[PHOTO AT LEFT - President Benigno S. Aquino and Vietnamese President Nguyen Min Triet during a photo op on Tuesday (Oct. 26) at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Benhur Arcayan/Malacanang Photo Bureau Photo)]

HANOI, VIETNAM, OCTOBER 29, 2010 (STAR) President Aquino yesterday assuaged fears of not just overseas Filipino workers here but in other parts of the world as well that the strengthening of the peso means that the Philippines is now an “emerging economy.”

“Although (we don’t know) developments in other parts of the world... it tells us that the world is looking at us,” a proud chief executive told reporters in a briefing after he met with the local Filipino community here at the Grand Plaza Hotel where he is billeted.

Mr. Aquino also gladly interpreted the stronger peso against the dollar as an indication of a booming economy, or what he called an “emerging market or emerging economy,” which means a better standard of living for all.

The President addressed the recurring concerns of OFWs, who are estimated to be 10 million worldwide, since their remittances back home have started to shrink when the exchange rate of the dollar to the peso fell to the P43 level.

He didn’t make any categorical statement though that the exchange rate would be pegged at a certain amount, but was leaving it to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to decide what would be the level that is acceptable to all concerned - exporters and OFWs alike.

“The BSP has its own inputs and I think the current value is more or less within range,” Mr. Aquino stressed.

During the meeting with OFWs, he assured them that the government is doing its best.

“What we would want is, what is called a stable exchange rate, meaning (any) fluctuation should be manageable,” he said, explaining the rate should have some predictability and not be volatile - very high one day, and low the next.

In short, he wants all kinds of businesses, be it local or foreign, to have some sort of comfort when it comes to their investments.

“The BSP has been defending the peso, it has been intervening in the marketplace to preserve the value of the peso within a specific range and it has been successful,” Mr. Aquino said.

He also took the opportunity to highlight the gains of his four-month administration, since “our gross international reserves are at a record high,” and that he wanted to equate a balance to them all.

The value of remittances would be lower while exports would increase in value, Aquino said, so this was why “we are trying to grow our manufacturing base.”

He promised to deliver on his campaign promise of generating more jobs locally.

“So that when you (OFWs) leave the country, it would be by choice and not by necessity,” he said, noting the social cost each family of an OFW have to suffer due to the absence of either one or both parents.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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