> Sona 2001 revisited, Performance against targets – Ibon Foundation

Sona 2001 revisited

Performance against targets

By Ibon Foundation
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:54:00 07/26/2009

ECONOMIC growth under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is higher than that of her three predecessors.

Growth in gross domestic product (GDP) since 2001 has averaged 4.8 percent annually compared with 4.6 percent in the Aquino administration (1986-1991), 3.1 percent in the Ramos administration (1992-1998) and 3.9 percent in the Estrada administration (1999-2000).

Yet, the economy has become more distorted in the Arroyo administration and the gains from this growth and economic policy in general have gone to only a few people. Most Filipinos have not felt the gains.

The targets listed here were set by Ms Arroyo in her first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 23, 2001.

1. “Our challenge is clear: sugpuin ang kahirapan [reduce poverty incidence].”

An increase of 530,642 in the number of poor families to 4.7 million between 2000 and 2006. (NSCB, using low official poverty lines)

A 2.1-million increase in the number of poor Filipinos to 27.6 million between 2000 and 2006. (NSCB, using low official poverty lines)

Meanwhile, the net income of the Top 1,000 corporations in the Philippines increased 490 percent between 2001 and 2007, from P116 billion to P686 billion. (BW)

In 2006, the net worth of the 20 richest Filipinos – including close Arroyo allies Lucio Tan, Enrique Razon Jr., Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. and Enrique Aboitiz – was P801 billion ($15.6 billion), which was equivalent to the combined income for the year of the poorest 10.4 million Filipino families. (Forbes Asia , NSCB)

2. “The way to fight poverty is to create jobs, not destroy them.”

The period 2001-2008 saw one of the longest periods of sustained high unemployment in the country – the true unemployment rate averaged 11.2 percent. (NSO, Ibon estimates)

A 621,000-increase in unemployment between January 2001 and April 2009 to 4.2 million. (NSO, Ibon estimates)

A 1.9-million increase in underemployment between January 2001 and April 2009 to 6.6 million. (NSO)

Combined unemployment and underemployment increased 2.5 million between January 2001 and April 2009 to 10.8 million. (NSO, Ibon estimates)

The quality of jobs has worsened: Part-time work increased by 5.9 million and now accounts for 14.3 million or 2 out of every 5 jobs. Moreover, those “with jobs but not working” more than doubled and increased by 489,000 to 839,000. (NSO)

The period 2001-2008 saw the biggest number of Filipinos going abroad to find jobs –deployment averaged 990,000 annually compared with 469,709 in the Aquino administration, 713,505 in the Ramos administration and 839,324 in the Estrada administration. Some 1.24 million were deployed last year or 3,400 Filipinos leaving every day. (POEA) There are more than 9 million Filipinos forced to find work abroad. (DFA-CFO)

3. ‘‘The complaint of the masses about high prices and inadequate wages should be addressed.”

The gap between the minimum wage in Metro Manila and the family-living wage more than doubled to P535 in 2008 (minimum wage of P382, family living wage of P917) from just P257 in 2001 (minimum wage of P252, family living wage of P509). (Dole, NWPC)

Nominal minimum wages are stagnant and barely able to keep up with inflation. While nominal wages in Metro Manila increased from P252 in 2001 to P382 in 2008—or a P130 increase – the real increase was worth just P12 because of inflation. (Dole, Ibon estimates)

4. “To reduce excessive friction in labor and management relations, we will go the extra mile to work for industrial peace.”

Since 2001, 62 workers have been extrajudicially killed and 15 others forcibly disappeared. (Karapatan) There have also been 1,478 cases of trade union human rights violations, with 116,356 victims. (CTUHR)

5. “With regard to the fiscal sector, we will control the budget deficit by collecting taxes vigorously and spending money prudently.”

The cumulative national government deficit from 2001 to May 2009 was P1.29 trillion –triple the deficits of the Aquino, Ramos and Estrada administrations combined. (BTr)

The Arroyo administration has paid P4.8 trillion in debt service since 2001—this is two-and-a-half times the P1.8 billion in debt payments made over 15 years by the Aquino, Ramos and Estrada administrations combined. (BTr)

Yet, government debt continued to rise to P4.23 trillion in March 2009, almost double the P2.17-trillion debt inherited from the Estrada administration. The Arroyo administration has effectively been borrowing an additional P256.8 billion annually since coming to power. (BTr)

6. “A social bias toward the disadvantaged to balance our economic development plan. Nurture members of our society left by progress. ”

The Arroyo administration (2001-2009) allotted 15.1 percent of the national budget to education which is lower than that of the Estrada administration (18 percent) and that of the Ramos administration (16.6 percent). (DBM)

To health, it allotted only 1.8 percent of the national budget which is lower than that of Estrada (2.4 percent), Ramos (2.5 percent) and Aquino (3.1 percent). (DBM)

To housing, it allotted only 0.4 percent of the national budget which is lower than that of Estrada (1.0 percent), Ramos (0.7 percent) and Aquino (0.5 percent). (DBM)

In 2009, the Arroyo administration is spending P6 per Filipino a day on education, P1 on health and 12 centavos on housing – while paying the equivalent of P21 for debt service. (Ibon computations based on DBM data)

7. “Increase the chances of Filipino children finishing school … [knowledge] for the masses.”

