ECO  ROAD SHOW:  TRICKLE-DOWN  EFFECT  A  BIG  CHALLENGE, SAYS  ECO TEAM

ILOILO CITY,
MARCH 6, 2007 (STAR) President Arroyo’s economic team admitted yesterday that ensuring that the benefits of a stronger economy will trickle down to the people is a big challenge.

"That is a huge challenge to the economic team," said Trade Secretary Peter Favila during the Philippine Economic Briefing Domestic Road Show here.

Favila was accompanied by Finance Secretary Gary Teves and Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya.

The road show was not meant to paint a rosy picture of the economy but to tell the people how the issues affecting the country’s economy are being addressed, Favila stressed.

"We get on the ground and get the pulse of the people," he said, adding that they consider three factors in deciding whether the improved economy is felt – income levels, job creation, and stable prices of goods.

"The better the economy, the more stable the prices," he said.

Favila is set to meet with cement producers and dealers soon in view of the expected rise in cement prices during the summer season.

He said cement producers and dealers have benefited from the economic progress in the country. Thus, it is only fair that they allow the effects to trickle down to the people.

On job creation, he noted that business process outsourcing is becoming the number one industry in the country as it has been steadily providing jobs, especially in call centers.

Favila said they will be giving incentives to business outsourcing firms outside of Metro Manila.

"Now it’s time to bring progress to the countryside," he said. "We remain conscious of the demand of the people to feel the effects of a better economy trickle down to their level."

Government officials also boast of having addressed the country’s budget deficit.

"Our declining deficit, lower interest payments and rising revenue collection will allow us to invest an additional P369 billion over the next four years to build new infrastructure and to improve social services such as education," Andaya said in a statement.

Yesterday’s road show is part of a nationwide series of briefings on the Philippine economy.

The economic team is also slated to go to Central and Southern Luzon, Pampanga, Baguio, and possibly the Bicol region. – Ronilo Pamonag


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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