GOVT  READIES  PLANS  TO  SOFTEN  IMPACT  OF  LOOMING  U.S.  RECESSION

MALACAÑANG, OCTOBER 15, 2008 (OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY) The Arroyo administration is poised to accelerate spending in the infrastructure sector as part of contingency plans to soften the impact of the global financial crisis and a looming US recession on the country. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told the officers of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) this morning that government economic managers and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) were putting together the contingency plans.

As part of the plans, government funding for infrastructure projects would exceed the figures contained in the Medium-Term Public Infrastructure Program (MTPIP).

The proposed infrastructure spending program seeks the expansion of the infrastructure component of the MTPIP, she said.

Earlier, the President ordered the economic managers and DOLE to draw up plans to lessen the impact of the worldwide financial crisis on the Filipinos, especially the poor.

The plans include strategies to pump-prime growth, upgrade infrastructure spending, protect labor from the terrible blows of the crisis, and to expand social services.

She said the contingency plans might be ready for presentation in greater detail during the Philippines Business Forum at the Manila Hotel on Oct. 22.

The accelerated infrastructure spending provision in the contingency plans, the President said, includes greater participation by Government Financial Institutions (GFIs), government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), the private sector and the local government units (LGUs).

“Our economic managers have come up with a comprehensive and integrated infrastructure program” that is actually an expanded version of the infrastructure portion of the MTPIP, she said.

The President also said that funding for the program will come from public and private sector sources, the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) loans, the General Appropriations Act (GAA), public-private partnership or joint venture and the proceeds generated by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) and NG-LGU cost-sharing.

“Thus, our contingency measures involve you, the LGUs,” the President said, as she exhorted the local government executives to maximize their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) funds for the uplift of the lives of the people.

The labor contingency plan, the President said, includes the expatriates’ livelihood support fund which will serve as buffer fund for the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that may be displaced by the global economic meltdown.

“It can serve as counterpart fund for returning expats’ livelihood projects,” she said, adding that the details of the contingency plans will be threshed out by the DOLE for presentation at an appropriate event.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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