Monday, August 22, 2005

Reacting to Tiglao's 'It's the economy, stupid'

PMS Chief Roberto D. Tiglao's article on Commentary in the Philippine Daily Inquirer tries to make an arguement that the reason why President Arroyo remains in power is because the Philippine economy is stronger than it ever was.

But then again, I could also argue that Filipinos like to hold on to things until they are completely unbearable to the point of being toxic and perhaps that's why Marcos lasted over 20 years. Perhaps the reason why Gloria is still around is because of the Filipino's sheer obstinacy.

The economy, as I have always said, is more ephemereal than real. These figures mean zilch when you are talking to a mother of 6 whose youngest son has just died of malnutrition because they can't even buy Lucky Me or when you talk to a second cousin who has just arrived from Cabuyao, Laguna complaining that the small factory he was working for had just closed shop.

The fleshless pigment of economic growth rates is something you can't use to paint a picture of the Philippines I see on the streets of Manila everyday.

And maybe, you can argue, that the Manila I see is not the whole picture either and that can be true -- but that's the picture that really matters to me.

I've been through two Presidencies when I was but a lowly government employee in Malacanang. It had been my job to pore through the thick SONA technical reports during Ramos' time and then Estrada's time to make some kind of TV production out of it. I've seen how the figures are gathered, processed, and made to appear more positive that it really is.

I even had a chance to see how employment generation figures are made and now I know that there is absolutely no means of verifying the data used -- people at the top merely assume that the data is correct.

So, don't tell me that 'It's the economy, stupid.'

It's not.

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