GMA Optimistic on 2008, Sison Says Otherwise

Shortly before New Year, President Gloria Macapagal-Arrroyo told journalists here, she was optimistic that 2008 would usher in hope, optimism and renewed faith for humankind, repeating a line from a Malacañang press statement.

BY LYN V. RAMO
Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 47, January 6-12, 2008

BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) – Shortly before New Year, President Gloria Macapagal-Arrroyo told journalists here, she was optimistic that 2008 would usher in hope, optimism and renewed faith for humankind, repeating a line from a Malacañang press statement.

“I am happy that 91 percent of Filipinos are entering the New Year with optimism,” Arroyo said referring to a survey result, when asked of her New Year message. She added the economy is improving, and the stock market is in boom.

As this developed, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), however, slammed GMA for lying about the Philippine economic situation as she claims to propel the country to First-World status.

In a statement sent to the press, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDFP chief political consultant, said GMA has worked against the line of national industrialization and genuine land reform and has aggravated and deepened the agrarian, pre-industrial and semi-feudal character of the Philippine economy.

Worsened 3rd world situation

“She has worsened the backward and impoverished third-world conditions of the Philippines,” Sison said.

According to the NDFP release, “The US and other foreign monopoly capitalists have collaborated with such local exploiters as the big compradors, landlords and the corrupt bureaucrats represented by Arroyo to denationalize the economy and prevent its industrial development through the so-called liberalization of trade and investments, the privatization of public assets and anti-social deregulation at the expense of the working people, women, children and the environment.”

Sison said the Arroyo regime has misrepresented as “development” the “consumption-led and debt-ridden growth of the economy,” adding that “the government has used domestic and foreign borrowing to finance and abet the growing trade and budgetary deficits and to conjure the false illusion of economic growth.”

“It wastes public funds through overpriced and graft-ridden infrastructure projects and the purely parasitic expenditures for the military and bureaucracy,” Sison said of GMA’s administration.

Faking the peso value

On the Philippine economy, Sison also noted that the GMA administration has “deliberately raised  the value of the peso by grabbing and undervaluing the foreign exchange earnings of the overseas contract workers; by increasing the foreign debt  through program and project loans; and the sale of bonds in the commercial market and by attracting portfolio investments, structured dollar loans and Japanese yen in the carry trade.”

“The low value-added semi-manufacturing for re-export provides little net income because of transfer pricing and the heavy amount of imported components,” Sison said. “The large-scale export of women and men (now more than 10 per cent of the population) as overseas contract workers is the result of the  worsening underdevelopment and lack of job opportunities in the Philippines. It has become the biggest source of foreign exchange income although at great social cost to the country.”

“The national debt keeps on increasing because there is no real development base for reducing the trade and budget deficits,” Sison said. “The attempt of the regime to increase state revenues has dismally failed because of the underdeveloped, bankrupt  and depressed condition of the real economy, the policy of trade liberalization and the unbridled corruption that allows tax evasion and raids on the treasury.”

Sison said that “to cover or reduce the revenue shortfalls, the Arroyo government has been auctioning off state assets to foreign vultures in combination with local vultures who are cronies and close relatives of the Arroyo couple.”

Gift-giving near The Mansion despite journalist killings

Arroyo, who did not talk much in front of the press during her year-end vacation, pitched in during the New Year Media Countdown at the Philippine Information Agency premises, here, where she donated three more major raffle prizes, which included two TV sets and a refrigerator, to the New Year raffle reportedly sponsored by a Pampanga mayor.

The Baguio gift-giving with members of the fourth estate followed after Arroyo also reportedly had a Christmas party with Pampanga-based media. This came after an alleged distribution of cash gifts to legislators and local government officials in Malacañang deemed to woo lawmakers last year.

Last year, Baguio-based media were turned off when Arroyo did not show up in a similar activity in the same venue at the PIA (Philippine Information Agency)-Dap-ay, a replica of a traditional place for dialog in the Cordillera.

Earlier last week, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippine (NUJP) here, urged the GMA administration to act on the killing of journalists as a Davao broadcaster, Ferdinand Lintuan, was shot dead on December 24.  He was the 91st Filipino journalist killed since 1986, the 54th since GMA took to power and the 5th killed this year.

The Arroyos arrived Dec. 29 and left for Malacañang Jan. 3. Baguio City has been the First Couple’s destination during summer and year-end vacations in the past three years.  Northern Dispatch / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)

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