The idea of sustaining sustainable development is a wise one.

Search me. I think the only time that development is broached about, regrettably, is when it is paired with growth. Like growth and development.

Can there be growth without development?

It’s happening, according to economists in the NEDA. It’s hard to understand the language used to explain this phenomenon.

It means there’s a little more money in the pockets of wage earner; there’s plenty of dough in the hands of the bank and those doing business selling goods and service, and there’s travelling around for sights and sounds, and other consumeristics ( the gymnastics of spending).

But, and there’s the big BUT–there’s no capital investment visible for miles, like new industries, no factories, no export of finished goods, no infrastructure support to agri-fisheries. In short, there’s no visible signs of change above ground on many economic activities.

Sounds like there’s dead investment, but many people are happy just the same. Looks like the place is nice and safe, but something’s wrong?

An example would be: there are more cell phones roaring around like lions looking for comfort than actual business bytes and investment offers.

So, that’s the bloom that’s in the title of this column. There’s blooming–flowers all around–but no extraction of scents and pleasant odors to place into bottles for selling. Value addition is down,

There’s no perfumery industry here like in France, so that’s not good by way of illustration. There is banana though, but a lot of the fruit is not consumed or converted into new products. I could be wrong; prove me wrong.

In Davao. once. I saw a lot of sub-sized green bananas used as earth fill. And we eat Cavendish throwaways at P.50.

Cassava into flour? There’s your cake. There’s future here for everybody. But we import flour even as far away as Turkey!

Tourism requires a lot of infra, But are we building enough? By whose standards? Are the beaches clean and free of ecoli or effluents?

There’s a city I know in whose sidewalks the poor and needy sleep like they were born into it. I could cry laughing at this, but the garbage is also four days old.

But development is more than these, and ships and ports and airports and resorts. It is more than increasing reliability on information technology (IT), although it’s great help.

It’s also the quality of the skills that our people possess. It’s also the raw aspiration of the youth as they acquire skills in all dimensions.

There’s no one-to-one correspondence of skills to job. But our young people can assume responsibility for working on their future. Are the schools attentive to this? If the answer is yes, then there’s an ounce of hope.

Then. we don’t need the NPA to shut out the road to Cam Phillips and to announce anything of significance from Dahilayan.

Then we don’t need politicians to reconnoiter the future for our children.

Then we don’t expect the planners to rebuke us when there’s no development, but only growth.

Re-quote for the week: “Who knows if God will not change his mind and relent, if he will not renounce his burning wrath, so that we do not perish? God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behavior, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened,”- Jonah 3:9-10. ([email protected])

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