The Philippines in the middle of the global economic crisis

While various state governments, led by the ones that championed and proselytized about laissez faire capitalism just before the terrible economic events last year, are so busy crafting stimulus packages and bailouts, many people in their respective countries worry that their leaders are salvaging only the big businesses and doing nothing about poor and the middle class.

Painting by Antipas Delotavo

The Philippine government is no different, if we look at what the Arroyo government is doing or trying to pass off as a “stimulus program”. Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino says the program presented by defeated senatorial reelectionist-turned-economic planning chief Ralph Recto is just a “recycling” or a “rehash” of existing programs.

Even if we grant that the Arroyo stimulus program is new, it is doubtful that jobs would be saved. Worse, we may witness the loss of as many as 1.2 million jobs this 2009.

Atty. Remigio Saladero Jr., who was recently freed in connection with trumped up charges a la the ones filed against the Batasan 6, asks in his Pinoy Weekly column whether the Arroyo government’s economic model fits the country to a T.

Students too are unimpressed and would not believe the yarn that the Arroyo government will protect and create jobs. They remind us of the leading role of neocolonial economic relations in the never-ending problem of joblessness, mismatching, brain drain and diaspora.

For a look at how workers are faring in the midst of the global economic crisis, please read the excellent expositions by Alex Remollino and Jeffrey Ocampo.

The wolves are attacking from all sides during the long, dark night of economic ruin. Some have proposed the dangerous and insane idea of rehabilitating the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

Other congressmen are also calling out Frankenstein a.k.a. Charter Change through a vote of Congress without the Senate. Their incantations are full of bulls–t like offering our patrimony and economy at the altar of globalization — even as the big capitalist nations are protecting their own using precious taxpayers’ money.

Labor flexibility is also a term being bandied about as a silver bullet to rising number of layoffs. Workers are rejecting this fraudulent offer by combined elements of government and big business.

Others have sought to raid workers’ pension fund SSS to finance the Arroyo government’s version of a bailout. Already undeserved and largely unprotected, the OFWs may see their OWWA funds dissipated anew — years after Arroyo misused in her fraudulent 2004 campaign.

The government cannot even solve the artificial LPG shortage problem.

Deep into recession, the country is being made to accept propaganda gimmicks that fall flat on their faces, such as the President Arroyo’s gatecrashing at the National Prayer Breakfast where she failed to get herself photographed with President Barack Obama.

Lest we forget, Obama has choice words for presidents and leaders like Arroyo:

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history

And so we must stop depending on this government to be savior of the people, especially at this time of economic peril. The times demand that people themselves and their organizations and movements should seek alternatives to advance their welfare, protect whatever they have now, and institute much needed reforms.

Note: Antipas Delotavo‘s depiction of Filipino workers, which is featured in this post, came out on Pinoy Weekly.