ARROYO ADMINISTRATION  TO HAVE A STRONG FINISH - ALBAY GOVERNOR

MANILA, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
(STAR) By Paolo Romero - Despite having gone through several politically-tumultuous events in the last nine years, the Arroyo administration will have a “strong finish” as far as the economy is concerned, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda (photo at left) said yesterday.

Salceda, who is Mrs. Arroyo’s economic adviser, in a statement pointed out some “underlying trends in the economy that indubitably point to a strong finish to the politically tumultuous term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.”

He said car sales in the country are up 33.8 percent versus 2009 and “are even higher the pre-crisis January 2008 level.” Passenger car sales also recovered 14.3 percent but commercial vehicles leapt 46 percent, he said.

The country’s exports rebounded by 23.6 percent in December after recovering 5.7 percent in November, Salceda said.

Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) increased 11.3 percent in November and are likely to have accelerated in December last year to January this year given the need for home rebuilding after the onslaught of storms Ondoy and Pepeng, he said.

Salceda said property analysts Richard Ellis also reported a pickup in property sales, mostly driven by the business process outsourcing sector whose revenues grew 19 percent in 2009.

Non-residential construction leapt 41 percent in the third quarter of 2009, he said.

“Taken together with reconstruction works and election spending, aggregate demand is likely to pick up in the first half of 2009 particularly with monetary policy remaining benign,” he said.

He noted that the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. is projecting 5.1 percent growth this year while government is likely to upgrade its 2.6 to 3.6 percent GDP projection.

“We see 4.2 percent (GDP) in the first half of 2009 as very much on the bag,” Salceda said.

“Moreover, she will be the first to end her term with a stronger peso even if significantly due to OFW remittances,” he said.

President Arroyo had faced serious attempts to overthrow her first in May 2001 or less than five months after she assumed office. This was followed by the Oakwood mutiny in 2003 and similar coup attempts in 2005 and 2006.

She was also subject of at least two attempts to impeach her in the House of Representatives.

He compared the Arroyo government’s strong economic finish to that of previous administrations that “invariably ended with a bust.”

He said the Marcos regime collapsed with an economic crisis, the Aquino administration ended with a power crisis; former President Fidel Ramos stepped down from office in 1998 with the Philippines battered by the Asian financial crisis, which was not of his making, and the Estrada government was toppled due to political crisis.

“Indeed, even critics must concede that these positive economic figures coincided with her term of office. At least, she is lucky, very lucky,” Salceda said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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