Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Of economic ratings and perceptions

THE status of the Philippine Economy can be diagnosed and consequently pronounced accordingly either by result of ambivalent perception or the truth on ground reality. Such differences in appreciation basically depend on whether it is the administration itself that makes the evaluation, or it is this or that survey that issues the pronouncement or it is the people in general who live the economic and actually speak about it.  

When the administration makes its own official appraisal, the Philippine economy is not simply promising but even amazing. When it is one or the other survey issues its formal evaluation, the Philippine economy is either great or bad, usually depending on what firm supposedly made the survey.  There is quite ambivalence in the sense that it depends on the survey readers what they want to believe.  But when it is the people in general—those in supermarkets and wet markets, those in the classy and standard neighborhoods, those living in subdivisions and under the bridges or by the canals for that matter, they say the truth they live and know: The Philippine economy is not only oppressive but also depressing.

After some three years in Office, the present administration continues to claim with certainty, that the economic growth is a priority and that economy progress is thus a magnificent reality. Graft and corrupt practices were supposed to be something in the past through the “Matuwid na daan” loud and avid proclamations.  Moreover, the common good and public welfare of the people were also supposed to be championed through the then avowed and applauded claim “Kayo ang boss ko!” as if sovereignty does not in fact belong to the Filipinos themselves as provided by the Constitution.

But after some time, such proud and triumphant claims proved to be but empty claims and futile resolves. So it is that the people are instead not only robbed to the bones by their public officials by pocketing public funds but also made slaves by the stern demands of payments of direct and indirect taxes from sun up to sun down, from birth to death.  Admittedly, economy is undermined not only by natural but mostly by man-made calamities.  It comes, therefore, not a surprise that, conservatively, about 10% of Filipinos cannot not find local employment and about 20% of them are wallowing in poverty.  Statistics, of course, can be deceiving.  But the increasing number of Filipinos leaving the country to eke a living abroad is very telling.

And yet government reports say that Philippine economy grew by 7.2 percent in 2013, and proudly hinted that this growth rate is second only to China’s performance in the past year.  This looks like on the same league with the recent SWS survey conducted from December 11 to 16 where the Yolanda victims who were supposedly some of the respondents gave the President a +54 net satisfaction rating which is equivalent to “very good.”

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