Mar off the mark

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Appearing in a breakfast television interview yesterday, yellow kingpin Mar Roxas said he is a reluctant senatorial candidate and that he agreed to go for another Senate run since the “core problem of the Philippines remains economic; there are still a lot of poor families.”

His battle cry was “You first knew me as Mr. Palengke. I know how prices move in the marketplace.”

“Cheap smuggled goods not only killed domestic industries but also constricted the job market as factories closed shop.

He also bravely ventured: “High inflation rate was brought about by policy failure.”

Those are words pleasing to the ear, but many would have to ask the necessary question — why didn’t he do anything about what he is blabbering about during the six years he and President Noynoy Aquino were in power?

Instead, he and Noynoy just watched as wrong government priorities led to a constant 25 percent poverty incident which was the highest in Asia.

Rampant smuggling during the term of the incompetent Noynoy contributed to brisk consumer spending but led to the demise of local industries.

Mar as Interior secretary then also had little to show in maintaining public order that is essential to assuring businesses of a stable environment.

Only during the term of President Rody Duterte did the number of poor families start to recede. It was 21.6 percent last year and the target is to pull it down to 18 percent in 2022 when Rody steps down.

The stagnant level of poverty during the term of Noynoy was branded by economists as scandalous as the rest of Asia mostly had a poverty incidence of less than 10 percent.

Average growth of the economy was at six percent during the term of Noynoy, but it was not felt by the poor.

Indonesia and even Sri Lanka, despite a recent civil war, have a poverty incidence of less than 10 percent.

Missed by the Liberal Party-run administration was a focus on the rural areas where 75 percent live below the poverty line.

During the term of the yellow opportunists, the country also had the lowest rate of investments in Asia in relation to the gross domestic product (GDP) at 20 percent.

The Philippines gets $2 billion a year in foreign investments compared to $8 billion a year in Vietnam. China has $100 billion a year average during Noynoy’s term.

For the most part of the administration of Noynoy, job creation has been sluggish with nine million Filipinos either without a job or underemployed as they don’t earn adequately from their work.

Noynoy’s economic record was remembered for what Budget Secretary Ben Diokno called as “job-shedding growth” which he said was the paradox of high growth rates and low jobs availability.

Diokno then said the job-growth paradox was mostly the result of the government’s failure to control rampant smuggling.

The Budget chief said then nine out of every 10 Filipinos did not feel the strong GDP growth that the country achieved in 2013.

“This suggests that the strong growth was narrow and shallow. It was far from being inclusive,” Diokno said.

The cheap smuggled goods not only killed domestic industries but also constricted the job market as factories closed shop.

The trend then was to use entrepreneurial effort and capital not on productive ventures but in becoming smugglers and in bribing government officials.

Aside from competing with smuggled goods, local industries were also then faced with electricity prices which are among the highest in the world and is now being addressed by attracting more and bigger investments in the power sector.

Noynoy’s term was also an era of antiquated and dilapidated infrastructure since his flagship Private-Public Partnership program failed to gather wind to sail. Pervasive corruption and red tape turned off investors from government projects.

Mar is again pathetically banking on rhetoric hoping to fool voters who, however, are now attuned to the strong-willed actions Rody has been providing.

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