Gloria tells poor to shun “luxuries”
This is what you call adding insult to injury. You are wallowing in poverty that is not of your own making and you are told that you should not be extravagant! Wala na nga laman ang iyong tiyan at bulsa, sasabihin pa sa iyo, huwag magwaldas.
Ano ang iwawaldas ng mahihirap at nauubos na ni Gloria Arroyo at ng kanyang mga alagad and pera ng bayan?
It’s the height of insensitivity and stupidity!
President Arroyo yesterday told the poor to spend their income on basic needs instead of luxuries so that their families would have enough to eat.
Arroyo was reacting to the Feb. 24-27 Social Weather Stations (SWS) quarterly survey on hunger which showed that the degree of hunger remains at a record 19 percent since November 2006.
At the inauguration of the Col. Jesus Lapus Memorial Sports Complex in Concepcion, Tarlac, Arroyo said the issue “cannot be totally attributed to poverty and lack of opportunity but also to the spending patterns of the people.”
She said government takes reports on hunger incidence “with a sense of urgency” and wants to pinpoint specific areas where hunger is worst so that interventions can be mounted.
She said government is advancing agricultural production, broadening and speeding up the food distribution and balancing out price disparities and fluctuations.
She said rolling stores have been deployed in poor communities, food prices in the markets checked, and food transport routes from farm to market ensured. She said government’s program to entice more investments and jobs will also lower hunger incidence.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the President was merely stating a fact.
“There is a need to educate the people on the proper utilization of their meager resources,” he said.
He said that people should learn to cut down on “unnecessary expenditures” like alcohol, cigarettes and even on cell phone loads.
He added that if one fails to send their children to school, or buy milk, food or similar basic necessities, it should prompt him to start saving or “marshalling resources very carefully.”
The survey showed that the number of households that experienced hunger stayed at 3.4 million, same as in November 2006.
It showed that hunger went up in Metro Manila (from 17.7 percent in November to 20.7 percent in February), slightly rose in Luzon (from 17.7 percent to 18.3 percent) and in Mindanao (from 22.3 percent to 22.7 percent).
But it declined in the Visayas from 19 percent to 15.3 percent.
Genuine Opposition spokesman Adel Tamano said the survey is a barometer “of the true state of affairs” under Arroyo’s leadership.
“This (report) belies Malacanang’s insistence that the economy is doing well. Clearly, when the President says things have never been so good, she’s referring to her family and cronies while the majority’s lot has worsened,” Tamano said in a press conference at GO’s headquarters in Mandaluyong city.
“Despite the Palace’s blabber about how well the economy is doing, evidently such is not the case for most people in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon where hunger incidence has even worsened,” he added.
Tamano said hunger incidence has been at double digit levels since June 2004, immediately after Arroyo was proclaimed winner.
“There is no reason to doubt that a ‘Palace-friendly Senate will continue this downward trend for the country,” Tamano said.
GO senatorial candidate Francis Escudero warned the country faces the prospects of famine, with its dangerous dependence on other countries for its food supply.
“We tend to think that famine occurred only in biblical times, but we could suffer widespread hunger, thanks to an administration that puts agriculture at the bottom of its priority,” Escudero said.
He said the country has fertile farmlands and free-flowing rivers for irrigation, but the government fails to exploit these rich natural resources to ensure food security.
He said the government dutifully appropriates funds for agriculture but diverts the money into useless projects.
“Even government subsidy for fertilizers, taken largely from the sequestered Marcos wealth, was dissipated in a scam carefully laid to help administration candidates in the 2004 elections,” he said.
“If you trace the money trail, you would find that even cities had been allocated fertilizer subsidies,” he added.