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Gloria's claim of economic growth a pack of lies - NDF

By Gerry Baldo and Sherwin C. Olaes
The Daily Tribune
31 December 2007

The National Democratic Front (NDF) yesterday accused President Arroyo of lying to the Filipino people about her alleged role in stirring the country into joining the ranks of developed economies.

According to Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDF chief political consultant, Mrs. Arroyo has been working against national industrialization and genuine land reform.

"Gloria Arroyo, the fake president, keeps on babbling that her regime is propelling the Philippines to become a 'First World country.' She is obviously lying," Sison said in message sent to the Tribune.

He added the Arroyo government has misrepresented as "development" the "consumption-led and debt-ridden" growth of the Philippine economy.

"It 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 of the military and bureaucracy," Sison pointed out.

He said the Philippine economy has remained dependent on the production of agricultural and mineral raw materials, which are being exported at greater volume but at lower prices, adding agriculture has become lopsided as production of staple food is neglected and food products are dumped on the Philippines from abroad under the policy of trade liberalization.

Sison pointed out the lack of employment opportunities in the country has forced more than 10 percent of the population to work abroad at great social cost to the country.

He stressed the claim of the Arroyo government that the peso has been gaining strength against the US dollar was a result of the "undervaluing of the foreign exchange earnings of overseas Filipino workers by increasing 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 the Japanese yen in the carry trade."

Sison in painting a bleak picture of the Philippine economy in 2008, said the underdevelopment and chronic crisis of the Philippine economy will make it extremely vulnerable to the current financial crisis and recessionary trend being generated globally by the United States.

"The Filipino people will undergo unprecedented economic and social suffering in terms of rising unemployment, decreasing real income, soaring prices of basic goods and deteriorating social services," He said.

Sison added the US and the global demand for both Philippine raw-material exports and semi-manufactured reexports will contract because of the continuing industrial decline, reduced employment and recessionary trend in all developed countries.

"US economic growth is expected to go down to less than two percent from the usual level of around three percent. The 30 OECD countries are expected to have an average growth rate of less than 3 percent from the usual level of more than 5 percent," he said.

Sison also predicted that in 2008, the underdeveloped Philippine economy will be facing serious problems in relation to the export of raw materials and the reexport of low value-added semi-manufactures in the shrinking global market as well as in relation to the securing of new loans and selling of bonds to service the accumulated debt and finance of the importation of oil and other critically needed goods.

Meanwhile, after getting into a series of controversies this year, Malacanang yesterday expressed hope that positive things will pour on 2008.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said this New Year's wish is not only for the welfare of the Arroyo administration but for the whole Filipino nation as well.

He also expressed belief that the year 2008 will be luckier, saying the number 8 represents never-ending or perpetual progress.

"Remember, eight connotes perpetual motion. Never ending, perpetual progress. Let's think positive, may we all be good and better come the year 2008," Ermita said.

For his part, Chief Presidential Legal Adviser Sergio Apostol predicted that Mrs. Arroyo will continue to be immune to any impeachment complaint in the coming year, saying all the negative issues hurled against her have already been resolved or have died natural deaths.

Over the weekend, Apostol said the "worst is over" for Mrs. Arroyo as the government has neutralized the threat posed by the camp of opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who staged the Nov. 29 Manila Peninsula siege.

"We are very very confident that the President will never be impeached on 2008. We have the numbers in Congress and she is not doing anything wrong," Apostol said.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, for his part, said his New Year's wish is for everyone to contribute to nation-building and understand that progress will not be easily achieved.

"I wish that every Filipino does his or her share in nation-building. Change will not come in one fell swoop. It will be built on a daily basis with the sacrifices and unselfish acts of each one of us. Even simple act of self-discipline go a long way," Bunye said. Gerry Baldo and Sherwin C. Olaes

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