when you're single and in you're thirties you start thinking about firming up those muscles and losing that awful flabs especially if you're a beer-drinking loser like me. so i decided to get my priorities straight. killer bod for the beach or upgrading my pc or learning a new language? i chose to buy me a new body. so, now i'll just paste dodo's summary of dr. habito's presentation on the country's situation:
I would like to share with you the highlights of the presentation of
Dr. Cielito Habito, former Director-General of the National Economic
and Development Authority (NEDA) and now Professor of Economics at the
Ateneo de Manila University, during the Social Development Week forum
organized by CODE-NGO and AF, entitled "The Continuing Political Crisis
and Possible Alternatives: Ano ang Puwede?" last December 12, 2005 at the
AIM Conference Center, Makati City.
Dr. Habito entitled his presentation "Too Early to Party - Or the
Real Score on the Philippine Economy." This is very timely given the
current debate on what the strong peso and stock exchange mean for our
In his presentation, Dr. Habito said that, much to his regret, the
government's pronoucements that the economy is about to take-off is not
backed by important data. He explained that the key variables that
matter most -- prices, jobs, and incomes -- are all moving in the wrong
direction! For example, there is economic growth, but its rate is
progressively slowing down over the last 6 quarters, exports are on a dramatic
slowdown, unemployment and underemployment remain high, and the equity
and forex markets are dominated by fickle foreign funds.
He further explained that the strengthening of the stock market is
mainly due to the excess global liquidity and that we are actually just
riding the regional (Asian) wave of improving stock markets. On the
other hand, the strengthening of the Peso is mainly due to the seasonal
(Christmas) surge in remittances, the slowing down of imports and excess
global liquidity (too much money looking for somewhere to go).
Dr. Habito also pointed out that we’ve been led into a Fiscal Crisis.
For 2005, tax revenues is projected to reach about P750 billion; but
our debt service bill will reach P646 Billion [P301B (interest) + P345B
(principal)]; that is, 86% of projected revenues.
He also said that there are signs that the economic hardship is now
hitting even the middle class. For example, there has been a dramatic
drop in enrollment in private schools, with students moving to public
schools, 6,000 medical doctors are now studying nursing, clearly eyeing
migration, and thousands of our best teachers getting recruited to US
Dr. Habito then explained the effect of the continuing political
crisis on the economy. What is the lack of credible leadership doing to
us? He said that because of the crisis of credible leadership,
government decisions are compromised by the overriding concern for political
survival, substantial government resources are going to lobbying against
impeachment (past and future), the lingering uncertainty further
exacerbates slowdown in investment and job creation due to rising interest
rates, and the political impasse halts reform and diverts attention from
Dr. Habito outlined the imperatives given this situation:
Safety nets against high inflation and joblessness
Substantial increase in government revenues
Debt service side of the equation cannot be ignored; negotiated
debt relief should be explored
Essential element: credible, inspiring leadership able to win
goodwill, faith and cooperation of taxpayers and creditors
Finally, he also identified some "Simple Things We Can Do":
Buy local, buy from your neighborhood
Ask for a receipt
Obey traffic rules
Do something to help a poor family sustainably (adopt a scholar,
build a house ala Gawad Kalinga, etc.)
Tolerate no wrongdoing (big or small).
some comments on dr. habito's proposal:
- on the country's debt. i think we should pressure congress to repeal the automatic appropriations law so we can allocate our resources to social services. we should stop paying our debt for the meantime or explore debt swapping.
- increase in revenues. like another e-vat? a big NO here. what we can do is to get serious in our campaign against corruption in the bureacracy. arrest, prosecute and fry the brains of all the big-time thieves in the government and in the private sector such as those actors/tax evaders.
- buy local. everytime i go shopping i check the labels of the products. what's the difference between a malaysian-made close up with a philippine-manufactured close up? NOTHING. buy the latter and you save a filipino worker from getting laid off.
ps. this blog is best viewed with mozilla firefox. fuck you bill.