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PGMA upbeat on economy after peaceful polls

MANILA, May 16 - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expects
political stability to reign in the country as a result of the generally
peaceful and fair elections last Monday that would pave the way for her
administration’s continued economic reforms.

In an interview with James Hookway of Wall Street Journal Asia this
morning in Malacanang, the President said her confidence is due to the
"good, peaceful, free and fair elections."

"We can continue on our path of economic reforms towards our pro-growth,
pro-poor and pro-modernization agenda," she pointed out.

Although the results of the senatorial elections are just beginning to be
officially canvassed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the
President said majority of administration candidates have won as
congressmen, mayors and governors.

"The national results are just beginning to be counted but the
congressional and local results are almost all in. I believe we will have
an even bigger majority in the House and an almost complete sweep of the
local chief executives," the President said.

At his weekly media briefing in Malacanang this afternoon, Executive
Secretary Eduardo Ermita noted that the peso continued to improve despite
the elections, which is a reflection of the local and foreign investors’
confidence in the Philippine economy.

After the peaceful polls, the peso closed at P47.06 to the dollar Tuesday,
the highest in six years, while share prices in the Philippine Stock
Exchange also rose to their highest levels in 10 years.

Ermita said that despite domestic and external challenges, the Philippines
has sustained its economic growth with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
expansion rising from the 1.8 percent in 2001 to 5.4 percent in 2006.

He pointed out that the Gross National Product (GNP) growth also went up
from 5.6 percent in 2005 to 6.2 percent in 2006, while March 2007
inflation was at 2.2 percent, the lowest since April 1987.

Ermita said export growth also rose from $ 36.2 billion in 2002 to $ 47
billion in 2006, while export receipts for the first two months of 2007
stood at $ 7.7 billion, which is 14.2 percent bigger than the same period
last year.

"We are hopeful, especially after the elections that our economic
indicators will continue to improve. In spite of the elections, the peso
continues to improve which means there is confidence as far as the market
is concerned. As far as local and foreign investors are concerned, there
is confidence in the Philippine economy," he added. (PNA)



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