The number of out-of-school children and youth increased by 2.45 million between school years 2000-2001 and 2008-2009, consisting of an additional 1.62 million children aged 7-12 and an additional 822,097 children aged 13-16 or a total of 4.69 million. (DepEd)

The number of elementary-age out-of-school children increased by 1.62 million between school years 2000-2001 and 2008-2009 to 2.04 million.

The number of high school-age out-of-school youth increased by 822,097 between school years 2000-2001 and 2008-2009 to 2.66 million.

A total of 1.95 million of these children and youth—consisting of 1.59 million of elementary-age children and 360,000 of high-school age children—is directly due to the deterioration of participation rates during the Arroyo administration. (Ibon computations based on DepEd data)

Elementary-school-participation rate dropped from 96.8 percent in school year 2000-2001 to 85.1 percent in 2008-2009; the high-school-participation rate dropped from 66.1 percent to 60.7 percent over the same period. (DepEd)

8. “There can be a million new jobs in agriculture and fisheries [within the year] … I don’t want the one million new jobs to come in the long term.”

An average of 258,200 agricultural jobs was created annually in the past eight years—from 10.25 million agricultural-sector jobs in 2000, the year before Arroyo came to power, to 12.32 million in 2008. (NSO)

The share of agriculture in GDP shrank to its lowest level – 18.1 percent in 2008. (NSCB)

9. “We will strive to achieve rice self-sufficiency.”

Rice imports increased 280 percent from 639,000 tons in 2001 to a record 2.4 million tons in 2008. (DA)

10. “Cheap rice and prosperous farmers.”

The price of rice increased 68 percent between 2000, the year before Ms Arroyo came to power, and 2008: regular-milled rice to P29.38 a kilo from P17.59 and well-milled rice to P32.71 a kilo from P19.45 in 2000. (DA)

11. “Every year, government will distribute 200,000 hectares for agrarian reform: 100,000 of private land and 100,000 hectares of public land, including 100 ancestral-domain titles for indigenous peoples.”

The Department of Agrarian Reform distributed an average of 119,301 hectares annually in 2001-2008, smaller than that of Estrada (121,274 ha), Ramos (296,395 ha) and Aquino (169,063 ha). No equivalent data are available for land distributed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

12. “Information and communications technology will jumpstart our old stalling economy and make it leapfrog into the new economy.”

The business process outsourcing industry rapidly grew from 5,600 employees and $56 million in revenue in 2001 to 372,000 employees and $6.1 billion in revenue in 2008. (Neda) But in 2008 the sector still accounted for just 1.1 percent of total employment and only about 2 percent of GDP. (Ibon computations based on NSCB data)

The manufacturing sector, meanwhile, shrank to as small as that of the 1950s – 23.1 percent of GDP in 2008. (NSCB) The sector lost 51,000 jobs between January 2001 (2,885,000 jobs) and April 2009 (2,834,000). (NSO)

13. “Government is taking action to stop the increase in prices of basic necessities of workers. We are watching oil prices.”

The price of diesel rose 220 percent between 2001 (average P13.96 per liter) and 2008 (P44.31) and of gasoline by 180 percent (from P16.58 to P45.92). (Ibon monitoring)

The peso price per liter of Dubai crude has increased by an average of P0.16 per month since January 2001 – yet the pump price of diesel has increased by an average of P0.26 per month, which is excessive even if the effect of the RVAT law since November 2005 is factored in. (Ibon)

14. “Increase the number of categories of workers who need not pay taxes. ”

On average, every Filipino 15 years old and over paid the government an extra P5,059 in taxes over the last three years (2006-2008). This is equivalent to the additional P287 billion in taxes paid by Filipinos due to the imposition of RVAT in November 2005. (DOF, Ibon computations)

15. “Reduce corruption in the executive branch … investigate and prosecute corruption in high places … reduce corruption among elective officials… no one is above the law.”

The total amount of kickbacks, ill-gotten wealth and payoffs involved in just 16 major corruption cases reached P20.9 billion ($430 million). The amount remains substantial even if the interrupted NBN-ZTE and Cyber-Education deals are excluded. (Pagbabago! Research Working Group)

16. “We will enhance our relations with the United States, whose economic and military power continues to make it important as a factor in the affairs of the region and the nation.”

Since 2002, up to 500 US Special Forces personnel have been permanently deployed in Mindanao in a “forward operating base.” They participated in and supported combat operations, and built fixed facilities.

In addition, more than 40,000 US soldiers came to Albay, Basilan, Batanes, Capiz, Cavite, Cebu, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Leyte, Masbate, Palawan, Pampanga, Bataan, Sorsogon, Sulu, Tarlac, Quezon and Zamboanga for just the largest “exercises” such as the annual Balikatan. This does not include scores of other smaller exercises—there were for instance 163 exercises in 2008—and concealed operations. (Ibon monitoring)

(Ibon Foundation Inc., an independent development institution established in 1978, provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.)

Sources: Bureau of Treasury (BTr), Department of Agriculture (DA),
Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Foreign Affairs-Commission on Filipinos
Overseas (DFA-CFO), National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), National Statistics Office (NSO), National Wages and Productivity Council (NWPC), Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration (POEA), BusinessWorld Top 1,000 Corporations (BW), Forbes Asia, Center for Trade Union Human Rights (CTUHR), Karapatan and
Pagbabago! Research Working Group



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