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Economy in good shape? Hontiveros: Palace must be living in a bubble

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Malacañang people are living inside “a bubble,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Friday.

She rebuked the claim of the Palace that the Philippines is a “darling economy” despite high inflation rates and a weak peso as a result of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

The opposition senator said, “The Philippine economy “is anything but darling to poor Filipinos.”

“How can they say that we have a darling economy when the inflation rate is at a 5-year high made worse by the TRAIN law, economic growth is below government’s own target and expectations, the Philippine currency is weakening, the government’s ambitious infrastructure program remains an ambition, failing to leave the starting line; and the stock market is in the bear category?” she asked.

“Paano tayo naging ‘darling economy’ kung hindi naman ito ‘darling’ sa ordinaryong mamamayan na pumapasan ng bagong pagbubuwis, matataas na presyo ng bilihin, gasolina at pamasahe, at nagtitiis sa maliit na sahod?” Hontiveros added.

She also pointed out the “glaring contradictions” in Malacañang’s economic statements. “Last June 23, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the economy is in the doldrums,” she said.

“This was reaffirmed by no less than Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. Now, Roque is saying that there is nothing wrong with the economy,” she said.

She added, “Maybe the Palace can explain to us the ‘economic miracle’ that transpired in the span of 20 days that transformed an ‘economy in the doldrums’ to a ‘darling economy.’ We are all ears.”

She recently urged the government to “face the issues squarely and stop denying that the country’s economy is facing serious challenges.”

“It’s time to move on from the denial stage and accept that there is a problem. No PR (public relations) job and issuing of rosy economic statements can hide the fact that the economy is not working for many Filipinos,” she said.

“In the immediate, the President (Rodrigo Duterte) should assemble his economic managers together with the Legislature to come up with tactical and strategic policy responses to the country’s pressing economic problems,” she said.