SONA EXAGGERATES GAINS TO DIVERT FROM REAL ECONOMIC WOES

MEDIA RELEASE / 29 July 2014

IBON Foundation ∙ 114 Timog Avenue, Quezon City Philippines 1103

Phone: (632) 927-6986/927-7060 to 61 ∙ Fax: 929-2496 ∙ media@ibon.org ∙ http://www.ibon.org

Reference: Mr Sonny Africa (IBON executive director)

SONA EXAGGERATES GAINS TO DIVERT FROM REAL ECONOMIC WOES, DECLINING CREDIBILITY

SONA-2014.2The president’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) appears to have been designed to arrest the administration’s declining credibility rather than present the real state of the country and how the government can use its vast powers to improve the poor economic conditions of the majority. According to research group IBON, the SONA merely repeated so-called economic gains and evaded how any progress is felt merely by a few at the expense of many.

From a development perspective, Pres. Benigno Aquino’s SONA affirms that the administration is not reformist when it comes to the economy. The SONA affirmed its reliance on short-term measures to boost growth for the illusion of economic progress – primarily public infrastructure spending – and its avoidance of addressing the structural bottlenecks that cause underdevelopment. There are mainly three inter-related bottlenecks: low agricultural production and productivity, stunted domestic industry, and record joblessness and wide poverty.

The president did not acknowledge the failure of agrarian reform. Nine out of ten supposed beneficiary farmers still do not own the land they till and three out of four are not even able to make the onerous payments demanded by the government’s landlord-biased agrarian reform programs. He even just made excuses for his administration’s poor performance in land distribution which is well below the historical program average – at 19,700 hectares per month compared to the 27,600 hectares per month historical average. Also, instead of defining a vision for building Filipino industry he repeated the bankrupt notion that foreign investors and being open for business to foreigners is the path to domestic development.

IBON also noted how Pres. Aquino exaggerated gains against joblessness and poverty to divert from the exclusionary growth path of economic policies. Incomplete data for employment and poverty were used to give the impression of a turnaround in the conditions of the majority. However these used low standards including glossing over the deterioration in the quality of work and estimating inhumanly low poverty lines. Moreover, while Top 1000 corporate profits have increased by at least 34% and the wealth of the richest 40 Filipinos grew by at least 137% since 2010, the mandated minimum wage and average daily basic pay received by workers only increased by 2-3 percent.

Pres. Aquino also insisted on defending the undemocratic Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Yet this controversial scheme of presidential pork barrel makes claims of budget reforms hollow with the false assertion that the president can subvert institutional mechanisms because he has good intentions. The president’s SONA did not and could not refute how the administration intentionally makes billions of pesos in the national budget available for political and patronage purposes rather than rational economic uses. (end)

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.


2 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Gabriel says:

    What’s new in the Government Achievement or no achievement report ? Every year and every term is self serving. Promises are broken in the mids of Senator, Congressmen,government officials and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What we need is a real change from the bottom to the top. So people will realize that its an over-all problem and not only those who rules but also the common people who are dying every day because of no medicine, lack of facilities and no food at all. Can they not see it ? hope things get better. If we only spend time seeing, hearing and doing things for the better of our nation. Gawad Kalinga is a good program which can be supported to all parts of the nation to improve the lifestyle of the nation.

    • Bobby Bagos says:

      The only way our country can bounced back from being stuck at the bottom is to restore the one ingredient that’s been missing from the Filipino people for a long time, common sense. Now, we also have this uncanny ability of not seeing things beyond our noses the shortest attention span to boot. We’re smart, industrious, frugal, religious and most of all resourceful, yet we tend to use these traits always in a negative way. If at first you don’t succeed, try again but with us it’s the other way around. If you don’t succeed, throw your hands up in the air, scratch your head then say “pwede na yan” or “Bahala Na” and last but not least, do it the way the politicians does it, steal it not on hundreds but by the millions.

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