Group sees little economic gains as May elections near

Louise Maureen Simeon – The Philippine Star

January 3, 2022 | 12:00am


MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration may not be able to push for significant economic strides in the remainder of its term as the upcoming national elections is just five months away.

Research and advocacy group IBON Foundation said the new year is appearing to be another challenging year for the economy yet again.

“Little improvement can be expected in the last few months of the administration’s term when it will be most of all concerned with navigating conflicting political ambitions in the May 2022 elections,” IBON said.

“The short-sighted drive for power will, once again, trump the long fight against poverty and underdevelopment,” it said.

The group maintained that another COVID surge is likely at the start of 2022 which, in turn, will just add to further uncertainty about economic recovery.

COVID cases are on the rise again, hitting over nearly 4,000 amid the Omicron variant after dipping to a low of 200 in the past weeks.

This prompted the government to revert back Metro Manila to Alert Level 3 until Jan. 15.

IBON also argued that the Duterte administration has left ordinary people behind, evident in high poverty and unemployment rates for the whole of 2021.

Some 26.1 million Filipinos were poor in the first half of 2021 while unemployment in the country remains to be the worst in the region.

“These are huge numbers of families with little capacity to deal with economic shocks or calamities. It’s interesting how they might react to administration propaganda of a strong and early recovery,” IBON said.

“For the economic managers, managing the economy is really about making big business prosper most of all. It’s unfortunately not about doing everything to improve people’s lives or alleviate their distress,” it said.

IBON also slammed the continued underinvestment in public health measures which should have been ramped up as the economy reopened.

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