Saturday, August 30, 2008

Economy of the Few, By the Few and For the Few

Years ago, we have been called as the Tiger Economy of Asia, businesses boomed, government cared about what happens to its citizens, rice were not scarce, dollar exchange rate is not as high, gasoline were not sold at almost 60 pesos per liter. What happened to our economy? Why is it that people who are rich becomes richer? Foreigners and foreign corporations become the players in the market and the economy. What happened to the Filipino First Policy we had during Carlos P. Garcia’s presidency?

I think and I can observe that in the status quo, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer and why did this become the status quo? Couldn’t it have been prevented?

Actually, the answer is yes. It could have prevented if and only if the government supported the poor and the micro businesses established. It could have been prevented if micro businesses and middle class society is not burdened by different kinds of taxes, which are not paid, by the upper class and the foreign investors.

The problem with our society is that they are taking care of the big players in the industry but they do not protect the right of the micro businesses. Just last 19 June 2008, while reading my daily newspaper, I have came across a section, which I cannot clearly remember, but the main context of the write-up was that the government and the big players in the power industry in against amending the EPIRA law.

And why are they against the amendment? They said that they are against the amendment because it will scare off investors. I believe that what they are afraid of is competition. Unmonolopolizing the market would bring in new players, new competition. That is what the big players in the industry are afraid of, COMPETITION. They are afraid that if and when new players enter the business they will not have monopoly; as such they will not be able to maintain the status quo. Monopoly scares off new players without new players the economy will be dead. Without new players, again, the rich will be richer and the poor will be poorer Рas the clich̩ goes.

Graft and corruption entered out system. Greed became the goal of every politician. Each and every one is living for himself only. Why is it that other countries pay much higher taxes than ours but they can see improvement? Denmark can be a very good example. Their salaries have 50% tax, e-vat is 24%, yet they are not complaining. Why? It is because the government pays for their children’s education until they have finished college. I, as a taxpayer would be willing to give that much to the government if I can see changes, if I can see that the Philippines is moving forward.

But then again one problem is of course the feeling of smallness of the Filipinos. Filipinos never speak out. We are always inclined towards the bahala system the Spaniards have taught us – ningas kugon – so as to speak. We, Filipinos, tend to say “Bahala na” whenever we feel that things are not turning out right. We always say that everything will always turn out right anyway.

We never realized that the more we shrug our shoulders about what’s happening, the more we Filipinos are put down. The more we shut up and don’t stand up for ourselves, the more we will be belittled.

Years ago, when people hears that we are Filipinos they think we are the best. They think we can compete with the world but what happened to that view? When you say Filipino, the first thing that comes into the mind of others is – domestic helpers. Yes, sad to say but it is true. We are the domestic helpers of other countries.

We can still make a difference I know that for fact. I am not idealistic but I just want to be in a country where everyone is regarded to as equal. Where everyone has a chance of surviving on daily without struggling hard.

Where are the Filipinos who used to be heroes? Where are the Filipinos who have great minds? Why is it that the government tends to favor the rich and disregard the poor? What has happened to our society? What can we do?

Believe that the change should start in us. Evaluate the status quo. Speak out. Encourage. Envision Philippines to be the Tiger Economy of Asia again.

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