PGMA focused on 3E’s until end of term

January 22, 2010 11:08 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 22 — In the remaining five months of her term, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will keep her attention focused on the economy, education, and environment (3Es).

Her goal, the president told Joe Taruc in an interview on radio station DZRH this morning, is to uplift the lives of Filipinos and earn First World status for the country in 20 years.

The President said that her tax reforms, unpopular as they may be, has enabled the government to raise funds, which were invested on human and physical infrastructure. It is these funds that made it possible for the government to build vital road networks, air and sea ports, and provide education and other social services, all designed to create a healthy and globally competitive workforce.

She said she doesn’t mind seeing her popularity rating go down as long as the country’s credit rating improves.

As a result of the high credit rating, she said, creditors have lowered interest rates they charge the Philippines to 5.6 percent. In contrast, Indonesia, one of the top 20 economies of the world, has to pay a 6 percent interest rate.

The President said the income generated from the value-added tax and internal investments went into investments that enabled the country attain growth even at the height of the global economic crisis last year.

According to her, the economy has grown significantly since 2001, the year she assumed the presidency. All these years, she pointed out, large and middle-size corporations such as Ayala, San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Gokongwei, Jollibee, and SM have expanded their operations.

She said her administration has created a strong middle class, which is responsible for the increase in the demand for consumer goods.

The stock market, she also said, has doubled under her administration and the top 1,000 corporations upped their income from P100 billion to P700 billion.

Her administration, she added, has laid out 50,000 kilometers of road networks compared to the 34,000 kilometers built by the past three administrations. And the figure is apart from 18,000 kilometers of farm-to-market roads.

Aside from roads, the President said the roll-on roll-off ferry (RO-RO) network has been established connecting Luzon and Mindanao, thus lowering the cost of transporting goods and people.

During the global crisis, the government, through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), has distributed cash assistance to one million families. It has also created short-term jobs, given out food and education subsidies, built potable water projects and extended electrification even to the farthest barangays. It has also established Tindahan Natin and Botika ng Bayan, which offer low priced commodities and medicines.

Health insurance coverage under Philhealth were also provided to 82 million Filipinos, compared to the 29 million in 2001.

The President said the government has invested heavily in education. It conducts English-proficiency and skills trainings under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

To create more jobs, the President said government promoted and invested in labor intensive industries such as information and communications technology (ICT), tourism, and housing construction.

With more than P500 billion invested in hospitality trade, the number of tourist arrivals a year has tripled.

The administration also provided low cost housing to 300,000 families and relocated 90,000 families from railways, riverbanks, and other danger areas. rail lines and water tributaries.

From a virtual unknown, the President said, the business process outsourcing (BPO) became a $ 7 billion industry now employing 500,000 from the 2,000 recorded in 2001.

The President said the next administration will inherit a strong foundation and should continue the necessary programs for the continuing benefit of the people. (PNA)

RMA/OPS/ssc

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