The year that was, prospects for 2015

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Ej Lopez

Ej Lopez

It is traditional for Filipinos to recollect past personal events and experiences not only on New Year’s Day but also on significant days like the Lenten season, to make amends in our spiritual life, with the end in view of reconciling with our Creator. More than any other intention, we can bank on our recollections of past events and use them as basis for our future plans and actions.

It is for these reasons that the practice of making New Year’s resolution started as early as the Medieval Ages, where Babylonians made promises to their Gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the God Janus, for whom the month of January is named.

Although sacredly followed to the letter in the medieval era and considered as honorific when used, current generations just don’t make serious account of their promises and do not take it seriously, resulting in broken promises.

Government recollection and plans likewise move exactly in the same direction, to look back and try to pick up from where it left; to try to make amends, make new plans and not commit the same mistakes and hopefully achieve success with their actions.


The year that was

As far as the local front is concerned, we fared pretty well except for some unnoticed (or neglected) areas of concern particularly pertaining to the people’s welfare. The government in some cases lacks focus and was misguided, especially in the areas of economy and people. More often than not, our leaders’ actions are always dashed with political color and interest.

A case in point is the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the government. A dole-out to the poorest of the poor ; it does not provide headway at all, as matter of fact, has become the root of controversy because some political leaders used it as a tool for re-election. Many have manifested doubts about the program considering that many of the poorest among the poor are not beneficiaries of the program.

The CCT needs to be revisited considering that the number of poor families, more particularly the country’s self-rated poverty has climbed to an unprecedented high of 11.4 million families, the worst in 8 years. That is equivalent to about 46 percent of the population assuming that there are 4 members for each family.

Despite several economic accolades and achievements that were unprecedented in the past years, credit rating upgrade of the country to an investment category and the continuous confidence displayed by foreign investors, it has hardly materialized significantly for the benefit of the Filipino people. In fact, the lingering problem of unemployment remained unmoved at 6-7 percent.

Gleaning from the economic experiences of the past, “there is more than meets the eye.”

Economic success and development does not merely rely on mere statements of praise. It should be consistently achieved through years of hard work. Ours has been a roller coaster experience of growth and bust experience catapulted by the economic meltdowns that were influenced by more affluent countries the past 2 decades.

Prospects for 2015

Despite the relatively lukewarm performance of the economy the past year, we still see a bullish scenario for the year 2015. This year could be the tipping point, an offshoot of years of positive perception boosted by the expected 6-7 percent growth.

Buoyed by the upcoming national election next year (2016), it is expected that local spending will surge by the 2nd quarter of year. The outpouring of election related expenses will pump prime the economy providing more jobs.

On government spending, the rehabilitation fund spent on Eastern Visayas is not to be outdone considering the magnitude of the investment fund that was poured into it, both from local and foreign sources. Such amount of money has created employment and investment opportunities not soon for the past two decades in the typhoon-ravaged areas of the Visayas. With the goodwill that was manifested by local and foreign investors, it is expected that economic growth will be sustained in the region. The kind of optimism displayed by our leadership, we hope to achieve a growth rate enough to sustain our thrust of becoming an economic tiger.

With the president on the last year of his term, it is expected that this administration will have their hands full in achieving and delivering its promises lest it be pretty depressing to the president’s anointed candidates in 2016.

My sincere wishes for a bountiful year ahead of us!

For comments email: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com

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