Philippines’s GDP growth ‘pure government spin,’ says Beltran

Jun. 01, 2007

MANILA — Detained lawmaker Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran today said that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s crowing that the economy is on an upsurge was empty and that whatever improvement in the economic indicators the government has chosen as signs of progress was not reliable.

“This s pure spin, this so-called improvement in the economy. Nothing has changed in the economic lives of Filipinos. Prices of basic commodities and services continue to go up while wages remain pegged to the floor. The improvement Malacanang is crediting itself for creating in the economy is not do to any brilliant economic planning or reforms, but an effect of the almost concluded elections wherein billions were spent by politicians. As for the increased remittances of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWS), surely, Malacanang cannot praise itself for that it’s or OFW kababayans who did all the work, no thanks to the Philippine government,” he said.

Citing latest studies by the independent think-thank IBON Foundation, Beltran said that there was no noticeable growth in the country’s main productive sectors. The growth of the industry sector remained stagnant, remaining at 5.3%, while with manufacturing growth decreased from 5.0% to 4.6%.

“The industries that posted wins are those that were directly utilized in the elections, including paper, printing and publishing. If it weren’t an election year these industries would’ve most likely continued to post losses or at least register slow growth,” he said.

Based on IBON’ reckoning, manufacturing growth would have been even slower if it were not or the elections. Paper and paper products manufacturing grew by 9.0% this year. Publishing and printing which contracted by 12.8% last year posted an increase of 5.6% this year. Food manufacturing grew 7.7% compared to 5.2% last year. Meanwhile there was only an insignificant increase in agriculture growth to 4.2% from 4.1% last year.

“No secure, stable and long-lasting jobs were created and unemployment and underemployment levels continued to increase. Based on official first quarter employment data, the number of jobless workers grew by 13,000 and reach 2.9 million last January. Underemployment increased by 442,000 to 7.2 million.

“A shocking 10.1 million Filipinos are jobless or otherwise looking for more work as of January 2007. How the Macapagal-Arroyo government can say that the economy is improving is beyond the understanding or ordinary Filipinos who experience no improvement in their economic welfare. The next six months is certain to show an economic slowdown even by government standards as the ‘benefits’ of the elections season gave particular industries dies down,” he said.

“If Filipinos believed that the Arroyo government was doing a good job in turning the national economy around, they would not have junked majority of the Team Unity candidates who all sang praises to the administration’s supposed victories in battling poverty and in securing economic gains for the country” he said. #

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