Addressing members of political parties in Cordillera, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo once again declared that the Philippines will be among the world’s richest in 20 years. Government statistics, however, belie claims of economic growth.
BY LYN V. RAMO
Posted by (Bulatlat.com)
Volume VIII, No. 24, July 20-26, 2008
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) – Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced here July 19 that she would deliver the country into a First World status in the next generation.
Arroyo told members of the Lakas-Christian/Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) in the Cordillera that the economy would continue to improve and the country “will be counted among the rich nations in 20 years, if we maintain our solidarity.” She keynoted the merging of the two parties, which she named as ‘strongest political parties today.’
On May 23, 2006, Arroyo said the same line. Addressing the 27th National Conference of Employers at the Manila Hotel, she vowed to take the Philippines to the ‘Enchanted Kingdom of First World Success.’
Better than the rest in Asia
In her attempt to shed light on the food crisis and the skyrocketing prices of prime commodities, Arroyo cited the situation of Asian countries, which she said are also “hit by the world spikes in fuel and food prices and the slowing down of Western economies.”
She said that the prices of rice and oil are higher in these countries.
She said that rice in India is pegged at P95 per kilo and in Singapore, P45. She added that the price of oil in Hong Kong is P71 per liter; P67 in New Zealand; and, P60 in Thailand and the US.
Last week, Dr. Carol Araullo, national chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) who spoke at a forum here, said rice prices are soaring in the Philippines because of commodity futures market, which she said has affected many of the world’s developed and developing economies.
Similarly, the prices of petroleum products are also affected by the dynamics of speculation, which she blamed for the bloated prices.
The independent think-tank Ibon Foundation, in an article posted by Bulatlat, calculated that over 20 percent of local pump prices are due to speculation-driven overpricing.
According to Araullo, the oil and rice crises are but part of the empty promises of globalization, which in itself manifests the crisis of a rotting imperialist system.
Government statistics show a worsening picture of poverty in most regions.
A family of five in the National Capital Region (NCR) has to earn P10,000 a month to live out of poverty, according to the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB). In the Cordillera, a family of five would need at least P7,000 monthly in order not to be considered poor.
Earlier, in a press conference, the NSCB-Cordillera said that a person with P45 a day is not considered poor.
While Arroyo boasted of an improving economy, the value of the Philippine peso continues to fluctuate in recent months. The peso-dollar exchange rate is now P45.03 as of Friday, which Arroyo claimed to be going strong.
The country’s inflation rate is expected to hit a double-digit and is seen to persist up to the first quarter of 2009, according to government finance institutions.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has reportedly raised its inflation forecast for 2008 at nine to eleven percent.
In ending her keynote speech, Arroyo said, “We should get ready for the day when we shall be a part of the First World.” Northern Dispatch/Posted by (Bulatlat.com)