SAN Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada reminded the Aquino administration that its “economic gains” may be meaningless if it will not be able to improve the lives of Filipinos and lift millions out of poverty.

Ejercito Estrada said the 6.6-percent economic growth posted by the Philippines last year will not mean anything to Juan de la Cruz unless it translates into more jobs, higher pay, and an over-all improvement in the quality of his life.

“If the country’s economy performed ‘beyond expectations,’ why then did we have more unemployed Filipinos last year?” the young lawmaker asked.

The San Juan solon pointed out the results of the October 2012 Labor Force Survey which revealed that 2.76 million Filipinos are unemployed. The survey showed that some 120,000 additional Filipino workers joined the ranks of the unemployed last year.

The country’s unemployment rate went up despite the fact that prior to the release of the survey, the Philippines posted a 6.5 percent increase in its gross domestic product (GDP)–the sum of goods and services produced within the country’s borders–in January to September 2012.

“President Aquino and his Cabinet should also ask the 10.9 million Filipino households who considered themselves poor in an SWS survey whether the 6.6 percent economic growth in 2012 had an impact on their lives,” said Ejercito Estrada.

In a survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in January, an additional 1.4 million Filipino households rated themselves “mahirap.” The SWS poll, which was conducted on Dec. 8 to 11, indicated that 54 percent of respondents or 10.9 million Filipino households considered themselves poor. This is higher than the 47 percent or 9.5 million Filipino families recorded in August 2012.

The young lawmaker also noted that while the salary of minimum wage earners have remained the same, the prices of basic goods and services such as food and utilities rise every year.

“Our minimum wage earners practically have no respite from the continuous increase in the price of basic goods and services. So before the Aquino administration flaunts its economic gains, it must first examine whether these have really trickled down to the people.”



Press Release

February 4, 2013