Members of the House of Representatives, provincial governors and mayors demanded the cessation of all political rallies calling for truth and accountability. They claim these derail President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?s economic achievements that are now providing the people with a better life.
The 2006 poverty and hunger statistics issued by the National Statistical Coordination Board show a different economic picture. The ranks of 23.8 million Filipinos considered poor in 2003 have swelled to 27.6 million in three years. On the other hand, the number of hungry people considered ?food poor? also jumped from 10.8 million to 12.2 million.
The increasing numbers of poor and hungry Filipinos show that the social and economic programs of the Arroyo administration have not been effective. As long as there is no serious will on the part of the government to address the lack of access of the rural and urban poor to productive resources (like land, water, credit), then we can expect a further deterioration of the living standards of our people. This situation is aggravated by corrupt practices?in the national down to the municipal levels of government?which deprive millions of Filipinos of decent social services like education and health.
RAFFY REY HIPOLITO, advocacy officer, FoodFirst Information & Action Network (FIAN)-Philippines, firstname.lastname@example.org