Palma to PNoy: Tell the truth on state of economy
MANILA -- Leaders of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) gave President Benigno Aquino III a failing grade for failing to curb poverty in the country amid claims of better-than-expected economic growth.
CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action chairman and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said he is giving Aquino a grade of three out of 10 because the so-called economic growth has not trickled down to the poor.
“Asset reform means the assets are with the people: land reform for the poor, no contractualization in companies. The gap between the poor and the rich is widening,” he told Radio Veritas.
CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma also challenged Aquino to tell the truth rather than trumpeting the 7.8-percent gross domestic product report during his state of the nation address (SONA) in July.
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) earlier reported an "impressive" 7.8% growth in the first quarter on higher consumption, manufacturing and government spending. This is faster than last year's 6.5% growth and the previous quarter's revised 7.1% expansion.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said this is even the highest so far among the major East and Southeast Asian economies, particularly Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China.
But Palma said the GDP data remains a mystery to him amid the bigger picture of hunger besetting a larger population.
“Now, the people are hungry for the truth. What is really the truth? Up to what extent is the so-called development?” Palma also told Radio Veritas.
He also criticized the businessmen for questioning the administration’s imposition of higher taxes.
“I have to talk to some businesses. They are asking if the President is doing the right thing by imposing too many taxes. In the end, it’s the businessmen who are progressing and not the people,” he said.
Palma warned Aquino that any secret his administration is keeping will always come out in the open.
He also told Aquino to disclose the “real events” that happened during the elections.
“There are still a lot of questions in the recent election. It is very crucial, how do we address the anomalies?” Palma said.