Angelhouser | A Journal By Angelica Bautista Viloria

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Did the Philippine Economy Really Grow by 6.9%?

Business headlines yesterday stated that the Philippine economy grew by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2007. This, they say, is the best performance of the economy in the last 17 years. Did you or your family feel that growth? I didn't.

I'll probably believe all these economic growth stories when I find myself not trying too hard to stick to my grocery list so I can save a few pesos. When I go back to my usual "watching a movie in the movie house" habit instead of staying home and watching out for it on VCD since watching a movie now costs too much (P131 per head, at the least?). When I go back to dining out in new restaurants any time I please instead of saving such for special occasions.

Those are just the little things which affect me. What about the bigger picture? There are so many homeless people out there that it takes a Gawad Kalinga to help them build suitable houses. There are countless hungry Filipino children that it takes a Pondo ng Pinoy to pool our 25 centavos together to feed them a few meals. True, the Bible says that "the poor will always be with you" but can we really say that the Philippine economy is on a roll when there are so many poor people around?

The elections had a lot to do with consumption spending and money going around in the last few months. The strong peso these days is probably due to OFWs sending their relatives money for school opening.

Philippine government officials can rejoice, if they wish, given these numbers. What about you? Did you feel the growth personally? Do you have more money in your pocket today compared to say, six months ago? Do you lead a better, more comfortable life?

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