Thursday, 28 July 2011 11:42
In his first one-on-one interview after his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President on Tuesday defended the employment and hunger statistics in his speech that analysts have described as out of context.
In an exclusive interview aired on GMA News TV’s “State of the Nation" newscast, anchor Jessica Soho asked President Benigno Aquino III about the supposed decrease in unemployment in the Philippines amid what critics say is a rise in underemployment.
Aquino, in response, emphasized the weight of the unemployment figures he cited in his speech – 7.2 percent in April 2011 from 8 percent in the same period last year, amid the rise in the number of unemployed Filipinos after the elections.
“Kung ayaw n’yong makita, ‘di ba, sorry, ‘di ba, wala akong magagawa do’n," the President said.
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Speaking to GMA News Online on Monday, IBON Foundation research head Sonny Africa said Aquino failed to mention that the jobs created “were more than offset" by a growing labor force of 1.2 million people and an 829,000-increase in underemployment, which he said indicates an increase in the number of low-quality work opportunities.
The President also pointed out that the survey that shows his declining popularity, released by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS), is from the same firm that showed a decline in self-rated hunger in the second quarter of 2011.
“Sa akin lang, hindi ba tayo dapat mag-focus do’n? Sila na mismo ang nagsabi, four million kami noon, three million kami ngayon," Aquino said, referring to the decrease in self-rated hungry Filipinos by one million.
“Tapos, maghahanap ka pa ng babatikusin mo? Masama pa ang loob natin, nabawasan nang one million ang nagsasabing nagugutom sila?" the President added.
On Monday, however, University of the Philippines economics professor Winnie Monsod hit Aquino’s supposed selectiveness in citing statistics, particularly his reference to the second-quarter SWS survey on self-rated hunger.
Monsod noted that Aquino discredited a similar SWS survey in the first quarter of the year, which showed a 20.5-percent rise in the number of self-rated hungry Filipinos.
“All of a sudden, he is quoting the survey without reservations," Monsod said. “If he accepted that hunger went down in the second quarter, then he must accept that hunger went up in the first quarter."
Meanwhile, Soho also asked Aquino about the perception “that things aren’t moving so fast" as he progresses in his term.
“Start up pa lang naman kami," Aquino said of his administration that is now on its second year. “Hintay namang ‘pag medyo nakabuwelo-buwelo nang konti na." — ELR/VS, GMA News
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