Latest results of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) indicate that Filipino families are getting poorer. But while this could be partially compensated by increasing public expenditures for social services, resources are being diverted to debt servicing or lost to corruption.
According to IBON executive editor Rosario Bella Guzman , corruption results in loss of government revenues going to private pockets that could have been used to provide the poor of basic social services.
The ZTE’s reported of US$130 million-overprice (roughly P5.9 billion), for example, could have been used to increase the subsidy of government hospitals catering to indigent patients. Guzman said that the overprice is enough to provide for the operating costs of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for five years, serving 70,000 indigent outpatients per year.
She added that the amount can also hire 2,889 public school teachers and pay for their salary for one year. The Department of Education estimated the backlog of teachers at 2,733.
Guzman said the unabated corruption allegations against the Arroyo administration are made even more scandalous because of the worsening poverty and income inequality in the country. Based from the 2006 FIES and government’s family living wage, poverty increased to 86% in 2006 from 82% in 2003