Thursday, September 29, 2005

NR0928:Gov't's mall economy, new definition of unemployment

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release September 28, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Email: rep_crispin_beltran@yahoo.com.ph, anakpawis_partylist@yahoo.com
Celphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news


Government pining hopes on “Mall Economy” and crossing fingers on low Forex in the coming year. Statistics Office changes definition of “Unemployed” to project PGMA doing her job

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that Congress has lost almost all its power to control the country’s “purse.” He quoted Committee on Appropriations chair Rolando Andaya as saying during the last meeting on the budget as saying that “Congress is only deliberating on 10-12% of the country’s “purse.”

Because of Presidential Decree No. 1177 (issued by Marcos which was later adopted by the other administrations), the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) comprised of DBM, NEDA, DOF and BSP presented to the Congress a very sketchy picture of FY 2005, and the prospects look very dismal for the Filipino people in the coming year.

On the production side, government says that growth will continue to be driven by a “vibrant” services sector which they attribute to the planned opening of several SM malls in the last quarter of 2006 and rising investments in mining . “We are lying on malls to prop up the economy. What kind of economy relies heavily on service sector to keep it afloat? It’s like building a house on substandard materials or at least using sticks and straw. The government is crossing its fingers that mall moguls like Henry Sy and the Gokongweis will build more malls and thus provide the illusion that employment is being generated. In truth, Filipinos go to malls for the airconditioning – to escape the heat more than to buy things,” he said.

As for mining, Beltran said that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the mining act was an act of treason and a signal fire for rapacious mining companies to further rape and destroy the environment. “They’re going to gouge out thousands of hectares of productive and arable land and leave them empty husks. Thousands are being displaced, and plant and wildlife destroyed,” he pointed out.

Because OFW remittances are at all-time high pegged at $8.8 billion, the government plans to deploy more Filipinos in other countries next year. Beltran said that instead of pouring all effort and energy as well financial resources into developing independent and self-reliant economy based on strong manufacturing, heavy industries and agriculture, the government is pushing more Filipinos outside the country and roisk t their lives to expose themselves to worse exploitation by foreign employers,” he said.

The veteran labor leader legislator also scoffed at the government new way of computing the unemployment rate. Unemployment (January to July 2005) is at all-time low pegged at 7.8% because of the new definition of unemployment adopted by National Statistics (NSO).

The NSO has defined unemployed as per National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Resolution No. 15 dated October 20, 2004, as all persons who are 15 years old and over as of their last birthday and are reported as (1) without work; AND (2) currently available for work; AND (3) seeking work OR not seeking work due to valid reasons.

“All three considerations have to apply to a person before one is considered unemployed. If one consideration does not apply, the person, even if he or she is actually without a job at the time he or she is surveyed, will be considered EMPLOYED. This is a stupid definition and was clearly implemented to show that Pres. Arroyo has been doing her job to provide employment to millions,” he said.

Beltran also said that the economic forecast by government agencies were also skewed and based on “magic formulations and wishful thinking: “Assumptions on inflation re proposed budget are the following: (1) global petroleum supply growth will not accommodate incremental global demand, 2) the foreign exchange rate will stay within P55-57, (3) electricity rate increase of P0.36/kWh, (4) fare hike and wage adjustments in June and July, and (4) 12% VAT implementation and repeal of exemptions in 2006,” he said. The government is dreaming awake.”#

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