Youth group Anakbayan today warned Presidential race frontrunner Grace Poe against full-blown liberalization or the opening up of the economy which it says is harmful to her professed aim of promoting national industrialization and national development.
This came after Senator Poe, in a business forum in Manila on Wednesday, said she will push for the economic amendments of the 1987 Philippine constitution to allow full foreign ownership in public utilities and media. Poe, while expressing opposition to foreign ownership of Philippine land in the same forum, has said that she will also encourage more foreign presence in basic public services like education and health sectors if ever elected to the presidency.
“Three decades of opening up of the Philippine economy to foreign corporations has led to catastrophic results. Doing more of the same would only lead to more hardships to the Filipino people,” said Anakbayan National Chair Vencer Crisostomo.
He said government data shows that the share of the agricultural sector of the economy has shrunk from 21.1% of the GDP in 1996 to only 10% in 2014 while the share of the manufacturing sector has declined from 25.3% of the GDP in 1996 to 23.3% in 2014.
Crisostomo said liberalization has also led to the worse employment crisis in the Philippine history with government statistics showing that 5,021 Filipino workers leave the country for greener pastures abroad every day. This is nearly double the only 2,800 jobs created domestically in a day.
He added the much hyped economic growth under Aquino has only made the rich richer and the poor poorer, with the recorded $65.4 billion 2015 net worth of the richest 25 Filipinos now equal to the yearly earnings of the poorest 76 million Filipinos.