Arroyo Fails to Meet Own Targets — Study


As Arroyo prepares her state of the nation address on Monday, social analysts have given her poor marks for missing development goals set by the government itself in 2004, with only two years left until the 2010 target.

New studies by the University of the Philippines – Center for Labor Justice (UP CLJ) and the Bangkok and Manila-based policy think tank Focus on the Global South revealed
Arroyo’s slow progress towards achieving key targets on economic growth, poverty reduction, and job generation.

The Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), crafted in 2004, expressly aims to generate ten million jobs by 2010, or roughly 1.6 million jobs each year, reduce poverty incidence to below 20%, and accelerate GDP growth to 7-8%.

However, “the job creation performance of the country is dismal and even declining”, said Dr. Rene Ofreneo, former undersecretary of the Department
of Labor and Employment and professor at the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations. Ofreneo headed the research team of the UP Center for Labor Justice and Fair Trade Alliance.

Citing official data, he said that instead of 1.6 million, only 700,000 new jobs were created in 2005 or less than half (43.7 per cent) of target. In 2006, it went down to 648,000 (40.5 percent of target) and even further down to 599,000 (37.4 percent) in 2007. It is only in the deployment of OFWs that government is on track, meeting the target of one million a year.

Other key economic indicators also betray a far from solid economy. Aya Fabros, research associate of Focus on the Global South, explained that the boost of 2007 is short-lived and unsustainable, with the 7.3% growth in 2007 sliding to 5.2% in the first quarter of 2008. Worse, “the cost of living continues to go up, real incomes are dwindling, at a time when Filipinos are struggling and barely getting by, with poverty-level wages, precarious livelihood or joblessness,” she said.

Filipinos are burdened by a crushing combination of 11.4% inflation, 8% unemployment rate, and 19.8% underemployment rate. “A peso in 2000 is only worth 63 centavos today,” Fabros added.

The Focus on the Global South research Uncovering the State of the Nation: Jobs, Prices, Incomes, Poverty also noted the increasing income disparity in the country. The poorest 10% families received only 2.16% of the total growth in family incomes between 2003 to 2006, compared to 34.23% share captured by the richest 10% families.

“The poor get a smaller share of growth in an economy where distribution of assets, resources and access to income opportunities are skewed… worse… these families…feel the harshest blows of the crunch…(I)t is not only the distribution of gains that are unequal, but also the distribution of risks,” the report concludes.
The Focus and UP-CLJ/FTA studies form part of the Development Roundtable Series (DRTS), a platform for the discussion of and debate on key development issues in the country.

For more information, please contact: Aya Fabros at aya@focusweb.org or 4333387 / 09287497039, or Dr. Rene Ofreneo at reneofreneo@yahoo.com or 09178350682.

The research papers can be directly downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/uncoversona and http://tinyurl.com/reportcard. For more information on the DRTS, please visit http://www.focusweb.org/drts.(PinoyPress)

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