From the State of the Nation Address delivered by President Noynoy Aquino last Monday, July 25, here are what he reported as inroads into economic and business growth accomplished in the first year of his tenure as president of our country:
- Self-rated hunger has come down from 20.5 per cent in March to 15.1 per cent this June — equivalent to a million less hungry Filipino families.
- The stock market reached record highs in the past year. The PSE index now routinely reach 4000 points, at one time considered a fluke.
- Our credit ratings have now been upgraded by Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch and Japan Credit Ratings Agency, in recognition of our prudent use of funds and creative financial management. These improved credit ratings mean lower interest on our debts. In the single year (P-Noy has been in office), there have been four upgrades, so that now we are only a notch below ‘investment’ grade.
- 140 companies are all set to participate in the exploration and strengthening of our oil and natural gas resources. Very recently, a new contract was signed for a power plant to be constructed in the Luzon gid so that by 2014, our country will have a cheaper, more reliable source of energy.
- Unemployment has gone down. In April 2010, the unemployment rate was 8 per cent; in April 2011, it was 7.2 per cent. An estimated 1,400,000 new jobs were created last year.
- To address the mismatch between skills needed by industry and the skills acquired by young Filipinos from their college and technical education, the DOLE, CHED, TESDA and DepEd are working together to review and analyze curricula to better direct them to industries in need of skilled manpower.
- The culture of wang-wang has been stopped — the culture of entitlement and abuses — along our roads, in government, in society in general. This will bring confidence that will attract business. This will ensure that the people’s money is put in its rightful place: funding for infrastructure that will secure the sustained growth of the economy, which will then give rise to jobs. More opportunities for livelihood will be opened by tourism; the strengthening of the agricultural sector will ensure that every Filipino will have food on his table. All these will create a cycle wherein all available jobs are filled, and where businesses flourish through the empowerment of their consumers.