PALACE: STUDENT SURPASSES TEACHER / ARROYO LAUDS PNoy ON 6.8% GROWTH


MANILA, FEBRUARY 4, 2013
(INQUIRER)
 By Michael Lim Ubac - The unexpected praise heaped on President Benigno Aquino III by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the country’s economic glow under his leadership is a “classic case of the student already surpassing the teacher,” Malacañang said on Saturday.

Undersecretary Abigail Valte, a Palace spokesperson, made this observation a day after Arroyo commended the President for the 6.8-percent growth in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2012, while the full-year growth was pegged at 6.6 percent.

Mr. Aquino was a student of the former President in economics at the Ateneo de Manila University.

In a statement issued through her spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn, Arroyo said the GDP growth was “welcome news,” admitting that Mr. Aquino was “on track (to) restoring the growth of 7.9 percent where it was before the first half of 2010.”

Arroyo, whose term ended on June 30, 2010, vowed to “support (Mr. Aquino’s) policies that (would) translate such policies to poverty alleviation.”

Valte tried to explain where the former President was coming from when the latter said the country was on track to going back to the 7.6 percent growth of GDP before she stepped down to become a representative of Pampanga.

In a radio interview, Valte pointed out that 2010 was an election year.

“Historically, if you look at all the data, growth is (fueled by) election spending. Ask any economist, they’ll tell you the same thing,” she said.

She cited the following government statistics to support her contention that the growth curb was highest in an election year: 1988, (6.8 percent); 2004 (6.7 percent); 2007 (6.6 percent); and 2010 (7.6 percent).

“But when you look at the GDP, if you exclude all the election years, our 6.6 GDP (percent) for 2012 is the fastest growth (that) the Philippine economy has seen in the past 30 years, surpassing all the past presidents, beginning from the former President Cory Aquino,” said Valte.

She did not say in the radio interview why she left out election years 1992, 1995, 1998 and 2001.

“I only mentioned elections years to contrast with ordinary years. I recall NSCB (National Statistical and Coordination Board) released a statement that the 6.6 percent is the fastest growth in the nonelection year in the past 30 years,” Valte told the Inquirer.

A check with the NSCB showed these data: GDP growth in 1992 was 0.3 percent; 1995, 4.7 percent; 1998, -0.6 percent; and 2001, 3.6 percent.

The highest GDP growth—an impressive 10.8 percent—was recorded by NSCB in 1951 during the time of President Elpidio Quirino.

Arroyo assumed office in January 2001, after then President Joseph Estrada was deposed by a military-backed civilian uprising.

She gained a fresh six-year mandate in 2004, but had to dodge allegations of corruption, extrajudicial killings and abuse of power for most of her nine-year presidency.

In the same statement, Arroyo said she “shares the commitment of President Aquino to integrity and opposition to corruption.”

Arroyo lauds Aquino for PH growth but there’s a rub By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:13 am | Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 29 1031 932


Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Call it faint praise, but former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday commended President Benigno Aquino III, her former student in economics at Ateneo de Manila University, over the 6.8-percent growth in the country’s gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The country’s-full year growth was pegged at 6.6 percent.

“It is welcome news,” Arroyo said in a statement issued through her spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn. “He is on track (to) restoring the growth of 7.9 percent where it was before the first half of 2010,” she added.

Arroyo said she would “support (Mr. Aquino’s) policies that (would) translate such policies to poverty alleviation.”

Acerbic paper

The statement was a complete departure from Arroyo’s acerbic paper titled “It’s the Economy, Student” that she wrote between October and December 2011 while in detention. The paper accused President Aquino of obscuring the economic gains of the Arroyo presidency to allegedly make up for the shortcomings of his own.

“Neither the President nor anyone else can truly expect to govern the next five years with nothing but a sorry mix of vilification, periodically recycled promises of action followed by lethargy, backed up by few, if any, results, and presumptuously encouraging gossip about one’s love life in which no one can possibly be interested,” Arroyo wrote in the 19-page paper.

The former President recalled that the country was riding on a 7.9-percent economic growth rate when she stepped down in 2010. But the growth slowed down to 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011.

“The momentum inherited by President Aquino was already slowing down, and despite his initial brief honeymoon period, he has simply not replaced my legacy with new ideas and actions of his own,” Arroyo said in her paper.

Different tune

But with the economy now enjoying impressive growth, Arroyo seemed to be singing a different tune.

In her statement, Arroyo said she “shares the commitment of President Aquino to integrity and opposition to corruption.”

“But the campaign against corruption must uphold the rule of law, due process and the independence of the judiciary,” she added.

Arroyo’s statement said she also “fought corruption through available legal remedies” such as the passage of the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2003, the Attrition Act of 2005, the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, and the Prosecution Service Act of 2010.

Rule of law

The statement added that Arroyo “followed the rule of law, due process, and the independence of the judiciary by respecting and implementing all court decisions, studiously avoiding any interference or comment on judicial proceedings and rulings.”

Mr. Aquino had been criticized in the past for publicly commenting on the merits of legal cases and ongoing judicial proceedings.

At the height of the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona last year, the President used a college forum to summarize the case against Corona and argue for his conviction.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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