sona-2011-001MANILA, Philippines – Minus the drive against corruption, the economic strategy of the Aquino administration is the same as that of its predecessor, according to a national coalition of organizations advocating people-centered sustainable development.

In a statement, the Freedom from Debt Coalition said that the so-called Aquinomics still follow the same fundamentals of the economic strategy of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. These are: 1) international competitiveness as main determinant of economic priorities; and, 2) giving the private sector the main role in the economy.  

Aquinomics is the buzzword of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s economic team, and highlights the strategy of the government to achieve its growth targets.

Ricardo Reyes FDC, president, said Aquino’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2011-2016 adopts almost hook, line and sinker the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce of the Philippines’ “seven winner industries” as the main priorities for investment and employment growth, citing international competitiveness as the basis.  

These industries are: 1) business process outsourcing (BPO), 2) agribusiness, 3) mining, 4) foreign-oriented tourism, 5) manufacturing for exports, 6) creative industries, again mainly for exports, and 7) infrastructures.  

Aquino’s PDP, according to FDC, gives more importance to gaining the confidence of corporate private sector than to address poverty and human development.

“Once again, industrial development to meet domestic needs for food, clothing, shelter, educational materials, medicines and health facilities is left to the backburner.  Agribusiness is favored while land reform remains hanging, and food security is sacrificed to producing food and other crops for the export market.  The so-called ‘winner industries’ cannot stimulate a real start to full employment. The export of labor as policy remains,” said Reyes.

“Aquinomics continues to concede to the private sector the main role in economic development, leaving to government a facilitative and regulatory role.  This will only play into the hands of big corporate monopolies which dominate the major sectors of the Philippine economy and amass huge superprofits at the expense of the labor of the working people and chances for other players, especially the medium and small scale entrepreneurs to grow.  The challenge of equity or property reform as a main driver of growth and development cannot be successfully met without a strong role for the State and the development of the social economy, like cooperatives,” said Reyes.

“Gender differences are likewise ignored in economic programs and policies.  A gender blind development plan will do nothing to lighten the burden of women and worse, create more burdens for them in a condition of gender inequality in the households, workplaces and the communities. ,” said Reyes.

“Same policies, same miseries,” said Reyes. “Aquino plans to do the same old things. Consequently, he’ll get the same old results.”

“Sadly, salimpusa pa rin ang masang Pinoy sa PDP ni Pnoy,” lamented Reyes. (30)

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