House Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza on Sunday chided the government’s economic managers for sticking to the flawed and wrong policy of the past administration by blaming the country’s economic woes on rapid population growth.
Atienza was particularly disappointed with National Economic Development Authority director-general Ernesto Pernia who attributed the slow economic growth to the failure of government to implement fully the Reproductive Health Law.
“I am very disappointed that the President’s economic planners are still in the habit of using the country’s growing population as an alibi for failure, as previous administrations have done before them,” Atienza said.
Atienza questioned Pernia’s statement that the full implementation of the RH Law could have helped speed up poverty reduction in the country.
During the presentation of the Palace-proposed P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017, Pernia said it was “a nagging puzzle” that the country obtained economic poverty incidence reduction remained slow.
Pernia insisted that growth has not been broadly shared across socioeconomic classes and regions and that inequality persisted in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
These regions, Pernia said, had even slower growth in 2010 to 2015 than in 2004 to 2009.
“Food price, particularly rice, rose and poverty line increased by almost 30 percent during the period 2009 to 2015,” Pernia said, attributing the slow growth with Filipinos increasing by 10 million during the period.
To address the poverty incidence problem, the Neda chief urged Congress and local government units to carry out the “full, rapid and sustained implementation of the RH law.”
“The economic projections for our country are all upbeat and positive. So why is it that our economic planners are giving this administration an alibi for failure by blaming the country’s growing population for the slow alleviation of poverty in the country?” Atienza said.
“Instead of implementing genuine poverty alleviation programs like employment generation and providing livelihood opportunities for the poor, government is still blaming the population for the country’s poverty. It is very ironic that the country’s growing population is again being conveniently used as an alibi for government’s failure to effectively address poverty.”
“We have always maintained that the RH Law is anti-life, anti-family and anti-poor. It is a population control measure disguised as a responsible parenthood and reproductive health law,” Atienza added.