Overseas Filipino workers were left reeling with incredulity at Pres. BS Aquino’s speech at the opening plenary of the 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia.
“What country was the president describing? His picture-perfect description of the Philippines’ economic state is far from reality. Mr. President, saan po kayo kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha?” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
The reality, said Martinez, is that the Philippines under Aquino is suffering with the highest unemployment and underemployment rates. Citing IBON data, he said that the country had a 10.6% unemployment rate in 2013, with 4.5 million unemployed and 7.3% underemployed, the biggest in history. He added that underemployment has reached 7.5 million in 2012, a significant increase of 349,000 from 2011 (IBON).
Martinez said that some 56 million Filipinos live on less than P100 a day, citing IBON data. “The government has not done enough to keep Filipinos from looking for better wages and salaries in other countries. He failed to mention that the jobs his government created over the years were either short-term, contractual and highly disproportional to the ever-growing labor force.”
“The only truth in his speech was when he declared that his government has been ‘investing’ greatly in its biggest asset – the Filipino people. We now have 4,884 OFWs leaving the country daily. This figure can only be attributed to the BS Aquino government’s more aggressive labor export policy that thrives on Filipinos’ desperation. Last 2013, the government deployed 2 million OFWs and professional abroad, the biggest in history since the country implemented labor export in the 1970s,” Martinez said.
He said that BS Aquino also failed to mention that apart from investing in Filipinos, his government also gets revenues from Filipinos through heavy taxation, remittances and corruption of public funds.
“BS Aquino is delusional and an outright liar living in his own sugar-coated fantasy world,” Martinez said.
The Philippines’ hosting of the World Economic Forum, Martinez said, “is but another testament to BS Aquino’s puppetry and compliance to neoliberal globalization resulting in the economic plunder of our resources and people.”
“We are now more certain than ever that BS Aquino will do all in its means to railroad and implement charter change. The WEF is the last nail in cha-cha coffin. BS Aquino is hell-bent on enforcing 100% foreign ownership and easing economic restrictions to serve the WEF’s mantra of so-called regional and international integration. At tulad ng dati, lugi na naman ang mamamayang Pilipino,” Martinez said.
He said that BS Aquino’s insinuations of a possible term extension may also be included in the cha-cha agenda. “Kung hindi lang El Nino sa Pilipinas ngayon baka tinamaan na ng kidlat si president kahapon, sa lahat ng kasinungalingan at kabalastugang sinambit niya sa speech niya.” ###