PGMA’s P1.2B foreign travels reaped P500B investments, trade & grants, Palace says

April 15, 2010 11:41 pm 

MANILA, April 15 — Malacañang said today the P1.2- billion in travel expenses incurred by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2007 to 2008 reaped P500 billion in investments, grants and trade from the countries she visited.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Gary Olivar said in a briefing that “we certainly don’t claim all the credit for that, but it seems clear that this kind of return is not bad on less than P1.2 billion worth of travel.”

From 2009 onwards, the President’s travel expenses reached P921 million.

Olivar also said that contrary to some critics that “public finances are nearing final collapse, this is not the view of ratings agencies like Moody’s Investors Services —which do not have hidden agendas and are paid to be dispassionate. We enjoyed most recently a full letter upgrade from Moody’s with stable outlook which should comfort foreign lenders and investors who are risking their money precisely on the fiscal health of the country.”

Moody’s gave the Philippines a Ba3 rating while other rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s gave the country a BB-rating, the same as Indonesia, and Fitch Ratings gave a BB rating.

The President’s achievement of maintaining positive economic growth throughout the global recession and getting rating upgrades during the period certainly came with a price like allowing the budget deficit to reach P298.5 billion by implementing stimulus spending worth P330 million and other social safety nets last year, Olivar stated.

“But the cost was worth it if we look at the benefits generated: billions of pesos in interest savings, together with greater liquidity from more borrowing availability, due to higher credit ratings, jobs and livelihoods that were kept afloat by positive growth no matter how small, rather than negative, and millions of poor families who were protected from the worst of the recession by government’s social spending,” Olivar said. (PNA)

scs/OPS/ssc

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