PH does not have a ‘darling economy,’ Hontiveros says

/ 02:03 PM July 13, 2018

A day after Malacañang said the Philippines has a “darling economy,” opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said people at the Palace are living inside a bubble as they seem to overlook the situation of poor Filipinos.

“The Philippine economy is anything but darling to poor Filipinos,” Hontiveros said in a statement.


“Malacañang people are living inside a bubble. How can they say that we have a darling economy when the inflation rate is at a 5-year high made worse by the TRAIN law, economic growth is below government’s own target and expectations, the Philippine currency is weakening, the government’s ambitious infrastructure program remains an ambition, failing to leave the starting line; and the stock market is in the bear category?” Hontiveros asked.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday downplayed Vice President Leni Robredo’s remark that President Rodrigo Duterte should focus on improving the Philippine economy rather than insult her or God.

“All economies in the world po will agree that we are a darling economy,” Roque said on Thursday.

Not a darling

Hontiveros said the economy is not a darling to Filipinos due to tax reform, skyrocketing prices of goods and basic commodities, oil and gas prices, and fare.

She also pointed out the “glaring contradictions” in Malacañang’s economic statements.

“Last June 23, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the economy is in the doldrums. This was reaffirmed by no less than Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Now, Roque is saying that there is nothing wrong with the economy. Maybe the Palace can explain to us the ‘economic miracle’ that transpired in the span of 20 days that transformed an ‘economy in the doldrums’ to a ‘darling economy.’ We are all ears,” she said.

The lawmaker urged the government to face the issues squarely and stop denying that the country’s economy is facing serious challenges.

“It’s time to move on from the denial stage and accept that there is a problem. No PR job and issuing of rosy economic statements can hide the fact that the economy is not working for many Filipinos,” she said.


“In the immediate, the President should assemble his economic managers together with the Legislature to come up with tactical and strategic policy responses to the country’s pressing economic problems,” she added.

Policy recommendations

Hontiveros said she was pushing for the following policy recommendations:

1. Suspension and review of the TRAIN law.

2. Passage of Senate Bill No. 1671, otherwise known as the “Bawas VAT” bill, lowering the existing VAT rate to 10% from the current 12%.

3. Passage of the Security of Tenure bill.

4. Additional tax exemption of (P25,000) for senior citizens residing in poor households to protect poor families with more members vulnerable to higher taxes.   /vvp

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