MANILA, AUGUST 7, 2012 (ABS-CBN) By Willard Cheng -
After taking swipe at Kabayan, PNoy raps another news anchor

MANILA - President Aquino would rather not respond to critics who have called him names due to his support for the passage of the responsible parenthood/reproductive health (RH) bill.

He made the statement during a dialogue in Malacañang with students of PAREF Southridge School, part of an answer to a question from one of the students on how is it like to be President.

President Aquino said that he has tried to find a compromise from divergent points of views, citing the debates on the RH bill as an example.

"As father of the nation, I try to come up with that compromise which is a consensus of all the different factions, come up with something that everybody can live with," Aquino said.

He said that as a politician, he is expected not to be easily piqued by name-calling.

All the stress that he has to bear, he says, manifests in his having episodes of an acidic stomach.

"You will have very strident advocates of either side who will sometimes resort to name-calling that you cannot respond to. Being a politician… hindi ka pwede maasar, hindi ka pwede magalit, hindi ka pwede mapikon, madaming hindi ka pwede. Tapos lahat yan, may lalabasan. In my case, sometimes, I have acidic stomachs. I have an acidic stomach because of all the stress that you cannot leave out," he said.

The President also complained about being criticized no matter what he does. He cited people who criticized him for not including in his State of the Nation a mention about the Freedom of Information bill.

"No matter what you do, you will be criticized. You will rarely be praised," he said.

"There is an industry that seeks to criticize anything and everything I do. Chismis becomes an industry repeated by anonymous people who do not bother to check," he said.

PNoy raps news anchor for not verifying Edu's tweet

He also recalled an instance when a news anchor reported without verifying a tweet by actor Edu Manzano that the President was seen out on a date one afternoon.

The President stressed that he was at that time presiding over a meeting of the NEDA board and that the news organization should have first checked whether the tweet was true.

"It was tweeted by Edu Manzano, picked up by a cable channel-which I won't mention. It took a while for them to check-actually they didn't check. Some people who were here in the meeting heard about it and objected because they knew I was in a meeting. But did we even get an apology? And these are supposed to be responsible people and institutions," he said.

Why he accepted the job

Despite the downsides that come with the job, the President said he takes comfort from the feedback that the people give on how their lives have improved since he assumed office.

He said in jest that also counts the remaining time that he still has to stay in office.

On why accepted the call for him to run as President in 2010, Aquino told the students:

"I saw an opportunity. I could see an opportunity to radically transform this country and see the fruition of the dreams that were epitomized in EDSA. The reverse was: I'm not masochist, I could have said, 'Wait a minute. I opposed the creation of these problems, why should I be the one expect to solve the problems?' But I wouldn't have been able to face myself, let alone the people, if I could have effected certain changes and I chose not to based on personal comfort."

NEDA chief: Population boom stunts PH growth By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News Posted at 08/06/2012 3:10 PM | Updated as of 08/06/2012 3:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines' rapid population growth is preventing the economy from taking off, the country's chief economic planner told lawmakers.

Secretary Arsenio Balisacan (photo), director-general of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), told senators on Monday that the Philippines has been lagging behind its neighbors like Vietnam in terms of economic growth.

He said the Philippine economy grew only by 4.7 percent over the past 10 years because of a 2-percent yearly population growth rate. Unlike in other Asian countries, the Philippines also has more dependents than members of the labor force, he added.

"If you look at the East Asian experience ... during the last 20 years, a big part of the increase of per capita income comes from the fact that population growth patterns shifted from high dependency rate to lower dependency rate," Balisacan said during a Senate briefing on the proposed 2013 national budget.

He said the Philippines needs to have the same "demographic shift."

"Clearly, rapid population growth constrains our ability to move to a higher long-term growth," Balisacan, a former dean of the UP School of Economics, told reporters after the hearing.

"What we would really want to see is that we break away from that high dependence or high contribution of our young-age population in the total population," he added. He said that in the future, this would lead to a faster increase in the labor force, and contribute to greater economic growth.

Balisacan did not give a categorical answer when asked if he supports the reproductive health (RH) bill, a proposed law that is seen to address the population problem.

However, he cited the bill's advantages.

"The intention of the bill is really to provide opportunities for the poor people to manage their own family size and to be able to provide their children with better education through health and education investment," he said.

During Monday's hearing, some senators challenged Balisacan's claim on population and economic growth.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, an opponent of the RH bill, believes more foreign investments can lead to a better economy.

"For me, these are the most important ingredients of growth in any country. It's not population," he said. "All the prosperous countries, they didn't grow by themselves. They grew because of massive investments."

Enrile is pushing for Charter change to amend the Constitution's economic provisions and open the country to more foreign investments.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ralph Recto, a former NEDA chief, said inflation--the rise of prices related to an increase in the volume of money--is another factor to consider in measuring economic growth.

"If we have not grown as much as we should, there are many other issues and not just the population," he said.

According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco, the country's inflation has been going down. He said it was only 3 percent during the first half of the year, and is expected to rise only up to 4 percent in the next few years.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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