PGMA ensures liquidity for consumers, SMEs

October 3, 2009 4:35 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 3 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today moved quickly to minimize the impact of storm “Ondoy” on the economy of Mega Manila, which accounts for a third of the country’s entire gross domestic product (GDP).

Being a consumer-driven economy, the President ensured that ready cash or liquidity was made available by ordering the one-year deferment of housing, salary, and other loans worth P32 billion by pension funds such as the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) as well as the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig). Another P15 billion in liquidity will be provided by Pag-Ibig’s lending of P150,000 per borrower for home repairs.

The President also asked the Monetary Board, the policy-setting body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), to keep interest rates low and to set up a special five-year rediscounting window for the country’s entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

After signing Proclamation No. 1898 placing the entire country under a state of calamity, the President also announced the following measures:

• Immediate clearing of garbage in primary and secondary roads by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) so that vehicular traffic and movement of people, particularly in Marikina and several parts of Quezon City, will not be impeded;

• Clearing all waterways obstruction, using the map of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR);

• The coordination among the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFD), the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its two private concessionaires (Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc.), and the Local Water Utilities Administration (for the Rizal province) in providing adequate potable water supply to evacuees;

• Ensuring adequate stocks of medicines for respiratory, diarrhea, and skin infections in all botika ng barangay outlets and deployment of health workers, particularly in cramped evacuation sites, by the Department of Health (DOH); and

• Immediate rehabilitation of damaged irrigation systems, which the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported at over P1 billion.

Meanwhile, the President said her administration has been investing in improving the Doppler radar capability of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in detecting rainfall for better risk management.

“We have already installed and would soon operate our Doppler radar in Baler. Under testing is the Doppler in Baguio City while those in Cainta, Surigao, South Cotabato, Aparri and Virac are now being installed,” she said. (PNA) scs/OPS/rsm

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