GMA  CITES  REASONS  FOR  OPTIMISM

MALACANANG,  October 8, 2004
(OFFICE  OF  THE  PRESS  SECRETARY)
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last night said she was highly upbeat about the country’s future, pointing out that the Philippines is the only nation in Southeast Asia and North Asia whose vision index has risen while those of others have declined.

The vision index of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a measure of business sentiment.

Speaking at the Gala Dinner of the 30th Philippine Business Conference at the Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel Wednesday night, the President revealed that the country’s business index sentiment rose from 20.3 to 22.9.

"I read that a survey conducted by JETRO showed that the vision index, which is a measure of business sentiment among Japanese companies, declined in all countries in ASEAN and North Asia this September from the previous month, except for the Philippines," the President said.

She noted how strikes have gone down to almost zero and a "no strike, no retrenchment" agreement was signed last Monday between the Employees Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and three giant labor federations representing two-thirds of unionized workers in the country.

The International Monetary Fund has raised its growth forecast in the Philippines while the stock market surged to its highest level in nearly five years, the President said.

She also mentioned that the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 6.3 percent was the highest the country registered since the Asian crisis and one of the highest today in the region.

"All these – GNP, stock market, no strike, no retrenchment – all of these are because of your work, the business community. Congratulations to you," the President said.

Despite her optimism, the Chief Executive cautioned, however, that the underlying growth components of the country, while respectable, have not been so robust.

"That is why we are determined to put our fiscal house in order," she said, adding that the fiscal road map she distributed to the delegates during the conference was part of her administration’s medium term plan.

The fiscal road map, she said, has three objectives, namely:


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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