Press Release
September 9, 2009


Sen. Loren Legarda said yesterday the finding of the World Economic Forum that the Philippines has dropped 16 places from 71st to 87th in world competitiveness rankings showed the "utter failure" of the Arroyo administration in tackling the country's problems.

Loren said that "even more damning is the finding that corruption was the biggest factor for the steep decline of our country in competitiveness ranking."

According to Loren, the WEF's Global Competitiveness Report of 2009-2010 "confirmed the popular perception that the Arroyo administration, which was rounding up 10 years in power, was "hopelessly corrupt, inefficient and insensitive to the real needs of our people."

Corruption, an inefficient bureaucracy, inadequate infrastructure and policy instability were the top problem areas cited in the annual study of the WEF, which ranked 133 economies. Other bases for the report were health and primary education, labor market efficiency, technological readiness, market size and business innovation.

"In almost all factors, the Philippines was rated poor and deteriorating," lamented Loren. "This proves that all those achievements mentioned by President Arroyo in her state-of-the-nation address, including alleged economic achievements, were just figments of the imagination."

Loren said that what is alarming is that the poverty incidence in the Philippines is rising, so that the common perception abroad is that the poverty level has reached to more than 40 percent of the population, the highest in Southeast Asia.

One indication is that, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, one in five Filipino families or about 3.7 million families have experienced hunger in the past three months, rising from 15.5 percent in the previous quarter.

Loren also lamented that among Asian countries the Philippines was only ahead of Pakistan in the rankings.

"This shows in Asia we are the laggard in economic development, and we are reaching the highest level of poverty among the Asian countries."

Loren said that the next government after 2010 "would have a huge challenge on its hands, and we need a leader who is strong, honest and visionary."

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