MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will leave behind a legacy of a weak economy and lowest job creation among administrations after Martial Law if he would not acknowledge this in his final year, a think-tank said Monday.
The Philippine economy was slowing down under the Duterte administration even before the pandemic hit, said Sonny Africa, executive director of IBON Foundation.
The President is set to deliver his last SONA later Monday.
"Tingin namin ang legacy niya ay walang kapantay na bilang ng walang trabaho sa Pilipinas...Unfortunately tuloy-tuloy na pagkalat ng virus, may 1 taon pa para iwasto pero kung 'di aaminin ang problema di tayo makakakita ng karampatang solusyon," Africa told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We think his legacy would be an unparalleled number of unemployed workers in the Philippines...Unfortunately, the virus continues to spread, we have one more year to set this right but if government won't admit the problem, we won't find the solution.)
"Bago pa man ang pandemya, bumabagal ang ekonomiya. Kulang ang kita ng mga Pilipino, kulang ang trabaho. Medyo natakpan lang ng pagtama ng pandemya."
(The economy was slowing down even before the pandemic. Filipinos earn less and there were fewer jobs. The pandemic just eclipsed it.)
Jobs created under Duterte's leadership averaged 313,000 annually versus the previous administration's average of 827,000, according to Africa.
"'Yung pinakapagkukunan ng trabaho--agrikultura, lokal na industriya, 'di binibigyan ng suporta, yung pondo ng gobyerno ginastos pa abroad para sa Build Build Build," he said.
(Job generating sectors agriculture and local industry were not supported. Government instead spent funds abroad for its Build Build Build.)
"May magagawa pa sana ang administrasyon, ang nakakalungkot sa katapusan ng kanyang termino, Build Build Build pa rin ang sagot. Hindi siya uubra lalo ngayong tumama ang pandemya."
(The administration can still do something, unfortunately, its solution is still Build Build Build. It won't work especially now that the pandemic hit.)
Government also underspent its stimulus packages Bayanihan 1 and 2, Africa said.
"Sa aming pagkuwenta, 18 milyong Pilipino ay walang ipon sa ganitong panahon. Gobyerno sana ang pumuno doon. Grabe ang pagtitipid ng pamahaalaan," he said.
(In our calculation, 18 million Filipinos have no savings during this time of need. Government could have made up for it. It was thrifty instead.)
"Maliit na masyado ang budget ng Bayanihan 1 at Bayanihan 2, di pa ginastos lahat. Tinipid pa."
(The budget of Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2 were too small and government did not even spend it all.)
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez earlier denied that the national government has been underspending during the COVID-19 pandemic after lawmakers called for an investigation into some P6 billion unspent funds.
Millions have gone jobless since March 15, 2020, the first day of the government-imposed lockdown on the National Capital Region to curb the spread of the dreaded respiratory disease. The pandemic is also expected to reverse gains on poverty reduction, with thousands of families forced to embrace the uncertain, "new normal" future.