The League of Filipino Students (LFS) would like to extend a hand and slap President Aquino back to the reality that his country is still stuck in poverty, and that US$ 1 billion could go a long way in providing better social services for his constituents.
Just recently, the The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the Philippines has contributed US$ 1 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which will re-lend the money to member countries saddled with financial difficulties, particularly those in the Eurozone. However, the collected funds from all the countries would be used not for the people in the Eurozone but to bail the banks and creditors like what happened in the recent US financial crisis. Moreover, lending huge sums to the IMF would only condone its abusive lending practices against the people of the countries it loans to.
The LFS asserts that the contribution would have been better spent on social services for the Filipino people. Currently, the basic education sector only gets a 2.69% share of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), far from the 6% education budget recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The budget allocation for health services, on the other hand, places a mere P1.17 for each Filipino per day. The US$ 1 billion could have been used to construct new classrooms, provide more books, and make education and health care more accessible to the citizens. Instead of trying to impress the IMF and improve its credit ratings, the government should prioritize addressing the needs of the people and remember to whom it is accountable.
In this ironical situation where a third world country like the Philippines lends money to supposedly rich yet bankrupt nations in the Eurozone, it is clear to see the instability in the world’s current economic system and the ineffectiveness of financial institutions like the IMF to sustain the world’s economy. There is no reason then, for the Philippines to take the same path of capitalism which has been proven by history to be bound to fail. In times like this, the call to fight for change in society should fervently be heeded and embraced by the Filipino people until the ties with US Imperialism are brought down and real progress for the people becomes a reality.###