In a talk with newsmen at the Mansion House here, the President assured the people that the peso deterioration "is transient and artificial," and blamed political bickering and destabilization attempts against her administration for the devaluation.
"It is because of politics or people talking of destabilization," Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo said.
"The economic fundamentals are sound," the President said, adding that the Philippines, like Malaysia, attained a 5.5 percent growth rate in gross national product (GNP) in 2003.
She noted foreign investments grew 23 percent last year. She cited as an example of "solid investments" in the country Texas Instrumentís decision to triple its investments to $100 million.
The President also pointed out that solid investments mean more jobs opportunities.
She also said the agricultural sector has responded to the governmentís P20-billion agricultural modernization program.
More farms are now being planted with Gloria rice variety which can double or even triple the volume of harvests, she said.
Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo, Jr., noted that farmers were pleased with the outcome of the Gloria hybrid rice program. A farmer from Tabuk, Benguet for instance, harvested some 270 cavans of rice from a hectare planted to Gloria rice, he said.
President Macapagal-Arroyo indicated that various sectors of the economy such as exports, investments and services have shown signs of improvements, despite reduction in government infrastructure projects because of budget constraints
She clarified, however, that the government always has the option to increase its infrastructure projects "specially now with the Marcos wealth already in government hands."
But the President cautioned against overspending, saying the recovered Marcos wealth should not be spent in just one year, but spread out over a longer period of time.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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