POPULATION  BOOM,  UNEVEN  DISTRIBUTION  OF  WEALTH  HINDERING RP  GROWTH

MANILA, OCTOBER 3, 2006
(STAR) Poverty alleviation, excessive population growth and uneven distribution of wealth are the underlying problems inhibiting the economic progress of the Philippines, according to the European Union’s 2006 bilateral overview on the Philippines.

The EU said the Philippines should work harder to improve the socio-economic and security situation by acting on the challenges of good governance, restoring peace and security and economic reform.

The report released last week also indicated that the country’s credit rating was lowered because of fiscal problems.

"Major economic challenges remain (in) the reduction of budget deficit, mainly through increased revenue collection, a rationalization of the public debt, rationalization of, and massive investment in the power sector, increased resource allocation for major infrastructure, creation of up to 10 million jobs and the restoration of international confidence, in particular to enhance the flow of foreign direct investments," the EU said.

The meeting between European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and President Arroyo during her first visit to the EC in Brussels, Belgium last Sept. 12 focused on how the EU and the Philippines could further enhance their relations.

During the meeting, Barroso and Arroyo also discussed the following:

• Negotiation of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement;

• Human rights such as the abolition of death penalty and extra-judicial killings;

• The Mindanao Peace Process;

• ASEAN integration and ASEAN Charter;

• Invitation to the East Asia Summit, and

• Support to the accession of the EU to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).

The EU assured the Philippines of continued assistance as cited in its "Country Strategy Paper" (CSP) and the "National Indicative Programmes (NIP) for 2002-2004 and 2005-2006 for the Philippines."

The two main categories of assistance are the development cooperation, which concentrates mainly on poverty alleviation as well as health and environment, and the economic cooperation aimed at increasing two-way trade and investment flows based on mutual interest. — Pia Lee-Brago


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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