When President Arroyo, in her State of the Nation address, said that government has responded to the rice price problem by making available commercial rice that costs P32 a kilo, she didn’t say when the price fluctuated to that level and how long it stayed there.
Data from the National Food Authority show that the retail price of commercial rice stayed at P32 per kilo only for one month, in April 2008. As of July, the price climbed to a high of P39.
This is not an isolated case. We went over some of the statistics President Arroyo used in her SONA and, in a number of cases, she missed out on the context.
On education, the president said that funds for college scholarships as well as private high school scholarship have “quadrupled."
Declining funds for education
Total education expenditure has generally been on the upward trend since the Aquino administration in the late 1980s. But real per capita spending or the amount spent by government per pupil every year has been falling at an average rate of 2.4 percent per year from 2001 to 2007.
There have been some improvements in performance in national examinations, but participation rates—or the proportion of school-aged children who are actually attending school—are going down.
Participation rates had dropped by almost 14 percentage points from 96.95 in school year 1999 to 2000 to 83.22 percent last school year (2006-2007).
From conviction rate to energy
Our research shows that the president committed similar lapses.
FACTS and CONTEXT
The Ombudsman’s conviction rate has increased 500 percent.
Conviction rate through the years:
2003 – 6 percent
2004 – 14 percent
Jan-November 2005 (entry of Merceditas Gutierrez) – 33 percent
2006 – 40 percent
2007 (1st quarter) – 77 percent
2008 (1st quarter) – 14 percent
Government agencies are reducing their energy and fuel bills by 10 percent, emulating Texas Instruments and PSE which did it last year.
Administrative Order 103, which mandated the reduction of fuel and electric consumption by 10 percent in government agencies, was issued four years ago.
AO 126 reiterated this in 2005.
Employers have funded the two increases in SSS benefits since 2005.
The 10 percent increase in SSS benefits in 2006 and a similar development in retirement benefits in 2007 are attributed to improved collections and bigger investments marshaled by former SSS administrator Corazon de la Paz, who recently resigned due to political reasons.
Since 2001, new irrigation systems for 146,000 hectares, including Malmar in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, Lower Agusan, Casecnan and Aulo in Nueva Ecija, Abulog-Apayao in Cagayan and Apayao, Addalam in Quirino, Isabela, among others, and the restoration of old systems on another 980,000 hectares have increased our nation’s irrigated land to a historic 1.5 million hectares.
1.5 million hectares is 32 percent of the potential irrigable land in the Philippines, which covers 4.66 million hectares.
We import 10 percent of the rice we consume.
The Philippines’ rice imports in 2007 was 1.7 million metric tons, 14 percent of the annual rice requirement of 12, 081, 500 metric tons. The Philippines is the world’s biggest rice importer (46 percent sourced from Vietnam), eclipsing Cuba with 10 percent, Iraq with 4 percent, and Indonesia with 2 percent.
We have allocated more than P3 billion – the largest anti-graft fund in our history – for real evidence gathering and vigorous prosecution.
The Office of the Ombudsman has less than one percent of the national budget pie or a budget of P991 million, as of 2008.
We are increasing energy self-sufficiency-56 percent, the highest in our history.
DOE data shows that the country is 57. 2 energy efficient in 2007, but is still largely oil-dependent. Oil took 31.8 percent of the energy mix, while geothermal energy has 21.5 percent .
-with report from Lei Chavez