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March 14, 2009

Philippines president signs $29bn anti-recession budget

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo on Friday signed into law a 1.414 trillion peso ($29.2 billion) budget that will boost state spending to stave off recession, AFP quoted officials as saying.

The budget "will pave the way for public spending that will blunt the effects of the global economic downturn on the country," Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya told reporters at the signing ceremony.

The budget includes a 330 billion peso stimulus package for infrastructure, temporary jobs and cash handouts for the poor to keep the economy working as exports tank.

The government last month cut its 2009 growth forecast to between 3.7 and 4.4 percent and warned the budget deficit would soar to 178 billion pesos, about 2.2 percent of gross domestic product, as it borrows more money for the stimulus programme.

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