By Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon
MANILA - Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr. said on Tuesday he would verify the figures and statistics cited by President Benigno Aquino III in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) to see if they accurately reflect the situation in the country.
"The figures and statistics that we heard were surprising, because they seem to diverge from what we are seeing on the ground. That's why as soon as we get back to work, we will determine the basis of those numbers," Marcos said in an interview.
Marcos said it is good to hear that the condition of some people who received assistance from the government had improved, as illustrated in the individual "success stories" that the President cited in his SONA.
However, Marcos said, there is a need to determine if these individual success stories accurately reflect an improvement in the condition of other people who are similarly situated.
"For example, we were given statistics to portray an improving job situation in the country. It's hard to understand that, because over eight million Filipinos have left the country, and more are still leaving to look for work abroad," Marcos said.
He added that the President's claim of lower unemployment rate seems to be influenced by the revision of the classification of the unemployed.
Likewise, Marcos suspected that the supposed record high of foreign direct investments in the country that reached $6.2 billion in 2014 might have included "hot money", or money placed in short-term investments that are pulled out by global investors once profits have been made.
"The veracity of those details should be ascertained to determine how the President came to the conclusions that he unraveled yesterday, so that we can find out the real situation," he said.
Despite this, Marcos acknowledged that the administration is correct in supporting programs such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) for social assistance and the K-to-12 program for basic education.
However, Marcos said the CCT program would have been less prone to leakages if the administration utilized local government units as partners, instead of implementing it exclusively through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
As for K-to-12, Marcos said the implementation needs to be improved. "For example, not one classroom needed for the K-to-12 has yet to be built. Not one of the 39,000 new teachers that DepED (Department of Education) said they need has yet to be hired," Marcos noted.
He said that, while these programs are laudable, it is not yet clear if these would achieve the expected results.
Marcos also said that blaming the previous administration for some of the country's continuing ills somehow undermined the credibility of the SONA.
"Of course, we should not forget the past, but a leader should look more toward the future, to look at what needs to be done to provide a better tomorrow for our people," he said.