SOME people mistake battles as synonymous to wars. Not really. Let me illustrate.

The government has been waging a war against Muslim secession in the Muslim-dominated provinces of Mindanao for a long time now. In the process the government forces have won numerous running battles against

the MILF through the years -- in Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga, Jolo, Basilan and other provinces.

Have they won the war against the Muslim secession? Nope.

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The same with the war against the NPA. Military forces have won many battles against them in different places in the country. Have they won the war against the NPA? Nope.

What am I trying to get into?

In recent days, the National Government went into overdrive trumpeting the battles it won since 2000 -- higher GDP growth, lower inflation, higher credit ratings, more tourism investments, more tourists, more car sales,

income growth of top 1,000 corporations, more textbooks and classrooms, more roads, bridges, airports, RoRo ports and more.

The question: with all those battles won, has it won the war? What is the government's war, really?

Any executive worth his salt, whether in private or public sector, knows that success is measured in terms of attaining the bottom line objective.

In business, the bottom line objective is profit. As an executive, no matter how great is your strategic plan, your implementation plan, your management information system and other similar things, if you fail to produce

the profits, you are a failure.

What is the bottom line objective of the government? Cutting through the noise and highfalutin statements of government propagandists, I believe the government’s main wars consist of: (1) reducing poverty and hunger

of the teeming masses and (2) uplifting the economic well-being of the majority of the people.

What have been trumpeted so far are just the battles. What we need to see is how the government has fared in its main wars. I wish they could give us the figures for the following:

1. How many percent of the population were below the poverty level in 2000? In 2009? Has it decreased?

2. How many percent of the people felt they were experiencing some hunger in 2000? In 2009? Has it decreased?

3. What is the national average income less expenditures per family in 2000? In 2009 (adjusted for inflation)? Has the net income after expenditures increased?

I sure hope and pray that the battles won by the government from 2000 2009 have not benefited mainly the middle- and upper-class families of this country.

The rich can largely take care of themselves with minimal government support. Those who have less in life should have more of the government's care and attention -- especially the government's resources.


Ismael D. Tabije is an international consultant of the UN, the WB, the EC and the Jica. Email comments to Visit his website