Aquino Regime’s Accomplishments: RH, Welfare Funds on Steroids, Higher Debt, More Taxes, Blame-Arroyo
First, they passed the expanded “sin tax” law that will fund the President’s universal healthcare program, reproductive health care measures and other welfare goods that could boost his popularity ratings and image. Then only a few days after Christmas, the chain-smoking, welfare statist CEO signed the controversial RH bill into law.
The new welfare program purportedly aims to provide universal access to RH care services and information. The law will provide its beneficiaries with “universal access to medically safe, non-abortifacient, effective, legal, affordable and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies which do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”
The tax-collecting Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) also made its presence felt during the past week, as media reports reveal that the administration supports the plan to tax online traders/sellers. A Malacanang official however clarified they’re only after “big” online retailers and not those who sell second-hand items on a part time basis.
As I stated in a previous blog, more welfare requires more government revenue. The Congress and the executive branch may still want to pass tons of welfare measures and policies, but they don’t have the magical/supernatural capability at all to cheat reality. That is, they can’t reverse the law of cause and effect. Some of the effects of excessive, unsustainable welfare programs include more taxes and higher tax rates, more debt, more regulations and a more empowered government to fulfill its political goals.
A very recent report shows that from January to November last year (2012), the government registered a net borrowing of P477 billion. That’s five times the P99.7 billion made in the same period last year, according to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr). That means that the current administration borrowed more at a faster rate, while its payments declined.
From this source:
In the 11-month period, the government borrowed P852.7 billion—up by 70 percent year-on-year from P501.5 billion.
At the same time, the government settled P375.7 billion in obligations, which was 7 percent less than the P401.8 billion paid in the same period last year.
Treasury data showed that the issuance of P367.8 billion in retail treasury bonds, P66 billion in global bonds, and P391.1 billion in regular domestic bonds, accounted for the bulk of new government debt this year.
If you supported or fought for the RH bill, the Conditional Cash Transfer program and the universal healthcare program, then you don’t have a right at all to complain. By simply supporting these welfare programs, that means you have given the government more power to contract more foreign debt in your name.
Where will the government get the money to pay for your RH services, CCT doles, etc.? The money has to come from
As stated above, the government had to expand the sin tax law and to run after online sellers to collect more taxes. More services means more the government needs to collect more taxes. It’s as simple as that.
On the other hand, the President continues to blame the past administration for its shortcomings. In his message to his constituents for the year 2013, the President said:
“Ang minana natin mula sa ating sinundan: 66,800 na kakulangan sa silid aralan. Ang pamana ng tuwid na landas sa mga kabataan: sapat na classroom, sapat na mesa’t upuan, sapat na aklat, para sa kanilang mas mayamang kinabukasan.
“Matagal rin po tayong binansagang “Sick Man of Asia.” Subalit dahil sa pambihirang arangkada ng ating ekonomiya, sunud-sunod ang mga namumuhunan sa ating bansa. At mukhang magpapatuloy ang ganitong kompiyansa ng mundo sa atin: ang 7.1 percent na pag-angat ng GDP nitong 3rd quarter, ay higit sa inaasahang target ng mga dalubhasa, at siyang pinakamataas sa buong Timog Silangang Asya.”
The President has already spent at least half of his term since he assumed the presidency in 2010, who will he blame next? Let’s just stop this blame game, shall we? The buck ought to stop somewhere in the Malacanang palace.
However, I think what’s obvious is President’s Aquino’s programs and policies are no different from his predecessor. If former president and now congresswoman Gloria M. Arroyo contracted huge debt amounting to over a trillion peso to make up for weak tax collections and to finance her welfare programs, the current administration also does the same by borrowing more money at a faster rate.
They’re somehow equally guilty. But what makes President Aquino guiltier is his refusal to own up to his mistakes and start acting like a real man.
Now where will the collected and borrowed money go?
Reports reveal that in spite of the RH law, the government will be spending over P21 billion for RH-related program this year.
According to anti-RH bill Sen. Tito Sotto, Of the P56.8 billion proposed budget of the Department of Health, a total of P21.7 billion was allocated for RH-related programs, including the P13.5 billion for health facilities enhancement Programs.
“Given these items that I have mentioned, which are all related to the provisions of the bill, it seems to me that the RH bill is already being implemented by the DOH,” Sotto said, adding “The best argument against the RH bill is the Department of Health. Because they are already doing this. They have the budget for it, they are doing it.”
Sotto also revealed that the P2.5 billion budget will be used to fund at least 30 items related to the RH law.
