Monday, September 03, 2007

7.5 Magnitude Hits RP: GMA Shakes Our Senses

Gloria happily announced that our GDP rose by 7.5%. What a sensational feat despite the stock market losing all its gains. Our economy grew even if the peso is slowly slipping against the dollar again. Despite the drought, our economy still grew. Gloria is smiling because of this.

Many economists and even businessmen does not agree with the figures. My small business had dropped about 12% in earnings. Some of my tenants are actually behind in their rental payments. This is the gauge I use that business especially the medium-scale and small-scale businesses are actually slowing down. People have less spending power. Utilities are actually going up further hampering growth. This is the reason why NAPOCOR and Meralco are proposing lowering its costs in economic zones. In the coming months, Meralco will be charging us another P6.23/kWh more to recover their claimed losses. I just wonder why they can recover whatever they lost while we can only charge our losses to experience?

All I hear is the entry of BPOs who are actually just replacing those who have chosen to relocate elsewhere. The endless sale in the malls shows that retail is not moving. Just take a look at how credit cards are offering zero interests just to push the public to buy.

I am not an economists and my knowledge of economy is limited. My observations are purely based on what I see happening around me. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to reach a conclusion. The surge in trading is due to bargain hunting since the big drop in the stock market which wiped out its gains. So what if interest rates are down, what we should check is the huge number of uncollected payments and nonperforming loans. Borrowers are either restructuring or defaulting on their loans. The automotive industry had even gone to lower down payments just to entice buyers.

I really wonder how the administration arrived at this number. Reality on the ground says otherwise. I suppose GMA's economic team just took the figure from a recent earthquake. She intends to shake our senses into believing that she is doing a great job.

All these are just based on numbers, numbers which when totaled would present an average. Big business may get the lion's share but what about the other industries? How much drop did the agriculture incur? Are there more manufacturers? Are exports more than our importations? How does the claimed growth affect our environments? How much does our OFWs' remittances actually account for this growth? Why have child labor problem in the country grown to alarming heights? Why do Filipinos leave in droves to seek employment abroad?

Her cabinet says that soon the ordinary Filipino will feel the trickle down of the growth, that is after big businesses and her cronies have gulped down the gushes. While we continue to bear the brunt of passed-on taxes and high cost of utilities, Gloria will bask in the glory of her claimed improving(?) economy. her economic team will continue to extend tax breaks and incentives to those who are close to them. When she finally steps down and the smokescreen clears, we the people will be left holding a bag full of empty promises and dashed hopes. We will be left to pay for the billions she borrowed through the years of her illegitimate and stolen presidency. Parents and children alike will follow the footsteps of those who have gone ahead them and continue the vicious cycle of migrant employment.

The social and environmental cost of her policies will haunt us for the years to come while she and her corrupt gang will have plenty in hand for a comfortable retirement.