“Economy in a State of Great Peril”

Bongbong delivers contra-SONA, says no rosy picture for RP

Contrary to the rosy picture painted by President Arroyo in her State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. said Monday the Philippine economy is in a state of great peril.

Marcos, in his contra-SONA speech, likened Arroyo’s address to a doughnut with a hole in the middle – missing an important component that makes it whole..

“What she presented Congress and the nation was a doughnut – a enticing tale about a strong economy; with a big hole in the middle,” he said.

The opposition lawmaker accused Arroyo of misleading the nation when she omitted from her speech vital indicators that point to the economy hitting the bottom.

“Let us not delude ourselves with statements that we have brushed aside the global crisis while the rest of the world battered by it. Nor should we boast of strength in the national economy when we know how precariously it hangs upon the stars aligning in our favor,” Marcos said.

According to Marcos, Arroyo conveniently omitted to report that in the first quarter this year the economy posted a 0.4 percent growth in Gross Domestic Product –a dramatic decline from the 4.6 percent growth posted last year and the 7.3 percent growth in 2007.

Marcos also said that there was no mention of the major slowdown in the nation’s trade with the world as exports contracted by 34.5 percent during the first five months of 2009 and the trend is likely to persist for the rest of the year.

Marcos also cited the report of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) that the composite leading economic indicator (LEI) –composed of 11 indicators – has now declined for the fourth quarter in a row. These indicators are money, supply, consumer price index (CPI), terms of trade index, hotel occupancy rate, tourist arrivals, number of new businesses, stock price index and electric energy consumption.

He noted that of these 11 indicators, nine were negative contributors and only the money supply and CPI were positive contributors.

“In sum therefore, we have an economy slowing down under stress. Far from the picture of strength that President painted before us, the economy was lucky to weather difficulties last year, and will be under challenge this year,” Marcos stressed.

“It is bad news for both the President and her critics because, like it or not, we all live in the same economy,” he added.

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