A New Year’s wish Aquino must deliver for the sake of OFWs

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We convey our only New Year’s wish to President Aquino: Slow down on politicking and get real in running the economy.

Midterm elections will be held in 2013. Last week, we heard

P-Noy vowing to actively campaign for the administration’s senatorial candidates. P-Noy and members of his Cabinet should not preoccupy themselves with the campaign nor use government resources to ensure the victory of administration candidates pursuant to its partisan objective to control the Senate, House of Representatives and local government units.

We also note the recent suspension of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia. It is politically tainted, in fact it is a political ploy that had been employed by previous administrations against political opponents when elections drew near.

Too much politicking even as a lot of things have yet to be done to improve the economy is neither a wise nor an educated path of choice for P-Noy, a holder of a degree in economics.

For one, his administration has not performed well in local jobs generation. As indicated in the October 2012 data released by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the country’s unemployment rate stood at 6.8 percent or about 2.8 million as against the 6.4 percent in October 2011.

The NSO data are a conservative estimate; the number of unemployed and underemployed cited by Ibon, a research think-tank, is higher and shows that unemployment has reached the 10-million mark.

On a Dec. 4, 2012 statement, our organization commented on the reported third-quarter 7.1 percent Philippine GDP growth: “…certainly OFW remittances contributed to this, but how does it positively impact the lives of OFWs and their families is a good question to ponder amid good peso appreciation against the dollar, rising prices of basic goods and services.” We opined that the 7.1-percent growth would be a positive bulletin only for the 1-percent rich families; but for the 99-percent poor and middle-income families, it wouldn’t be felt.

The present administration has been duplicitous by issuing public statements that it is aiming to stop the forced migration of Filipinos, even though it is not keen on generating local jobs with decent pay and benefits as shown by its intensified  peddling of the Filipinos’ services abroad through its continuous exploration for overseas labor markets.

Since P-Noy has decided not to pursue a romance-filled love life until his term ends, we hope to see him focus on improving the economy and prioritizing the passage and implementation of laws and policies that would directly fill our poor peoples’ stomachs and thus reduce poverty. P-Noy can only do this by getting away from the US-dictated neoliberal economic policies of globalization, liberalization, privatization and deregulation. Instead, he should implement a genuine agrarian reform program and push for the nationalization of the Philippines’ basic industries for the benefit of Filipinos, not of multinational and transnational corporations.

—JOHN LEONARD MONTERONA,

regional coordinator,

Migrante-Middle East migranteme@gmail.com

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