GMA  HOPES  TO  CUT  POVERTY  TO  18%  BY  2010

MALACAÑANG,
MARCH 14, 2007 (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hopes to reduce poverty incidence in the country to 18 percent at the end of her term in 2010, down from 28 percent when she assumed power in 2001.

In an interview with Manila Overseas Press Club chairman and Biznews Asia publisher Antonio Lopez in Malacanang this afternoon, the President backed up her optimism with the unprecedented economic surge under her administration.

"We have gained huge elbow room to bring more resources to bear upon vital basic services and infrastructure programs that will continue to lift the people from poverty, drive investments and jobs and consolidate the national network of excellence and enterprise," she said.

The Chief Executive, early in her term, had set in place a program of governance with the twin goals of sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation, and lasting political stability and peace.

The program is anchored on the four core values of poverty eradication, that include addressing inequities that perpetuate disempowerment, marginalization and destitution.

The aim is to enable indigent and other vulnerable groups to realize their potentials and share in the benefits of development.

The President said that her vision goes beyond the year 2010 when the nation, she hopes, would join the ranks of First World countries.

"The declining debt of the country is a clear marker on the road to a balanced budget, durable confidence in the Philippines and the full social payback of economic reforms," she had earlier said in a statement.

The President attributed the economic surge to her primal focus on economic goal and full discipline to achieve this goal.

"I have goals and I really keep track of the compliance of these goals like reduction of fiscal deficit to reach a balance budget by year 2010," she said.

The President said she is focused at present on governance, unmindful of the distractions of the coming midterm elections. She, however, expressed hopes that the election would focus on the real issues.

"I have great hope that the Filipino voters would vote based on the candidate’s character and his or her position on issues rather than on prejudice," she said.

The President bared that a Saudi Arabian company intends to invest $150 million in constructing a resort in Bohol, and $7.5 million in a hotel establishment in Makati City.

"Many businessmen have told me that they’ve never seen the economy grow good as this one," she said.

Statement of the President Re: Declining Debt

The declining debt of the country is clear marker on the road to a balanced budget, durable confidence in the Philippines and the full social payback of economic reforms.

We have gained huge elbow room to bring more resources to bear upon vital basic services and infrastructure programs that will continue to lift the people from poverty, drive investments and jobs and consolidate the national network of excellence and enterprise.

We shall continue to undertake all measures to break down the shackles of debt that has kept a generation of Filipinos in the grip of cyclical poverty, and liberate our human resources for greater productivity and social mobility.

I will pursue this crusade to liberate the people from economic oppression with the same resolve to reform the politics of this nation, banish terror and uphold the rule of law.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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