MANILA, Philippines – External factors, such as inflows from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, were the reasons for the 7.1 percent economic growth of the country but the gains are unsustainable in the long term, a militant leftist group warned Thursday.
“BPO and OFW remittances could not be expected to sustain the economic growth over the long term because they depend largely on the conditions of foreign economies,” Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said in a statement.
“They also do not represent positive signals for the economy but in fact are abnormalities created by age-old deeply flawed national policies and programs,” he added.
The gross domestic product, a measure of the country’s productivity, had increased by 7.1 percent in the third quarter, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) announced Wednesday. The GDP in the same period last year was 3.2 percent.
Bayan said that the growth, because it stems from investments in the BPO sector and OFW remittances, does not address the basic problems of poverty and unemployment in the country.
Reyes, citing data from the National Statistics Office (NSO), said that the unemployment rate in July 2012 was 7 percent or 2.83 million jobless workers. Last year the figure was 7.1 percent, he added.
A survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS) in August 2012 showed that 47 percent of Filipinos considered themselves poor, Reyes said.
“Malacañang can jump with joy over the new statistics but at the end of the day, people will still measure growth in terms of higher wages and salaries, jobs created domestically, social benefits, lower prices and other indicators that are directly felt by the people,” he said.
“What we are seeing appears to be jobless growth since unemployment remains quite significant and almost unchanged, even if based on official data,” he added.
The government should create long-term jobs for people by building strong domestic industries that will provide them with sustainable income.
“Sadly, amid all the noise about good governance and inclusive growth, our economy is still geared towards meeting international demand rather than actual domestic needs,” Reyes said.