12 October 2009

Poverty Levels Are Still Rising

Poverty and Children
The leaders and policy-makers (if there are any) of the ruling and dominant political party, LAKAS-KAMPI, have bragged incessantly at every opportunity that the country is moving towards genuine development under the leadership of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In particular, they’ve been justifying her lavish and expensive dinners and trips abroad with promises of jobs, investment and improved standard of living. They even made speeches telling everyone of the need to continue the legacy of the President by electing her party-endorsed candidate for the 2010 presidential election, Gilbert Teodoro.

Hence, it was no surprise to see the ruling administration committing to the United Nations a couple of years ago that they will cut poverty levels by 2015. With all the resources at their disposal, it would have been a mere walk in the park if they really are serious about doing their jobs. Perhaps they would have even surpassed the levels that they have promised if they will only focus their energy on the problem.

However, as expected, that was another empty promise. It seems that these current crop of politicians are really more adept in leading their deluded constituents to false promises than actual action or deeds. They are also equally naive and ineffectual as they compete with each other for media exposure in an apparent attempt to boost their stocks for the 2010 national elections, instead of being frugal and restrained.

As proof of their incompetence, latest government data have shown that poverty rose from 30 percent of the population in 2003 to 33 percent in 2006 — or one in three Filipinos surviving on US$ 1 a day. At present, the country has a total population estimated at 90 million.

The Philippines was also lagging in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and was least likely to achieve two others goals — making primary education universal and reducing maternal deaths. Worse, more than 5 million children are out of school and 93 newborn babies and 11 mothers are dying every day while HIV and AIDS cases are on the rise.

With no apparent parallelism between what is happening and what has been promised, it has become obvious that the programs of the present administration are just means to prolong their hold on their positions as they continue to enrich themselves without selfless regards to the poor and the vulnerable. As usual, with these people it is a simple as 'don’t do as we do – do as we say'. What a bunch of hypocritical bastards these politicians are.

Maybe if some of them (or indeed ANY of them) had experienced REAL work in the REAL world and suffered the same fate as those badly affected by Typhoon 'Ondoy' last 26 September instead of being nothing but professional windbags, this country would get some coherent policies on how to combat poverty and feed the hungry.

Hopefully, after the elections in 2010, this country will be spared from having this juvenile one-upmanship with no real substance.