Friday, March 02, 2007

Pres. Arroyo's claim of economic progress bogus and not based on reality but on manipulated figures

Friday March 2, 2007

Pres. Arroyo's claim of economic progress bogus and not based on reality but on manipulated figures

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that he found it seriously befuddling how Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can say that the country's economy has become strong and even invincible against the turbulence currently being experienced by international stock markets. He said that the president's fraudulent claim was aimed at projecting her supposed success at turning the economy around and hence convince voters to support Team Unity.

"It's mostly big business groups and foreign investors who are singing praises to Pres. Arroyo's blueprint for progress. Ordinary Filipinos feel and enjoy nothing of the supposed progress Arroyo has succeeded in achieving for the country. What happened to the P125 across-the-board wage increase for workers? The P3,000 salary increase for government employees? All of the laws that were recently passed are geared towards protecting the profit margins of big businesses and their foreign partners. None of the measures that Macapagal-Arroyo initiated will benefit ordinary Filipinos and help them cope with rising prices and the deteriorating value of the peso," he said.

Beltran said that it was outrageous how Pres. Arroyo can claim victory for the economy when a large section of the population still live below the poverty line. "It's all hocus pocus and adjusted standards to make sure that the government appear that it has made headway in turning the economy around. Pres. Arroyo's claim of economic progress is bogus and certainly not grounded on reality and actual conditions faced by majority of Filipinos," he said. "The electricity rate cut she was bragging about the other day is not even certain to be implemented. It will take at least three months for Meralco to adjust its rates, according to Meralco officials themselves."

Beltran pointed out that the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) recently set the annual per capita poverty threshold in Metro Manila at P18,859 as of 2005. This means that government believes that the breadwinner of a family having six members and living in the capital region needs to earn just P310 a day to meet its food and non-food needs.

"This is not grounded in reality. It's impossible for a family to subsist on P310 a day and maintain a decent and secure existence wherein the health and personal development of each family member is guaranteed. This amount does not even qualify for subsistence living standards set by the World Bank," he said. Beltran said that a family of six in the NCR needs at least P683 a day to meet its basic needs.

"The figures that the government's think-tanks are spouting are being used as a justification for the government to argue against a substantial wage hike. The truth is, the current minimum wage levels are way below what is needed to meet workers' basic needs," he said.

In its press release, the NSCB stated that for an average-size family of five members, "a sole breadwinner should have had a take-home pay of P259 daily in 2005. For such amount, mothers can make ends meet by allocating approximately P154 for food and the remaining P105 for the non-food needs of the family."

"What's the current daily minimum wage in Metro Manila? It's P350, but any firms are guilty of not paying the legally-enforced minimum," he said. "The Macapagal-Arroyo administration is hallucinating by saying that the Philippine economy has become strong. These declarations are being made just so Pres. Arroyo can present a pretty atmosphere and favorable conditions for foreign and local investors."#


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