Poverty Alleviation

Opinions Unlimited

by Atty. Tony(APA) Acyatan (Atty. APA – chairman of Acyatan & Co., CPAs-DFK International is president of PICPA in 1990 and ASEAN Federation of CPAs (1998-2000) and Accountancy Hall-of-Famer (2006).

STATISTICS:  Formal surveys showed that almost one-third of our Philippine population lives below the poverty line.  And if the people are asked to rate their own stature, the statistics are even higher – almost one-half.  The P-Noy administration vowed to lower this to half of the 1990 levels via the Millenium Development Goals.  Now the current score reveals that the target cannot be accomplished as planned.

There are so many imponderables in the poverty equation.  Despite the continuing labor migration for abroad – the incidence of unemployment continues to haunt our economic strides.  Opinions Unlimited traces this to several factors:  indolence of many of our countrymen (reliance on OFWs for their families’ day-to-day subsistence), mis-aligned educational system (stressing on white collar jobs instead of entrepreneurship and technical expertise) and inadequate systems to spur growth.

SMALLTIME:  Rural banking was institutionalized in this country more than six decades ago to provide financial services for the countryside.  As created by law, rural banks were meant to be small right from their birth.  They are defined as providers of banking services for farmers and “small” businessmen.  Now that the countryside has progressed economically – the erstwhile exclusive domain of these banks are now being invaded by the bigger banks.

As these smaller retail banks are eased out by competition – many rural banks are falling by the wayside.  The Program for the Strengthening of Rural Banks jointly launched by the Monetary Board (BSP) and the PDIC encourages the beneficial merger of the stronger RBs with the weaker ones via a package of incentives.  Hopefully, with this, the retail banking system could be strengthened further and continually provide assistance to our countryside folks.

ELECTRIC POWER: Energy consumers should know that power is now salable in advance.  The Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) facilitates these transactions. Speculation is involved here – and the transacting parties – just like in other spot markets, take risks – “betting” in advance on what they perceive would be the energy market situation in the months to come.

The individual power producers (IPPs) have big roles in the pricing of power – depending on their capacities and delivery records.  If they have ample “volume” to sell the possibility is that they will sell at lower per KwH prices.  They say that both IPPs and WESM shall have registered lower rates starting last month (August) and so consumers will feel the benefit in their September billings.  The CASURECO II subscribers are praying hard!

DEAR “INA”: As we write this column, we were barely able to squeeze in our hotel reservation for our overnight stay.  Bikolnons and their guests have started coming in to celebrate the 300th Year of the graces of the beloved Virgin of Penafrancia to the Bicol Region and its people.  No doubt – it is our reverence for “Ina” that facilitates the unity and fraternal  love among Bikolnons.  Through her grace – we have to bind ourselves together so we may, one day – have a Bikolano president!

Whether or not this dream comes to pass – we have to thank the Lord – by the guidance of our Virgin Mary – that our lives and livelihoods have been graced by magnificent blessings from Providence.  Despite natural disasters, our natural environment continues to sustain food production and services for our people.  Our abiding faith in our Creator and Savior is the main reason why we are blessed.  Let us call on “Ina” to intercede for us to our Lord.

PSALM: He who walks uprightly and works in righteousness will always speak the truth in his heart.

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