A land of plenty …. of poor

THE National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), a government agency that duplicates the function of the National Statistics Office (NSO), is rejoicing over its discovery that the economy expanded by 7.3 percent in 2010, the highest since 1986.

The greatest contributors to this record growth, according to NSCB, are the overseas Filipino workers who found jobs in other countries in the face of the government’s inability to provide them a chance to work here at home, keep the family and family values intact and keep their homes safe from harm.

The gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.3 percent is attributable to the domestics, a lot of them female teachers and professionals who had been either raped or sexually assaulted by their employers amidst the inability of the government to protect these overseas workers.

GDP refers to the total value of goods and services produced in the country in a given year and if we are to believe the NSCB, the growth was achieved on the back of the world recovery from the global financial crisis.

Thanks and no thanks to a government of corrupt bureaucracy and corrupt business who are the beneficiaries of this alleged growth in a country where the common people are dying for food, shelter, education and medical assistance.

It is hoped that a certain Sherman Chan of the HSBC (Hongkong Shanghai Bank Corp.) Manila branch had not been misquoted when he gleefully revelation that the dollar remittances from overseas workers “have been pretty healthy and that has really helped to support private consumption in the Philippines.”

There is nothing to be proud about the “strong growth” mentioned by the government. Yesterday, transportation fares were raised and the fate of expressway motorists and commuters still hangs.

Schoolchildren are to pay higher tuitions next month for their enrollment, throw-away textbooks (education authorities in connivance with the publishers want to make sure they can’t be used the following year) and the many donations and projects required of them to finish at the end of the school year that ends next month.

Crimes remain unabated but the money these common criminals they rob from banks, pickpockets, cell phone snatchers, carjackers, kotong cops and others are nothing compared to reports of payolas, kickbacks, tongpats we read in the newspapers day in and day out.

For example:

1.      Heidi Mendoza told the House committee on justice chaired by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas that she had uncovered irregularities that included missing funds in millions of pesos and dollars despite the difficulty of sorting through the improperly maintained records of the AFP.

2.      Among the missing funds, she said, was the P50 million that was taken from the P200-million United Nations fund representing reimbursement for peacekeeping operation expenses, and another $5 million representing UN reimbursement for equipment.

Enough of the statistics that do not give us the true picture of the economy.-Raul Valino

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