Arroyo’s Legacy: More poor Filipinos

It took the nine years of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term as President, for one of her advisers to admit a glaring and irrefutable fact: Filipinos are poorer now than even before GMA took office.

Arroyo’s economic adviser, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said:

My biggest frustration as a presidential adviser is that 34 quarters of uninterrupted expansion in the past nine years did little to reduce poverty and the number of poor people.

All those figures touted by the Arroyo administration as “positive” economic figures are nothing but illusions as Salceda added to say:

these rosy figures cannot hide the fact that there are more poor people now than when the President started her term,

Despite posting “historical GDP growth” in history, the ones who benefited from all these are the wealthy business elite. On the other hand, more and more Filipino families sank into poverty.

Presidential candidates are crowing the same old mantra, that corruption is the number one problem of our country, rarely will you hear them say something that is based on real, hard facts: while it’s true that government officials like themselves are fattening their pockets through corruption, businesses are raking in profits by the billions. And at the end of the day, by looking closer at who are the owners and shareholders of these businesses, you’d find the 90% of the politicians running for the 2010 elections from Presidential candidates, to Senators to Representatives to the Lower House, even Governors.

It all points to one undeniable truth, the elite do the same thing, make profits in two different, yet interlinked ways, one is by becoming a government official and second, is by using the government to favor your business interests.

The scandals that dogged the Arroyo administration and her family are but just indicators that confirm what I’ve said before. While JDVIII’s sudden transformation from businessman to a crusader against corruption is a confirmation that for the country’s ruling business class, internal strife could lead to messy and ugly affairs.

All this unfolds like the selfish and greedy bickering between the gods and goddesses of the ancient world, while the ordinary folk suffer and continue to live in destitute.

Such is the enormous task of the next Chief Executive. Looking at what has happened and who’s running for the highest office in the land, I cannot help but get more gloomy as nothing really substantial separates them from the Arroyo, borne of the ruling elite or at present an entrenched member thereof, with only their sights fixed on corruption, among themselves, as the bane to the progress of the Filipinos, when at the root of it all is that it’s the same old economic policies they are carrying and actually proposing to be implemented should they win the mandate of the electorate. Truly, is there still hope?

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