GMA CITES 400% INCREASE IN INVESTMENTS IN ECO ZONE IN JANUARY 2004

MALACANANG, February 20, 2004
(OPS) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today that confidence of foreign investors in her experience in government has spurred the 23 percent growth of foreign investments in the country in 2003 and the 400 percent increase in investments in the economic zones in January 2004.

In a radio interview with RMN Dagupan, the President said that she and her chief rival, Fernando Poe, Jr., can trace their family roots to Pangasinan, but the more important criterion in choosing the candidate who will be good for the country is experience that will bring about reforms for uplifting the living conditions of the people.

President Macapagal-Arroyo said, "Mayroon na akong karanasan at koneksiyon para magawa na natin ang mas malakas na pasimula sa pagbabago ng ating ekonomiya (I have the experience and connections to make the strong start for reforming the economy)

She said it was the continued entry of foreign investments, owing chiefly to the trust of foreign investors in the government under her watch, that enabled her to create three million jobs as compared to only half a million jobs made during the administration of ousted President Joseph Estrada.

Turning to major government projects in Pangasinan, Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo noted that only the flood control phase of the San Roque Dam, a mega project started by former President Fidel V. Ramos, had been completed.

"Meron pang importanteng magagawa sa San Roque Dam. ‘Yong tubig na naiimbak doon ay puwedeng magamit para sa irigasyon. Kaya’t mayroon tayong San Roque Irrigation Project ngayon. (There is still something important that can be done to San Roque Dam. We can use its water for irrigation. That’s why we have now a San Roque Irrigation Project)," she said.

The President said that during her visit to Japan late in 2003, the government of Japan committed to fund construction of the irrigation project. The Japanese government has now confirmed in writing that the funding for the project has been approved.

She said that the San Roque Irrigation project is a large one and will take about eight years to complete. It is, thus, important that Japan continues to have confidence not only in our government but also in its President, she added.

Because the project will take time to finish, the President said that she has directed Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo to start small water impounding projects in the towns of Sta. Maria and VIllasis to make use of the water resource while the irrigation project is still under construction.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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