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A Shining Light in the Dark – the Philippines

The Philippines has a positive economic growth! Malacañang says or predicts a plus 0.03 to 0.04 economic growth for the current year 2009. Would you believe that? We have a light that stands in the dark! Every country in the world is saying that they are registering or expecting negative for the same period.

So, somebody came up with some figures showing that the Philippines has out best the world in weathering the crisis. This is interesting because earlier figures by IMF-World Bank showed negative for the Philippines. I’m no economist and I don’t know how people do or come up with their economic arithmetic. No doubt, there must be economic growth. That’s something expected. Positive growth is another thing. It’s like saying that a ship is pushing at 11 knots against a storm of 10 knots to be gaining 1 knot. Whatever, the simple man in the street does not understand any of them. Fact is, more and more Filipinos are going abroad to find work even before the world’s economic crisis. Fact is, the country today is one of the poorest in the region. Fact is, more and more Filipinos are going deeper into poverty and deprivation.

Let’s go about facts. Something that is seemingly conflicting always comes from one or same facts that caused conflict.  It is views and interpretations of same facts that differed or conflicted. Or, people could possibly be talking of entirely different things while appearing to be in conflict. What are the facts, because facts and truths are the same.

The Philippines is doing great. Right, one can say that. But it is a partial truth and not a total one. It is true only in so far as those who are living above poverty line. When one is beyond poverty, he has surplus earnings actually, and he is in a situation where he may become rich or richer – if he has got that ambition of course. Because we have types who will simply enjoy life when they have that opportunity, which is what life is all about for many of those above poverty. Yes, things like house, appliances, car, jewelries, vacation and the likes. We could be talking there of something like 30% of the total population, or less than that by western standards. What the world calls economic crisis is in fact, to some Filipinos, nothing but economic slowdown, or economic contraction – the latest term coined by whomever.  Filipinos have been buying more brand new cars today when the western world reported decline. That’s mostly by the Filipino business, managerial, and executive castes as usual, surfing high with every economic wave. In the western world construction workers, farmers, market baggers, ordinary people,  they all buy car. Cars are for Hacienderos here.

And we can pretend 70 percent of 90 million Filipinos  do not exist. That would leave 27 million Filipinos, with zero poverty rate! The business climate  in the country is never been dull  is  a fact. The world recession has little impact in the Philippines. They are  all facts, yes, depending where one looks at it.

The Philippines is becoming worst. The situation seems most shaky at around the section where haves and have-nots meet. The present world economic crisis did not make many Filipinos poor. They have in fact become poorer as they were already bellow poverty line when world recession started. They never had amenities normal of people elsewhere in the world. Many Filipinos have long time ago ceased to be part of economic statistics, or factors that contributed to or affecting economic statistics. There is no considerable drop in consumerism contributed by those who have ceased to be economic factors. No wonder we have things now like “positive economic growth” amidst all negatives.

Ok, what we have there are called viewpoints, conflicting [class] viewpoints. We see two truths, two worlds apart, all in one.

Then what is Objectivity? Objectivity is seeing and giving recognition to the A to Z of the matter. Objectivity is impartiality. It is totality, a form of classlessness. Other than that would be frog-in-the-well trying to tell everybody the sky is round and it’s as wide as the mouth of the well. Everybody without exception lives inside a well. That’s right, all people do. Other than that is Superman – alpha humans. But, if one has to summarize a matter briefly, then I guess it is the main that must be given weight. 70% describes the whole better than 30% would!

But what are figures displayed to us all about? I mean, is the nation really progressing as figures would show? Say, we had P95 Mn yesterday when it is  P135 Mn today. That’s amazing growth there, right? Wrong. The figures I showed represent dressed chicken at P95.00 per kilogram then, which now sells at P135.00 per kilogram.  If production was at a million kilograms then that now is still at one million kilograms, what impressed us as monetary growth is in reality stunted economy. And, since population has surely grown bigger today than it was yesterday, the figures are, in effect and in reality, actually, quantitative and qualitative retrogression. Add to that the drop in consumerism because of the economic contraction.  Ah, I’ve been buying less for quite sometime now. So do all the families I see around me.

Sure, there has been a rise of ordinary Filipinos buying motorcycle, lately. Public transport fares have increased. With two wheels now, people save time through hectic traffic. They now ride  head high as owners of vehicles that they can also use for purposes other than  going to and from work. A progressive economic leap for them, no. Savings on bus and jeepney fares are not enough. They have to cut on many things to keep up with monthly amortization. This is more on shifting lifestyle brought about by the situation than by economic progress.

So, what is the higher truth? What is the bigger fact as shown by all the facts?  We have a system here that people have always talked about – Rich-getting-richer while poor-becoming-poorer.  We have a whole that is separated, virtually drifting apart.  There is nothing new to that.  That’s  an old story, older than anybody.

Ok, we have the best managers in Malacañang. We are chugging fast forward. We have positive economic growth. Other than them are lies, deceptions and/or narrow minds.

Meantime Filipinos need foods on their tables, roofs over their heads, clothes to wear, education for their young ones, hospitalization when they get sick, etcetera, etcetera, and not words and numbers that they can hear or see in television but they cannot relate to their everyday existence.  I think this is what made state-of -the-nation address boring every time for Filipinos.  They usually show only achievements instead of showing the objective situation. Comes 2010 whoever seats in the Palace had better be good. I think nothing comes nearest to realism than Senator Miriam D. Santiago when it comes to the situation after 2010.

The Filipino people is very fond of self-flagellation because they celebrate presidential elections as if they have anything to look forward to, and then after only six months they begin to make a death wish for the elected president. That is so Filipino.//Excerpt,  Senator M.D. Santiago

Filipinos are hopeful and wishful people. They dream of becoming a Japan, an America, a Europe, or an Australia. But reality drifts them somewhere else. We have a system that has not worked, without indication that it will work. We have social tensions that have ever been building up. We have a State that is becoming dependent on police and military powers to counteract tensions and to prop itself up.

No, Filipinos do not want to be in a Vietnam, a Myanmar, a China or a North Korea. They are shores farther than Pakistan and the Banana republics wherein I think the country has been consistently drifting. That’s the picture I see, which must be ridiculous and impossible in a country like the Philippines.  I must be seeing warped!

Change reality to change the mechanics. Change the dynamics to change destiny. Now, who’s going to deliver all that, folks? Because Mother Nature has always been on the job, doing things by herself… her own way, people like it or not.

2 Responses

  1. Substantially, the post is in reality the freshest on this deserving topic. I agree with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your incoming updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c clarity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates. Fabulous work and much success in your business dealings!

  2. […] A Shining Light in the Dark… […]

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