By Junex Doronio
September 1, 2021
IT WAS SOMETIME IN 1993 when I attended a seminar workshop in Tokyo on “The Development of small and middle-sized enterprises in Japan” for the journalists of the ASEAN region when a Japanese journalist-friend told me, without batting an eyelash, that the Philippines is a rich country.
I was then representing the National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) as its secretary.
Boy, I was dumbfounded but typical of the Japanese trait of being straightforward and not “bolero” unlike the Filipino playboys and “trapos” (traditional politicians), I knew that he was speaking the truth.
He said that, unlike Japan which assets are only its people and water, the Philippines is indeed rich in natural resources.
Oh well, just a click on Wikipedia, says that “the country is rich in gold, copper, chromite, silver, nickel, cobalt, and other minerals. Coal and limestone are also abundant. According to advertisements placed in The Financial Times in 1989: ‘The Philippines is more densely mineralized than Australia, the tonnages are larger and the terrain is largely unexplored.'”
Not to mention the inherent beauty and talents of the Maharlika (noble warrior) race.
This could be the reason why every administration seems not to care even if it keeps on borrowing from foreign lenders, the bulk of which may only fatten the pockets of the greedy and gluttonous powers-that-be.
News reports on Wednesday, September 1, cited the Philippines’ debt climbed further hitting P11.61 trillion at the end of July, according to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).
Quoting the BTr, the same reports said the country’s total debt in July increased by P444.43 billion or 4 percent from June due to the peso’s depreciation and as the national government borrowed more money from both foreign and local lenders.
“From the start of 2021, total outstanding debt has grown by P1.82 trillion or 18.53 percent,” the BTr noted.
Total debt also increased by P2.44 trillion or 26.7 percent from July last year.
But despite the seemingly gloomy situation, I agree with what a sensitive soul holds on that the Philippines — the Pearl of the Orient — is indeed a wealthy country.
It can pay off all our trillions of debt in our lifetime if we make use of our natural resources and under a bold and righteous leadership. (ai/mtvn)