SENATE minority leader Alan Cayetano on Monday came to the defense of President Benigno Aquino on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) move giving the president a failing grade for his inability to harness growth to wipe out poverty in the country, saying that it is not the time for criticism.
Cayetano, pointed out that while it is true that a lot more needs to be done in addressing poverty, the Aquino administration has already accomplished a lot in that field.
“We all want the poor to feel the effects of economic growth. Personally, I want lower prices, more jobs and higher income for all Filipino families especially the poor, but we should understand that the effects of economic progress takes time,” Cayetano said in his appeal to the CBCP.
Cayetano, a born-again Christian, said that now is the time for ideas and not criticism as he appeal to the Catholic leaders to be more patient and constructive.
Bishop Broderick Pabillio, CBCP national secretariat for social action, earlier said that he gave the president a grade of three out of 10 because the overhyped economic growth has not reached the poor yet.
Another bishop even suggested that instead of boasting the 7.8 growth in gross domestic product (GDP) during the first quarter of 2013, the President should tell the truth in his state of the nation address next month.
But Cayetano said that economic progress takes time for it to be felt by the poor adding that in China and in other Asian countries it took more than a decade for the poor to feel its effects, that is why we should be patient.
The senator in showing that the Aquino administration has already done a lot cited that 1.156 million jobs generated in 2011 which according to him even exceed that original promise of 1-million jobs.
Cayetano however did not say of the said job created were permanent jobs or mere temporary work.
The minority leader also cited the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the Aquino administration which he claimed to have yielded tremendous success, vastly increasing the beneficiaries from 800,000 under the previous administration to 3.8 million under the present administration.