The Manila Times - Marcos doubts SONA accuracy

28 July 2015

By Jefferson Antiporda | The Manila Times

The-Manila-Times-NetSenator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on Tuesday raised the need to verify the figures cited by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Marcos raised doubts on the accuracy of the figures paraded by Aquino in his speech, saying the numbers are different from the real situation on the ground.

He admitted that it is heartening to hear that the situation of some people who received assistance from the government had improved as illustrated in the individual “success stories” the President presented in his SONA.

“However, there is a need to determine if these individual success stories reflect an improvement in the condition of people who are similarly situated,” Marcos pointed out.

The senator cited the statistics showing an improving job situation in the Philippines, which he said is difficult to understand because over eight million Filipinos have left the country, and more are leaving to find jobs abroad.

Aquino’s claim of a low unemployment rate of 6.8 percent is also questionable and it could have been influenced by the revision of the classification of the unemployed, Marcos said.

The lawmaker also raised suspicion on the supposed record high foreign direct investments that reached $6.2 billion in 2014, saying the figure could have included “hot money” or money placed in short-term investments that are pulled out by global investors once profits have been made.

“Those kinds of details should be determined to find out how the President came to the conclusions that he spoke about yesterday, so that we can find out the real situation,” Marcos said.

He acknowledged that the administration is correct in supporting programs such as the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) for social assistance and the K-to-12 for education.

However, Marcos said the CCT program would have been less prone to leakages if the government tapped local government unit as partners instead of implementing it exclusively through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

As for the K-to-12, he said the implementation of the program needs to be improved. For example, not one classroom needed for the program has been built and not one of the 39,000 new teachers that the Department of Education said it needs has been hired.