Monday, February 11, 2008

RP needs more growth to stop braindrain

It is sad to learn that the Philippines has to improve its economic growth by 14 percent before it can succeed in stopping the exodus of professionals and skilled workers abroad.

BNP Paribas chief economist Dr. Andrew Freris made this comment after he was invited by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, adding that the current economic growth is not enough to curtail the impacts of brain-drain in the country.

At present, more and more Filipinos are eager to get out of the country as manifested by the long queues at the various manpower placement agencies and the U.S. Embassy in Manila. As early as 5 a.m., applicants for visas are already forming a long line outside the embassy premises, despite the high fees charged for each visa application.

In fact, a large number of Filipinos are already pissed off at the way the government is running its affairs, not to mention the alleged involvement of some government officials in graft and corruption, which all the more hurt the country's image in the international communities.

Dr. Freris said it correctly that foreign remittances from overseas Filipino workers, 44 percent of which came from the United States, helped the country achieved a $3.5 billion in current account surplus. It goes without saying that the foreign remittances of OFWs have contributed a great deal in buoying up the domestic economy.

The question as to whether foreign direct investments have in a way contributed to the country's economic growth remains a jigsaw puzzle to many Filipinos, particularly the socially disadvantaged majority who could barely eat four square meals a day.

Delivery of basic services is not properly addressed due to lack of funds necessary to sustain the government efforts. Despite this scenario, legislators are unwilling to give up their countrywide development funds so they can be diverted to fund various livelihood projects that could eventually create jobs for the poor and the unemployed.

But what happenes is the opposite. Instead, some government officials have become callous and insensitive to the needs of the people, who have suffered a lot at the hands of their own politicians whom they elected to public office because most of them opted to be bought during the election period.

If many of us are hungry, blame not the politicians but ourselves. As a matter of fact, the politicians do not want us to improve our lives. If we do, they won't succeed in buying our votes anymore because we have almost all the basic necessities in life. That's the reason why these politicians always wanted their constituents to remain poor. It's a political logic that has been there for a long time. Only the people themselves have the best option to correct this misdeed.

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