PHNO EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE PAST WEEK
FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

EDITORIAL:  CULTURE OF POVERTY 

DEC 31 ---A RECENT survey shows that 54 percent of Filipinos—or roughly 11.4 million households—considered themselves poor in 2014. This, the Social Weather Stations informs us, is the worst record in the last eight years, matching the low point of the Arroyo administration, which President Benigno Aquino III constantly holds up as an example of a corrupt and unresponsive government, and the cause of all his inherited woes. If we are to believe the SWS report, however, we can conclude that Filipinos’ self-rated poverty actually improved in the last four years of the Arroyo administration relative to its position in 2006—and that it took the Aquino administration the same amount of time to push Filipinos back down to the 2006 levels. Just as bad, the SWS reported, the average self-rated food poverty rate for 2014 at 41 percent was worse than the 39 percent in 2013. This meant more Filipinos considered themselves food-poor this year than last. REAAD FULL EDITORIAL...

EDITORIAL: Hope over fear  

A hopeful lot we Filipinos are. According to the fourth quarter survey of the Social Weather Stations released last Friday, 93 percent of Filipino adults will greet 2015 with hope rather than fear. The survey was conducted between November 27 and December 1 this year. That’s one percentage point lower than the 94 percent who felt the same last year—and that was just after the worst typhoon on record brought death and destruction to the central Philippines. Still, this year’s numbers say a lot for a people that have suffered so much in recent times. A mix of natural and human-induced disasters marked 2014. Most of the time, natural calamities aggravated those caused by humans. It went the other way around, too. For the most part, government has given us little reason to be convinced that its treading of the so-called straight and narrow path was not just for show. We saw more instances of double standard, hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness despite evidence of incompetence, wrongdoing, and yes, bad faith. READ FULL EDITORIAL...

MORE COMMENTARIES COMING SOON


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:

EDITORIAL: Culture of poverty

MANILA, JANUARY 5, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD)  By Manila Standard Today - A RECENT survey shows that 54 percent of Filipinos—or roughly 11.4 million households—considered themselves poor in 2014. This, the Social Weather Stations informs us, is the worst record in the last eight years, matching the low point of the Arroyo administration, which President Benigno Aquino III constantly holds up as an example of a corrupt and unresponsive government, and the cause of all his inherited woes.

If we are to believe the SWS report, however, we can conclude that Filipinos’ self-rated poverty actually improved in the last four years of the Arroyo administration relative to its position in 2006—and that it took the Aquino administration the same amount of time to push Filipinos back down to the 2006 levels.

Just as bad, the SWS reported, the average self-rated food poverty rate for 2014 at 41 percent was worse than the 39 percent in 2013. This meant more Filipinos considered themselves food-poor this year than last.

At the same time, the self-rated poverty threshold, or the monthly budget poor households need for home expenses so as not to consider themselves poor, reached record highs in Metro Manila, which shot up to P20,000 in the fourth quarter, from P15,000 in the third quarter. The self-rated poverty threshold also rose in the Visayas, from P8,000 in the third quarter to P12,000 in the fourth.

The President’s spokesman tried to ward off embarrassing questions with his usual blather.

“We note the results of the survey. And we continue with our efforts to break the cycle of poverty through interventions such as the conditional cash transfer,” the spokesman said. “We hope to provide the climate where people can get out of poverty.”

Unfortunately, this “environment” includes raising rail transit fares in Metro Manila despite the dangerous deterioration in the operation of city trains. Over the last year, it also included the shameful squandering of international and domestic aid meant for victims of super typhoon Yolanda, many of whom still live in makeshift houses a year after the devastation. It has also encompassed this administration’s failure to keep in check power rates—among the highest in Asia, or even the mundane task of managing traffic in the nation’s capital so that commuters and motorists do not have to suffer long hours on the road simply to make a living.

In the administration of justice, this “environment” includes the coddling of rich and powerful convicts, and consigning poor prisoners to wretched and inhuman conditions.

We are certain the President’s spokesman meant no irony, but the truth is a harsh mirror. The ultimate irony was his brandishing of the conditional cash transfer, an ill-advised multi-billion-peso dole program that has done little to uplift the conditions of the poor while fostering among them a culture of endless mendicancy. This same program is now under fire, after the Commission on Audit found duplicate names for more than 4,000 beneficiaries that cost the government more than P46 million.

Given all these that constitute the President’s “environment,” it is no wonder that more than half the population considers itself poor.


EDITORIAL: Hope over fear  By Manila Standard Today | Dec. 30, 2014 at 12:01am

A hopeful lot we Filipinos are. According to the fourth quarter survey of the Social Weather Stations released last Friday, 93 percent of Filipino adults will greet 2015 with hope rather than fear. The survey was conducted between November 27 and December 1 this year.

That’s one percentage point lower than the 94 percent who felt the same last year—and that was just after the worst typhoon on record brought death and destruction to the central Philippines.

Still, this year’s numbers say a lot for a people that have suffered so much in recent times. A mix of natural and human-induced disasters marked 2014. Most of the time, natural calamities aggravated those caused by humans. It went the other way around, too.

For the most part, government has given us little reason to be convinced that its treading of the so-called straight and narrow path was not just for show. We saw more instances of double standard, hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness despite evidence of incompetence, wrongdoing, and yes, bad faith.

Political mudslinging began in earnest while the more urgent work in disaster rehabilitation, peace and order and public transport efficiency was relegated to the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Palace spin doctors tried to portray everything in a positive light, even paralyzing traffic situations which they said was proof of a vibrant economy.

At least, citizen vigilance was at its finest, aided by social media. The problem however is how to extend the access to information and ability to give feedback to remote regions whose concerns and opinions are equally valid and equally worthy to be heard.

Indeed there is plenty to look forward to in 2015, and Filipinos are not known for being fearful, either. In fact, we are as intrepid as much as we are resilient, braving new challenges and uncertainty for the sake of people and values that matter to us.

It’s the culture, most likely, that allows us to still see the good things despite not-so-encouraging events. The SWS in its Web site mentions a similar survey in Germany where less than half of respondents felt hopeful at the start of the year. As we know, Germany is the richest country in Europe, providing its citizens better opportunities that we here can only dream of.

So let’s take this hopefulness with us as we go along, as we avoid the trap of fatalism and passivity. After all, when we recognize that much of what lies ahead depends on what we do—or do not—today, that gives us enough confidence and power and reason for hope.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE