GMA  SAYS  SMALLER  RP  DEBT  PART  OF  'CLEANING  UP  MESS  OF  THE  PAST'

MANILA,
APRIL 1, 2007 (STAR) President Arroyo welcomed the reduction of the Philippines’ outstanding foreign debt and said it was part of "cleaning up the mess of the past."

In a press statement, the President said the declining debt burden "means a stronger fight against poverty; accelerated debt payments mean broader confidence in the Philippines and more investments and jobs for the people."

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported the other day that the country’s outstanding external debt has gone down by 1.5 percent to $53.4 billion in 2006 from $54.2 billion in 2005.

According to the BSP, the reduction of the 2006 debt figures was due to the net principal repayments of $766 million in the fourth quarter and nearly $1.3 billion for the entire year.

"The yoke of foreign debt is slowly being lifted from the shoulders of the people as the government continues to respond to one of the most telling issues in our contemporary history," the President said.

Mrs. Arroyo also said efforts to cut down the huge debt burden will be enhanced if politics is kept to the sidelines, the country’s fiscal house is fixed, investments and growth are shored up and the Filipino’s productivity and excellence is brought to the forefront.

"Less debt also means investing more in people as we pave the way for greater economic and political security to increase our competitive edge in the world and liberate millions from the specter of cyclic destitution," she added.

"I am determined to strike up the tempo of reform and keep our sights focused on the economy and the people’s business," the President said. – Marvin Sy<


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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