By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today
While the Aquino administration has been trumpeting the “remarkable” growth of the economy, the benefits are hardly felt by Filipinos and there has been no significant improvements in the poverty rate, literacy rate or mortality rate, vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday.
“You cannot add jobs if the economy is not growing. Now we hear that we are growing at a remarkable rate, but it is not felt by ordinary people. It is felt by big corporations, it is felt by rich people,” Marcos said at the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Hotel.
“There is a very serious failure in the policies for the distribution of wealth,” the 58-year-old senator said, wishing that he is given the chance to head the Department of Labor and Employment if he wins in next year’s elections.
“I believe that without changing any policies, without passing any new laws, we can improve the performance of the DoLE when it comes to protecting our workers, preparing our workforce and in protecting and supporting our [overseas Filipino workers],” Marcos said.
Marcos backed an end to the widespread practice of contractualization, adding that the government should rethink policies that only provide band-aid solutions instead of developing infrastructure that will create real quality jobs.
“We have probably arrived at a point of diminishing returns,” he said, referring to the government dole that the Aquino administration is brandishing as its centerpiece social reform program.
“Maybe that money can be used for schools, for hospitals, for roads, for bridges, for power plants, for the improvement of the Internet, a new airport, more ports all of these things are doable,” Marcos said.
Marcos said the money spend for the dole could be better spent on basic infrastructures that will generate more jobs and spread the benefits of economic growth that will be felt by the poor.
To create more jobs, Marcos also said the government should likewise provide easier credit facilities to small and medium-sized enterprises which is one of the main drivers of the country’s economic growth. He noted that around 90 percent of our work force is in the private sector.
Marcos suggested that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority should redirect their courses whereby our workers will be able to compete with their counterparts in the forthcoming economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations integration.
Marcos said his proposals whoever is elected president, but he emphasized that he will vote for his running mate Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago for president in 2016.
Marcos has been linked with various Presidential contenders, including Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Jejomar Binay. Recently, former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said he will run for President if Sen. Grace Poe and Binay were disqualified and that he wants Marcos as his Vice President.
But Marcos squelched speculations his vote will go to Duterte because, like the Davao mayor, he is pushing to instill discipline through the strict implementation of the laws.
“Of course not, I will vote for my President; Sen. Miriam is my President,” Marcos emphasized although he and Santiago agreed only on a “loose coalition.”
Meanwhile, Marcos also said that while there is still no hard data to show the exact correlation of social media and voting preferences Santiago’s critics should not underestimate the support she is getting from the netizens.
“If you look at the demographic of those most active in social media, it is precisely the demographic of the largest sector in our country, the young people,” Marcos explained.
He said the youth sector, specifically those aged between 16-35 years old, constitutes 44.4 percent of the country’s electorate.
“I would venture to say that all of them are on social media in one form or another,” Marcos emphasized.