THE WAY I SEE IT | Susan Amoroso
Did you know that the government has been borrowing more and more to contain the effects of the pandemic from 2020 to 2021? The Duterte administration intends to borrow up to P3.02 trillion by the end of this year to keep operating and finance its projects. Why? Answer: The economy has not opened up enough. Taxes and income from government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) are not enough to keep the ball rolling.
Given the amount of money this administration has at its disposable which it got from domestic and foreign borrowings, prudent spending of this borrowed money is a must. The government must not only fund its infrastructure projects but also the much needed financial support to local businesses especially the manufacturing sector. With that amount of borrowed money, a little more must be allotted for the agricultural sector to achieve national food security.
Local produce must be made available at very affordable prices to the 100 million residents of this country. That must be the goal of every administration. I remember when local food items such as rice, sugar, fresh vegetables, fruits, pork, fish, poultry products can be had in every Kadiwa Centers nationwide sold at very affordable prices within reach of the ordinary Filipino. This was during the 70s and 80s during the Marcos era.
I remember the time during the 70s how almost all Filipinos had jobs and unemployment rate was neglible. Transportation costs was not a worry. The government owned Petron and the oil cartel can not dictate astronomical oil prices at the hapless consumers. Those were the days when the minimum jeepney fare was 10 cents. I remember during my college days at the University of the Philippines in Diliman in the mid 70s when I could purchase a full meal with rice, meat and vegetables including soup at the school canteen for less than 50 centavos. Gone are those days.
I also remember when my father, the late Salmanazar Amoroso , working then at the Department of Agriculture at the time of Secretary Arturo Tanco said, “ We are so lucky our people are not so hard up as the people in Taiwan.’’ He said that in the early 70s when he visited Taiwan at the time when the Philippines was at the top of the heap of Southeast Asian nations.
It was during that time when the Philippines had the Kadiwa Centers, the Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig, the longest expressways in the country in the north and the south of Luzon, the San Juanico Bridge, considered the longest bridge in Asia at the time, the much touted world class Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Philippine International Convention Center, the Heart Center, the Kidney Center, the Lung Center, the Children’s Medical Center, the East Avenue Medical Center, the Batasang Pambansa complex, and all other government buildings that include the newly built Senate and GSIS buildings in Pasay along the reclaimed Manila Bay coastal area.
The 110 million Filipinos must be educated to buy Filipino. Buy Local is the new norm for me. Globalism must be viewed in the context of how the country protects itself from global economic imperialism of one greedy entity. Nationalist patriotism is the new norm. The Philippines must look after its own. Nobody will. If our economy is to improve and our productivity to increase , we need to produce and buy more Filipino.
We must reverse the downward national savings. National savings has declined by almost one third. National savings went down to P4.43 trillion in 2020 from P6.15 trillion of 2019. Consumers and producers dipped into their savings just to ride out the pandemic in the past year. The government alone had a dissaving of P1.01 trillion for 2020.