Unemployment and underemployment (officially estimated at 7.5 percent and just under 23 percent) and the region’s highest birth rate of 1.9 percent are further problems that urgently need to be resolved. According to the Geneva-based International Labor Organization (ILO)the Philippines has the highest unemployment rate in the ten-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Even the Aquino government did not pursue an economic program that was substantially different from its predecessor and, above all, designed in the interests of the poor and marginalized in society. Critics accuse the outgoing government of unwaveringly stuck to the neoliberal course of the Arroyo administration and of having committed itself to rhetorical poverty reduction. While government cuts in social and medical benefits are flanked by drastically increased costs in the (mainly private) education and training sector (e.g. universities, colleges), wages for the majority of employees have been stagnating for a long time.
If experts from the government in Manila and from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) based there assume an annual increase in gross domestic product of around six percent, such a development is likely to continue to be asymmetrical. While on the north island of Luzon – especially in the greater and metropolitan area of Manila – the electronics, mechanical engineering and textile industries functioned as the engines of industrialization, simple agricultural activities remained and will remain dominant in the south of the archipelago.
However, even in the opinion of members of the Aquino government, the economic surge forecast by economic experts is not sufficient to achieve the medium-term development goals. According to this, constant economic growth of seven to eight percent per year would be necessary up to 2016 in order to open up adequate prospects for more people. International rating agencies and economic institutes are currently attesting to the country’s good performance with a tendency to advance into the phalanx of growth economies. But even their predictions remain below the forecast seven to eight percent per year. In 2017, the Philippine economy grew by 6.7 percent and is one of the fastest growing in Asia. According to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), this will allow the Philippines to achieve middle-income status (median income of just under $ 4,000 per capita) by the end of 2019.
Despite all growth forecasts, the extreme social gap between rich and poor has persisted. At the ADB’s 2012 annual conference, even its boss, Kuroda Haruhiko, commented critically on the increasing income differences in the country. But like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the ADB is relying on accelerated market liberalization to solve the problem. At the same time, the ADB boss called for greater investments in infrastructure and education in order to give children from poor families better (surv) life chances. Senator Grace Poe took up this warning in autumn 2014, when she repeatedly castigated growing child poverty as scandalous in public speeches.
At the beginning of 2019, experts estimate that 20 percent of Filipino children are underweight, making the Philippines ninth in the world for the number of children with stunted growth.
Economic indicators, analysis, statistics
According to philosophynearby, external analyzes of the economic situation in the Philippines at regular intervals include:
- World Bank with the country information Philippines and the database Philippines
- International Monetary Fund with the country information Philippines and the branch in the Philippines
- World Trade Organization with the country information for the Philippines
- US Department of State with the country information for the Philippines
- Central Intelligence Agency with the World Factbook on the Philippines
- Asian Development Bank with country information on the Philippines
- European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines with news on the Philippines
- Germany Trade and Invest with data on the Philippine economy
Current economic data and analyzes from the Philippine side offer:
- Philippine Central Bank (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) with current statistics
- Philippine Statistics Authority with current economic data
- Philippine Department of Finance with the annual reports on the national economic situation
Anyone who would like to critically evaluate official government figures and statistics, which often diverge and contradict one another, should visit the website of the IBON Foundation already quoted. The foundation was established over three decades ago and initially published hectographed papers, the IBON: Facts & Figures, in which it took a concise position on pressing social, economic, political and cultural problems, didactically prepare relevant materials and made them available to the NGO scene Provided. Today IBON is a nationally and internationally recognized, independent think tank with a publisher and various educational offers.
Unemployment and underemployment remain just as high as the poverty rate, while the government’s much-hoped-for investment boost is missing. The extent and scope of foreign direct investments are very low in a regional (ASEAN) comparison and fell again in the first quarter of 2019 – with short-term investments being withdrawn from the country at an ever faster rate. The controversial policy of the Duterte administration, which also has economic effects, plays a part in this. These effects – but also the investment restrictions for foreign capital set out in the constitution – led to discussions in the Philippines about easing the foreign capital limit in early 2019. Domestic demand due to low wages is also very weak and workers and employees from the public and private sectors are pushing for the introduction of a minimum wage.