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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     15 October  2011                       

Aquino assures business community

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd assured members of the business community and the public that the government is “ready to deal” with economic uncertainties the world is facing today that have impacted the Philippines.

Apparent proof of that is the recently unveiled P72-billion (US$1.7 billion) stimulus package that the government allocated for infrastructure and poverty alleviation projects.

The funds were generated by the Aquino administration’s exercise of “fiscal prudence” over the last 15 months.

“There are many of us who feel uncertain and that is natural. But I am here to tell you that our government is ready to deal with these problems. Fifteen months of fiscal prudence and taking the necessary steps to ensure that money is spent wisely have given us the wherewithal to have decisively addressed the economic uncertainty we face today,” President Aquino said in a speech during the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (PCCI) 37th Business Conference and Expo held at the Manila Hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion on Thursday evening.

The President met on Friday morning with members and officers of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Inc. during a courtesy call.

The group, led by its president Tan Ching, donated P20 million to the Department of Social Welfare and Development that will be used for relief and rehabilitation for calamity victims.

Mr. Aquino reiterated to PCCI members the rundown of the P72-billion stimulus package, emphasizing that the projects to be supported by the funds will not be done merely to boost the economy but for the people “to feel the effects immediately.”

“Our people are the ultimate beneficiaries here and these projects are important because we know that through these we can take significant steps towards alleviating poverty and addressing the needs of our countrymen,” he said.

Of the P72-billion stimulus program, the President said that at least P6.5-billion will go to local government units to fund vital infrastructure or poverty alleviation projects; P5.5-billion for projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways; P10-billion for the relocation of informal settlers residing in danger zones; and P4.5-billion and P1.868-billion for the improvement of the Metro Rail Transit and Light Transit lines.

Meanwhile, he thanked PCCI for supporting the administration’s bid to improve the economy, recalling that the group attended inaugurations and groundbreaking ceremonies for new businesses since the start of his presidency.

“So many businesses setting up shop had me rushing to one inauguration event after another, giving me little time to rest but I am not complaining. You can tire me more if you want to and the only requirement is it amounts to something and not just photo opportunities,” Mr. Aquino said.

“Since we saw each other last, the Philippines has garnered four positive rating actions from credit rating agencies such as Fitch’s and Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Our country moved up 10 places in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. We are now at 75th place from 85th in 2010,” he added.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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