JV Ejercito lists Aquino’s failures in ‘kontra-Sona’
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito delivered what he said was the “true state of the nation” that President Benigno Aquino III failed to mention in his State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“No matter how good [Aquino’s] Sona was, it seems many issues were not given clarity. The data and statistics mentioned do not reflect the real situation of our countrymen, especially the masses,” Ejercito said in his Filipino privilege speech at the Senate.
“I stand now to relay the voices of the ordinary citizens, those impoverished in the streets, the farmers, our countrymen still mired in poverty, and those suffering daily from the weight of living,” he said.
Despite the credit ratings upgrades and boost in infrastructure spending that sped up economic growth trumpeted by Aquino, Ejercito said the Philippines still lagged behind neighbor countries in Southeast Asia.
“In the past three years, our infrastructure spending compared to GDP did not exceed two percent,” Ejercito said.
“The low quality and lack of infrastructure in the country results in heavy traffic which is also a reason for the slow economy,” he said.
The Philippine’s unemployment rate at 7.25 percent, the highest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), was also cited by Ejercito.
In terms of foreign direct investments (FDI) the Philippines also has the lowest in the Asean region, he said.
“From 2011 to 2013, an estimated $8.4 billion in FDI’s went into the country, the lowest compared to our neighbor countries,” Ejercito said.
“The people believe that the economic gains being trumpeted are not being felt because there is no trickle-down effect,” he said. “For the people, these are just statistics and empty words of the administration meaning the growth has not been inclusive.”
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