Aquino government claim to 7.1 percent GDP growth all hollow BS

There are a lot of things that account for changes in a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and even more that account for movements in the rate of change of that change. Certainly the the quality of the government may have something to do with where the GDP goes. But then who knows? Considering that even the brightest hot-shot economists failed to anticipate the abyss that the global economy plummeted into in 2008 and that the mightiest nation on the planet would be facing a “fiscal cliff” in 2013, haven’t we learned yet that no small finite set of people much less one person can really be credited — or blamed — for any hiccup or convulsion an entire economy undergoes?

The lesson is obviously lost in presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda who still believes that a single government and, presumably, one president can be given credit for a “surge” in an entire nation’s GDP…

[…] Lacierda attributed the high growth rate to “sustained confidence in the leadership of President Aquino and his administration, which has consistently equated good governance with good economics.”

He was of course referring to the much-celebrated 7.1 percent growth in the Philippines’ GDP over July through September of this year which reportedly put the Philippines second only to China in the list of fastest-growing economies in the world over that period.

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The Philippines’ third-quarter growth rate–just behind China’s 7.4% rise–made it the best performer in Southeast Asia, where economic performances during the period ranged from a 6.17% expansion in Indonesia to a 5.9% contraction in Singapore.

The country’s services sector, which accounts for half of gross domestic product, expanded 7.0% from a year earlier, while construction and manufacturing growth pushed industry up 8.1%. Agriculture, which accounts for a fifth of GDP and employs four out of 10 Filipinos, rose 4.1%.

The Wall Street Journal report also highlights that this result underscores “a shift toward domestic demand and away from a reliance on exports to keep the economy ticking over,” which of course is good as such an outcome shields the economy from the weakness of the overall global economy, particularly that of the United States and Europe. However, that report fails to mention that up to 12% of the value of the Philippine economy is accounted for by the remittances of hundreds of thousands of Filipino overseas foreign workers (OFWs) and a vast expat community residing in North America, Western Europe, and Japan. Considering that OFWs can arguably be considered a form of export — human export — we could reasonably conclude that, contrary to that report, the Philippines’ reliance on exports remains largely the same

This also puts the Journal‘s assertion that the Philippines is “one of the most resilient economies in Asia” to question when we consider that the country’s aspirational peers in the region — Malaysia and Thailand — both enjoy very negligible dependence on the remittances of an overseas workforce to buttress their economies.

If the bright boys of the Journal can get it so wrong about the Philippines, what more the famously-clueless presidential spokesperson?

Indeed, back in early 2011, Lacierda also made a similar albeit even more daft assertion when he claimed — just four months into the term of President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III — that an improvement in the Philippines’ ranking in the global corruption index reported by Transparency International that time “somehow reflects the Aquino administration’s determination to promote good governance.”

You gotta wonder: perhaps all the President’s men just sit around their offices waiting to pounce on and lay claim to the next positive statistic to come along. Then again, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Perhaps the Philippine economy is best left alone. After all, as I have for so long maintained:

Great nations were not built on good intentions. They were built on business sense. Real change in Pinoy society will never be achieved through the “sacrifice” of altruistic “heroes”. True change will be driven by people who find no shame in expecting a buck for their trouble.

For whatever we gain in our GDP, perhaps we have more to thank our demonised “greedy” businessmen for than our “prayerful” politicians.

13 Replies to “Aquino government claim to 7.1 percent GDP growth all hollow BS”

  1. Now if he could just clear the capital of its squalor, its filth, its crime wave, then it would be more convincing for this country’s citizens who BTW just ain’t feeling it.
    Otherwise, this is all a cruel joke.

  2. I heard about that increased GDP growth during the PGMA administration, was it felt by the common Juan then as it is now? No.

    Why not aim for the empowerment of the our people. Let that economic growth be felt across the board.

    While our OFWs provide the lifeline for the PH economy, OFW families suffer and consumerism benefits only the rich. Who wants to be an OFW all their lives? Won’t it better if we transform all our OFWs into entrepreneurs instead?

    But how can small and micro businesses flourish when red tape, “SOP” and taxation siphon the hopes of would be entrepreneurs?

    1. That’s why this “GDP growth” announcement is hollow. The majority of Filipinos could not feel this growth trickle down to them. It was never felt during Arroyo’s term, it’s not being felt under BS Aquino’s term.

  3. Malacañang’s propaganda is misleading and potentially dangerous. It obscures the fact that if foreign companies, who make up the bulk of the Business Process Outsourcing sector, were to find a cheaper venue for their operations the Philippines would lose up to 60% of its GDP. That creates another form of destabilization in our society, one born of extreme poverty.

    This is not a remote possibility. More and more mainland Chinese are learning English as a second language. A report earlier this year by CNN showcased Chinese schoolchildren who spoke fluent English with an American accent. Close your eyes and it sounds like you are talking to someone from California. With a massive workforce and support from the national government, the Chinese are fully capable of replacing India and the Philippines as the preferred contractor for BPO services in this region.

    The Wall Street Journal report should highlight areas where the Philippines is vulnerable. Namely, that we are still highly dependent on exporting our human/intellectual resources. The Philippines needs to address the disparity between the BPO service industry and the other sectors, with the goal of developing a broader economic base. This will ensure that the Philippines will not be completely at the mercy of shifting business requirements abroad.

    That is what the Aquino administration should be concerned with, not the brief rise in popularity the president might receive in the short term.

  4. GDP per capita was highest so far at $5,000 in 2006. It went down to 4,100 in 2011. They mention GDP, but forget to mention GDP per capita, which is is supposed to reflect purchasing power, and is supposed to be more accurate in measuring how people are doing. But there are probably other figures one could use to measure how the country is really doing. Perhaps the 7.1% is merely a recomputed figure, while the real GDP is something else. I hear the real figure is a 1.5% recession.

  5. The US Fiscal Cliff of 2013 will have a devastating domino effect to global economy. After all, the primary consumer created in Asia is US.

    After all, the Aftershock will come . . .

    1. “The US Fiscal Cliff of 2013 will have a devastating domino effect to global economy. After all, the primary consumer created in Asia is US.”

      This is just hype. The US will “kick the can” down the road again. Watch for a “compromise”.

      As for this silly GDP figure: 70% of the Philippine economy is consumption fueled by OFW remittances. After that you get “call centers” and myriad other low skill, low wage, going-nowhere jobs. The politicians can praise themselves but we all know the “real economy” has no chance of advancing the majority of Filipinos to a higher standard of living. The country continues to only be a source of unskilled, low-tech labor.

  6. You can just put figures there; and claim, it is the right figure. However, what you see around you do not coincide with the claimed figures. So, we know it is a False Asia survey figure…

  7. even with the recession etc a survey today confirms 10% of all people in england are millionairres ( 60 million pesos local) based on net assets.
    free markets have their faults but drive innovation, progress and prosperity for a greater number, rather than a system based on oligarchs and serfs.
    thankfully i am in the english 10%, not the filipino 99%.

  8. These were just nonsense statistics, i don’t know how philippines acquired this statistics when the truth is it is still dependent on OFW..most families who spend and invest, most of them have family working abroad..another thing is that we should not be compare to thailand or malysia or other neigboring countries cause we are just consumers, we never produce substantial export abroad except laborers.,..government should think of creating job first and uplift the lives of majority rather than boasting about statistics..!!

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