Among them are the P365.719 million funding for Support of Operation of Community Health Team; P245 million for Family Planning Commodities, Pills; P170.4 million for I.U.D.; P91.2 million for Injectables; P31.1 million for Natural Family Planning Bundle Packs; and P11. 336 million for Bilateral Tubal Ligation Kits
The other items are as follows:
- P3.5 million for Adolescent Health and Development Program Integration into Curriculum (private and public schools)
- P100,000 for Updating of National Family Planning Police
- P4 million for Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey
- P1.4 million for National Assessment of Commodities and Supplies for Term and Pre-Term Newborns in Birthing Facilities
- P2.750 million for Research on Men’s Health and their Involvement in Reproductive Health
- P1.5 million for Research on Men’s Health and Neonatal Data Mobility and Mortality
- P1.7 million for National Adolescent Awareness Campaign
- P10 million for Airing of Family Planning and Maternal Newborn Child Health (MNCH) and Infomercials
- P1.5 million for High Performer CHD and LGU on Family Planning
- P1.620 million for MNCHN Essential Intrapartum and Newborn care, Advocacy Partners’ Forum
- P2.2 million Training for HS Peer Educators on Adolescent and Youth Health Program
- P2.2 million for Competency Training of Rural Health Units Staff AYPH
- P60,000 for Dissemination Forum on the Results of Study on the Tolerability and Safety of Implanon
- P1.080 million for Facilitators Training Course on CPG for Common Causes for Neonatal and Morbidity
- P720,000 for Facilitators Training Course on Neonatal Death Review
- P1.4 million for Scaling up Essential Intrapartum and Newborn Care Inverting Facilities
- P1.296 million for Consultative Planning Workshop on BEmONC/CEmONC Area Based
- P9.1 million for Iodine for Pregnant Mothers
- P7.8 million for Iodine for Lactating Mothers
- P29.250 million for Tetanus Containing Vaccine
- P364, 5000 for Pregnancy Test Kit
- P3 million for Reproduction of Family Planning Materials
- P500,000 for No Scalpel Vasectomy
- P7 million for Pelvic Models
Meanwhile when it comes to this administrations notable accomplishments, a Malacanang statement, penned by Secretary Edwin Lacienda, states: “The many achievements of the Aquino administration in 2012 should put those doubts to rest. At home and around the world, the Philippines has become recognized as a bastion of stability and good governance. Through hard work, deft decision-making, and intense political will, the President has laid down the foundations of justice and inclusive growth.”
The President’s other achievements are the following:
- “All out justice: “[T]he MILF and GRP signed a historic Framework Agreement that sets the stage for a final, enduring peace in Mindanao.”
- Impeachment of former Justice Renato Corona: “This heralded the arrival of a judiciary characterized not by secrecy and patronage, but by integrity and competence.”
- Appointment of Sereno as Chief Justice: “The appointment of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, and later Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, sustained the momentum of reform in the judiciary.”
- The Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act: “This law clearly demonstrates the President’s commitment to human rights. Through these reforms, we are strengthening a system where the law serves the people and works towards their full development.”
- Poverty alleviation: “Agencies such as the Department of Health, the Department of Education, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (which spearheads the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program,) have all experienced sharp increases in their budget, proving the President’s resolve to lift our countrymen from the margins of society.”
- Responsible Parenthood Law: “to foster public health and access to information on reproductive health to citizens who are free to act in accordance with their conscience.”
- Sin Tax Reform Law
- GDP growth: “Philippine GDP growth for the 3rd quarter hit a two-year high of 7.1 percent—the highest in Southeast Asia, and among the top performing economies in Asia.”
- Stronger peso: “The Philippine Peso also appreciated by as much as six percent this year and is projected to gain even more strength in the coming year.”
That statement shows this administration praising, cheering itself for its alleged achievements. But what I see is more welfare programs, more welfare recipients, more Filipinos depending on government dole-out, which means higher dependency rates. And when there are more Filipinos depending on welfare, that only means one thing: the economy is weak and that there are more unemployed Filipinos.
The total cost or budget of the Aquino regime’s operations and programs for 2013 is 2.006-trillion peso, 10.5 percent higher than the 2012 budget.
Despite the current administration’s most touted achievement and self-congratulatory statements, the undeniable facts are as follows:
- Higher unemployment rate: Joblessness increased from from 26.6 percent in May to 29.4 percent in August.
- Lower FDI. In fact, the country’s share of FDI in the Asean region was among the smallest.
- Philippines maintains its record as one of the most corrupt in the world.
- Higher budget deficit.
- The country is one of the least friendly to business. Its ranking in the “ease of doing business” index drops from 136th to 138.
- In terms of economic freedom, Philippines is one of the least free economies in the world.
- Higher debt: P5.213 trillion in September.
- More taxes
- Higher dependency rates
Tough luck, 2013 Philippines. We need more of it this year.