Shortage of Vision Equals Shortage of Energy, Equals Shortage of Economic Growth, Equals Shortage of Social progress.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Article excerpt

DURING the last few months, the emergence of the IPP/PPA issues has revealed the extreme shortsightedness and narrowmindedness of many socalled national leaders especially in the Senate opposition and some media "professionals."

In order to return all of us back to the path of sustainable development, and to bring out the truth, I now come out to help clarify oft-repeated misconceptions, unfounded fabrications, pure selfserving propaganda and outright lies coming from various sources.

The vision of the Ramos administration clearly expressed in my inaugural speech on June 30, 1992, and borne out by our Philippine MediumTerm Development Plan (MTDP, 1992-1998), and the long-range plan called "Philippines 2000!!!," was clearly to lift the quality of life for common Filipinos thru:

(1.) Increasing the per capita income of Filipinos to beyond US$1,000 from about US$870 annually;

(2.) Reducing the incidence of poverty from 43%+ to about 30% (per U.N. standards) after six years; and,

(3) Bringing the Philippines to Newly Industrializing Country (NIC) status by the year 2000.

The starting point of this vision is people, by way of people empowerment and people excellence that would lead to our competitiveness in a globalized economy. The following critical factors were used as basis for the determination of targets to be achieved.

(1.) Population Growth. To insure the increase of per capita income in significant terms, we decided to double the annual population growth rate of 2.4% by roughly twice in order to determine our annual GDP/GNP growth - thus coming out with an estimated GNP growth of 5to6% annually. After due consultations with authorities in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and utilizing the World Bank (WB)-US Agency for International Development (USAID) April 1994 Guidelines on the "Submission and Evaluation of Proposals for Private Power Generation Projects in Developing Countries," the Ramos administration utilized the elasticity factor of 1.5 to 2 times the targetted GNP growth rate for projecting power demand during the same period. (Note: elasticity is the percentage growth in power requirements for every 1% of targetted GNP growth.) Thus, we (the President, DoE/Napocor, NEDA, DoF and DBM) targetted the growth of the electricity sector at 9% to 12% annually. The Ramos administration also exerted determined efforts to reduce population growth thru the policy of Responsible Parenthood under the Constitutional Principle of Freedom of Conscience to be exercised by a married couple of their own volition, keeping in mind the quality of life they desired for their family. It is of record that the size of Filipino families was reduced during the period 1991-1997, according to U.N. and Philippine Human Development Reports (HDR).

(2.) Sustainable Development. Totally overlooked by the critics and bashers is the intimate relationships among population, the environment, water availability, food security, energy resources, economic growth and social equity in any country and globally. The totality - and balancing - of all these inter-related factors to insure better chances of survivability is termed sustainable development, as defined in the United Nations' Agenda-21. By the establishment of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development in September 1992, with Dr. Cielito Habito, NEDA Secretary as chairman, the Philippines became the very first country in Asia to implement Agenda-21 which came out of the U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. Eventually, a specific long-range plan called Philippine Agenda21 was promulgated by the Ramos administration to carry our program of sustainable development within the time-frame of one generation.

(3.) Unity, solidarity and teamwork. To achieve our longterm national goals, it was necessary to mobilize the support, cooperation and commitment of all branches of government, the leaders of the private sector (civil society), and likewise the affluent countries in the international community. …