Friday, 14 October 2011

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, October 14, 2011

Government ready to deal with global economic crisis, says Aquino

President Benigno S. Aquino III assured members of the business community and the general public that the Philippine government is “ready to deal” with economic uncertainties the world is facing today which already have made an impact in the country.

Proof of which is the recently unveiled P72-billion stimulus package the government has allocated for infrastructure and poverty alleviation projects as a result of the Aquino administration’s exercise of “fiscal prudence” over the last 15 months.

“There are many of us who feel uncertain and that is natural. But I am here to tell you that our government is ready to deal with these problems. Fifteen months of fiscal prudence and taking the necessary steps to ensure that money is spent wisely have given us the wherewithal to have decisively addressed the economic uncertainty we face today,” the Chief Executive said in a speech during the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (PCCI) 37th Business Conference and Expo held at the Manila Hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion, Thursday evening.

The President reiterated the rundown of the P72-billion stimulus package emphasizing that the projects to be supported by this fund will not be done merely to boost the economy but for the people “to feel the effects immediately”.

“Our people are the ultimate beneficiaries here and these projects are important because we know that through these we can take significant steps towards alleviating poverty and addressing the needs of our countrymen,” he said.

Of the P72-billion stimulus program, President Aquino said at least P6.5-billion will go to the local government units to fund vital infrastructure or poverty alleviation projects; P5.5-billion will be allocated for the projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways; P10-billion will be spent for the relocation of informal settlers residing in danger zones; while an additional P4.5-billion and P1.868-billion shall be used for the improvement of the MRT and LRT lines respectively.

The President, meanwhile, took the opportunity to express his deep gratitude for PCCI support in the administration’s bid towards improving the economy as he recalled attending inaugurations and groundbreaking ceremonies for new businesses since the start of his presidency.

“So many businesses setting up shop had me rushing to one inauguration event after another, giving me little time to rest but I am not complaining. You can tire me more if you want to and the only requirement is it amounts to something and not just photo opportunities,” he said jovially.

“Since we saw each other last, the Philippines has garnered four positive rating actions from credit rating agencies such as Fitch’s and Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Our country moved up 10 places in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. We are now at 75th place from 85th in 2010,” the President noted.

“Truly, these developments show us that our reforms and our focus on fostering a business climate conducive to growth are indeed taking effect. We are maintaining the momentum we have built from last year. But for the record, while the government has indeed worked hard for this, all of you here are equally deserving of praise and of thanks,” he added. (PCOO)

Aquino defends approval of P72-billion stimulus package

President Benigno S. Aquino III defended the P72-billion stimulus package he announced this week saying the plan isn’t underspending because it benefits the people in the long term.

“Our critics call this ‘underspending’ but is it underspending when you save 20 percent of contract cost on infrastructure projects as Public Works and Highways Secretary [Rogelio] Babes Singson has done?” the President said in his speech during the 37th Philippine Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) 37th Business Conference and Expo on Thursday at The Manila Hotel.

“Is it underspending when you restructure your maturities so that you save P26 billion in interest payments in a year? Is it underspending when you demand a work program from a regional director who asks for a bridge in his district?” the President added.

According to the President, fiscal prudence isn’t underspending noting that it’s the sensible thing to do when the government wants to be sure that projects have work programs before they are given funds.

The President also noted that it is not underspending when those projects not only fuel growth but will also concretely benefit the Filipino people.

The Chief Executive said that the P72 billion in new programs will aid the economy from the ill effects of a global financial slowdown that is happening overseas.

At least P6.5 billion will go to local government units so they can spend money on vital infrastructure or poverty alleviation projects. At the same time, the government is spending an additional P10 billion to help resettle and relocate informal settlers currently residing in the danger zones.

The President also said that P5.5 billion will also go to infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). There will also be additional P4.5 billion and P1.8 billion for the improvement of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Trail Transit (LRT) lines, respectively.

He, however, clarified that his administration doesn’t want to release the stimulus package merely for growth’s sake.

“We chose initiatives for the stimulus package that are either high-impact or anti-poverty projects that are easy to get to the ground so that Filipinos can feel the effects immediately,” he said.

“Our people are the ultimate beneficiaries here and these projects are important because we know that through these we can take significant steps towards alleviating poverty and addressing the needs of our countrymen.”

Other countries around the world have been experiencing painful restructuring because they took in too much debt and are now hard pressed to repay, the President stressed.

This is the same problem that the government has been managing to avoid, the President said as he vowed to treat taxpayers’ money with prudence and transparency. (PCOO)

Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry donates P20-M for typhoon victims

Malacanang bared the financial assistance extended by the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) beefing up the available funds allocated by the Aquino government for its rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in areas devastated by the recent typhoons.

In a regular press briefing at the Palace, Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the 20 million-peso donation was handed over by the FFCCCII officials, led by its president Tan Ching, to President Aquino during the business group’s courtesy call to the Chief Executive at the President’s Hall of the Malacanang Palace on Friday morning.

Witnessing the event were DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Secretary Lacierda and the other officials of the FFCCCII.

The President turned over the donation to DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman for the agency’s relief, rehabilitation and assistance to the victims of the recent calamities that hit the country.

In attendance during the event were other officers of the FFCCCII that include Guilbert Go, Executive VP; John K.C. Ng, Honorary president; Dr. Robin Sy, Honorary president; Dr. Francis Chua, Honorary president; Dr. Alfonso Siy, vice president; Angel Ngu, vice president; Ong Eng Chan, vice president; and Alex Yap Cho Ty, vice president.Also present were other FFCCCII officials that include Dr. Fernando Gan, secretary-general; Enrique Chua, board member & chairman of the welfare committee; William Tieng, auditor; William Gosiaco, vice president and Raul Ang, vice chairman of the trade and industry committee.

Typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel” hit the country the past weeks leaving a combined damage of at least twelve billion pesos in infrastructure and agriculture that also left some provinces under flood waters and some people homeless.

The typhoons, which struck Luzon killed 76 people, injured 74 others, and left 29 missing. (PCOO)