THIS coming May 10 million of Filipinos will marchto the precincts and vote for the person who will lead them in the next
six years. We pray that the process shall be clean and honest so that the usual post election recriminations will be much
less. Hopefully, Filipinos will be "magnanimous in victory and unbowed in defeat". May the heat of the battle and anger stay
in the past as part of nation-building experience and from hereon let's look forward to building TEAM PHILIPPINES.
For the Philippines need just not a newly elected presindent to pull it out of the deep morass
of widespread poverty, bankruptcy and deepening debt problem. The new president nedds the support of the majority to face
the titanic challenges that confront her/him. One of these challenges is to raise the national revenues to at least 20%. This
suggested solution does not come from us alone. It comes also from international experts. Let's read their pronouncements:
Asian Development bank deputy chief economist jean-Pierre Verbiest said. The percentage stood
at 10.4% last year, the lowest in Asia. "The revenue [problem] is a mix of tax evasion and inefficiency of some of the revenue
collection agencies," Mr. Verbiest told reporters at a briefing. "Whoever sleeps in Malacanang on May 11 and wakes up the
next morning needs to be someone who would take a serious stance on these issues," he added.
The Philippines has only managed budget surpluses in six of the last 30 years. Analyst Takahira
Ogawa of US rating agency Standard & Poor's said deficits caused, "a continuing dependence on external capital
to accelerate economic growth, raising the vulnerability of Philippine financial markets to adverse external developments,
and constraining macroeconomic stability."
The Philippines is now the second most active debt issuer in the region after Japan. Government
debt has soared to about $100 billion or about 120% of GDP, according to the Manila-based Asian Development Bank. Debt service
depletes funds to improve decrepit infrastructure, which stymies investors. Foreign direct invesment plunged 82% to $320 millionm
last year, Mr. Verbiest said.
The jobless rate is at 11%, a troubling indicator for a rapidly growing population and with several
active communist and Muslim separatist insurgencies. According to the World Bank more than half of Filipinos make do with
less than $2 a day.
The Philippines is kept afloat by an army of maids, seamen, nurses, bargirls and other laborers
who work abroad, boosting consumer spending by sending home eight billion dollars a year, the equivalent of 13% of GDP.
The main reason why YOU OFWs are called modern heroes by government oficials. Without your sacrifices
the Philippines like the nation of Nauru would have been bankrupt by now. But the usual help YOU have been extending cannot
last forever. However, YOU MUST IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF THE USE OF YOUR HELP! You must raise the awareness of your dependents
and loved ones on the need for them to spend and/or invest wisely and increase their productivity. Perhaps when done and adapted
as values by your families other Philippine families will follow suit and like ripples this positive values will be spread
all over your country.
As I have said over and over again, YOU OFWs MUST MAKE THE FIRST STEP specially now that you will
have a newly elected President.
On its part, UPAK will always be extending its helping hands to make your tasks easier. JUST CALL