainable indicators” that characterizes our 1st quarter growth performance.

    Election realities
    The last election has affirmed the reality of the nature of Philippine election particularly on how one can be elected to public office. The fact remains that for one to be elected you need money on top of it all, fame comes next and perhaps knowledge or sincerity, which actually is not significant at all. You don’t have to go far to examine these realities because it exists with utmost impunity even in the metropolitan area. It is more particularly visible in local elections where the name of the game is money and power and other factors are mere incidental to your desire for power.

    The landscape of Philippine politics and the nature of local governance will remain unimproved and corrupt unless we change the phase of local elections. Unless and until we vote these kinds of candidates who treat their posts as a business enterprise, our bureaucratic system will forever be entrenched with unqualified, dishonest people who will enrich themselves in power to the detriment of the people. Well, we should “reap what we sow!”

    Post Script:
    Happy Golden Year to my sister Agnes J. Lopez who is residing in Sydney, Australia.

    Many happy returns of the day and our best wishes to you and your son Angelo…

    (For comments, email: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com with cc to: opinion@manilatimes.net).

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