Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Probably drowned with the marketing hype of the movie Da Vinci Code, not a many noticed when the National Statistics Office descended with a latest projected population growth rate of 1.95% from 2.36% in the year 2000 when census was last conducted. The demographers of U.P. were startled.

Why the sudden drop when the population program of the government was at a standstill?, these demographers asked without hiding their suspicions of intellectual dishonesty—or so appeared the panel discussion at ANC last May 16. The Executive Director of the government’s Population Commission, Tomas Osias, finger-pointed to increased incidence in abortion as the culprit. Where in the world came the abortion data? Is the government now making the count in broad daylight and nobody gets prosecuted? Or are fictionists the likes of Dan Brown now enclaved in government offices?

In this present dispensation even mathematical probabilities find a convenient way to the “manghihilot” when political comfort so demands. And this is not to mention the mathematicians of COMELEC or the statistics and financial forecasts of the government’s financial institutions. In a recent Cabinet meeting, Nestor Mijares of NEDA with his technocrats easily raised the poverty threshold and declared, as if with a magic wand, that “poverty is subsiding”, without blinking. But while politicians and their cuddled technocrats are in the moon, poverty in fact is worsening with more and more people are getting hungry all over the land. In its May 2006 survey, SWS reported that the percentage of households complaining of hunger “with nothing to eat at least once in the past three months,” have reached a new record high of 16.7%.

A craving empty stomach does not tell a lie. And neither do politicians and technocrats. They just make a spin. Nobody, for instance, calls Garci a liar. Or the honorable President of the Republic for that matter. The closest that you get to it is to accept, despite butterflies in your brain, that they are just doing their job. And so we have to move on. Or do we?

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