01 Sep 2010
The urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) reiterated its warning to the Aquino administration against accepting further foreign loans to fund its anti-poverty programs, saying that this will cause the country greater harm in the long run.
News reports have confirmed that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is set to approve tomorrow (Sep. 2) its first loan to the Aquino administration, amounting to $400 million to fund the government’s conditional cash transfer program, known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) run by the DSWD.
Kadamay has long criticized the “doomed” 4Ps program, even as it was launched during the Arroyo administration, for drawing its funds from foreign loans and the Value-Added Tax (VAT), said Carlito Badion, the group’s vice chairman.
“Matagal nang napatunayan na ang pagpapatali natin sa dayuhang pautang ay nagiging sagka rin sa matagalang pag-unlad ng bansa,” he said. “Kaya’t mangangahulugan lang din ang bagong utang na ito sa mas matinding kahirapan sa hinaharap.”
Badion cited independent think-tank IBON Foundation’s recent analysis on the proposed 2011 budget, showing how the government’s commitment to repay its debts renders it unable to address the people’s immediate and long-term needs.
In its report, IBON called the 2011 proposal an “austerity budget” inconsistent with the country’s long-term economic and social development.
“There is a large drop in the budget for economic services which falls by 9.5% from PhP398.9 billion in 2010 to PhP361.1 billion in 2011. The budget contractions are particularly large in the sectors of: agriculture and agrarian reform (falling by PhP23.1 billion or 26.0%), communication, roads and other transportation (PhP7.9 billion or 5.2%), water resources development and flood control (PhP4 billion or 21.4%), and power and energy (PhP3.4 billion or 65.5%),” IBON said.
According to the group, there is no substitute for a “long-term plan” for development that will create sufficient and sustainable jobs and just wages, and any short-term program for poverty alleviation must be consistent with this plan. Incurring further debt should be removed from the equation, it said.
“Kung ipapapahamak din natin ang hinaharap para tugunan ang kasalukuyan,” said Badion, “para saan pa?” (Bulatlat.com)
Kadamay Vice Chair
Jon Vincent Marin