GMA  TO  BUSINESSMEN:  HELP  BRING  PESO  TO  50 TO $1

MANILA,  October 7, 2004
(STAR)
By Marichu Villanueva - President Arroyo asked businessmen last night to help her stabilize the peso to a rate of 50 to $1.

Addressing the 30th Philippine Business Conference organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) at the Manila Hotel, the President cited favorable signs in the economy such as the 6.3 percent growth in gross domestic product, a no-strike, no-retrenchment "social accord" forged by employers and labor groups, a modest growth forecast by the International Monetary Fund and the recent stock market surge.

"Now I ask you to bring the exchange rate to 50 pesos to a dollar," Mrs. Arroyo appealed to her audience. The peso breached the 56:$1 level recently an all-time low.

She also announced she had instructed National Economic and Development Authority chief Romulo Neri to unveil on Monday her six-year Medium Term Development Plan, which she dubbed "Beating the Odds."

"This is the starting point which Secretary Neri will unveil Monday. The major task is to fight poverty and build prosperity for the greatest number of people, create jobs," the President said.

Mrs. Arroyo vowed to her audience that she would bring the message of "national pride" and "continuing engagement with the world" when she leaves for Vietnam today to attend the Asia-Europe meeting in Hanoi, as well as at the summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

In another development during the gathering, the President handed to Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. the award for the city being the most business-friendly local government unit in Metro Manila.

It was the second straight year that Quezon City bagged the award, elevating it to the Hall of Fame in the PCCI awards.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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