LAUREN CHEN WRITES – Despite solid macroeconomics, further economic development in the Philippines needs to be more inclusive in order to be sustained.
The Philippines future is bright with its recent favorable position to sustain growth in an “exceptionally grim international landscape” and predicted Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate. The financial sector has become supportive of business activity and the acceleration of domestic demand. The country has improved its competitiveness, structural progress and perception that corruption has been undertaken.
On Easter Sunday, President Benigno Aquino gave the analogy of Christ’s resurrection to inspire people to optimistically rise above the repercussions of corruption. The president commented on the country’s improving economy and sufficient food supply for Filipinos today compared to when the country was “importing millions of metric tons of rice that eventually perished in government storage facilities.” The chief executive added that “the government is now truly a government by the people that selflessly focuses on their welfare.”
Yet stark challenges of multidimensional poverty remain alongside market inefficiencies such as poor infrastructure. Philippine labor outcomes have been less responsive to growth. “Even in 2011-2012, unemployment rate stayed at 7 percent, while underemployment rate rose to 22.7 percent since the number of full-time jobs declined by half a million in the same period.” The internationally accepted “Human Development Index” recognizes the combination of suffering that ranges from unemployment and poor income to deprivation of healthcare, education and basic necessities.
How does this non-inclusive development affect the media? The growth of Philippine media is dependent on economic factors, so the increased consumption and economic growth of corporations that advertise their products in the media is beneficial to the growth of the size of the cmmercial media sector. This could be promising to the underpaid community press staff.
However, multidimensional poverty must not be brushed under the rug. Pressing issues of basic health and life necessities prevail over their interest in reading newspapers and magazines. Sometimes the media itself seems to forget this.