May 3, 2012
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today said that increased poverty incidence in the Philippines is the strongest argument that economic prescriptions from the Asian Development Bank are not working.
“The Philippine government can build walls to cover up poverty during the ADB meeting, but the reality is that poverty is on the rise. The chronic problem shows that the economic impositions of lending agencies like the ADB and World Bank are not working for the people. Even the debt-driven, ADB and WB-funded Conditional Cash Transfer is not making a dent on the poverty incidence,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
The first quarter Social Weather Stations survey on self-rated poverty, coming out in time for the 45th ADB Governor’s meeting hosted by Manila, some 11.1 million families consider themselves poor. This is up from 9.1 million households in December last year.
Some 9.1 million families also consider themselves food-poor, a figure that is up from the 7.2 million families from the previous quarter.
The surveys showed that there was a sharp increase in self-rated poverty in Mindanao. Rural poverty also seemed in to increase while urban poverty appeared to remain the same.
“The prediction of a 5-6% GDP growth does not amount to much for the poor. The projected growth, assuming it will happen, will not likely be felt by the poor. Wages remain depressed. Land reform is a sham. Prices keep going up. Joblessness is chronic,” Reyes said.
“Even the Conditional Cash Transfer program funded through loans from the ADB and World Bank have not made a dent in poverty despite the billions of pesos allocated for the program Poverty is up especially in the provinces,” he added.
The ADB expected continuing advances in technology, globalization and market liberalization. Bayan however said that this is a recipe for worsening poverty especially in countries like the Philippines.
“Unbridled liberalization of the economy drains domestic wealth and weakens local industries in favor of foreign investors. The regime of liberalization, privatization and deregulation being pushed by the ADB have has had the most disastrous effects on the economy,” Reyes said.
“Prices have gone up, local industries are shutting down, joblessness remains high, domestic resources are being plundered and profits are shipped back to the more industrialized countries. There can be no inclusive growth under such a regime. The people do not share the optimism of Aquino’s economic managers,” he added.
Bayan will lead protests again tomorrow as the ADB meeting closes at the PICC. ###