Economic growth and the Napoles brouhaha

economyDespite the Napoles brouhaha engulfing the nation, the balm that seems to innervate the Filipinos to resiliency and to continue looking at the positive side of things is the news that the Philippine economy has expanded 7.5 percent in the April-June quarter.

This has been attributed to an increase in government spending and growth in consumer spending.

”We are in a better position than many of the emerging economies,” Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.

His comments come as the Philippines — like several emerging markets around the world — sees huge outflows of cash that had been pumped into the economy over the past year as the Fed kept interest rates ultra-low.

“While other economies that were growing at a fast rate are now decelerating due to a global slowdown, the Philippine economy has shown an ability to withstand external shocks,” Balisacan added.

This was supported by Emilio Neri, corporate economist of Bank of the Philippine Islands, one of the country’s top lenders, who said that “Manila has avoided the worst because it had not been to dependent on foreign funds and did not borrow too much abroad at the height of the US Fed’s easy money policy.

While I understand that the economic growth and the Napoles brouhaha are two different subjects, still one cannot help but associate the two, for if government money in the form of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) were only given to the lawful beneficiaries, as was intended to be, it could have produced more goods and services, which in turn could have earned the poor people more money to improve their quality of life and, thus, contribute in consumer spending.

Thus, not a meager amount trickled upon the table of the poor to make it three square meals a day or to buy medicine for the sick or to replace the leaky roof or to have a new sandal. Alas, it went in torrents to the deep pockets and bank accounts of the unscrupulous individuals.

What happened is that the scandalous amount of money coming from the pork barrel of some senators and congressmen was not used productively for economic gain, but was rather diverted deceptively to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) for personal and selfish gain through a cunning scammer, Janet Lim-Napoles, who is at present kept in custody as a high-risk prisoner.

It goes without saying that while we owe it to the financial/fiscal managers for improving the image and economy of the country to a respectable level and making us proud, on the other hand we also condemn in the strongest terms possible the greedy and corrupt practices of some of our lawmakers/politicians who have sold their souls and allied themselves with the devil in betraying the trust and confidence the people have given them in their role as public servants.

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