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                                                                                                                                                 Refer to: Ms. Marge A. Jorillo


04 April 2006                   

“If what we need is change in the form of government, so be it. Let that change proceed in a manner that is consistent with the will of our people.”

This was the message of Vice President Noli De Castro, emphasizing that the national interest must prevail at all times, in his address during the recent 2006 Philippine Development Forum.

Alluding to recent political developments confronting the nation, De Castro said before the gathering of different stakeholders that Filipinos should not allow themselves “to be distracted from the true focus of governance, which is development.”

The Vice President reiterated a recurring theme during the two-day forum pointing to progress in the country’s economic reform agenda.

“Sustainable revenue measures are now in place. The ratio of national government deficit to gross domestic product has declined. The sale of non-performing assets of the banking system has started to move. A debt consolidation program is in effect through the recent bond exchange initiated by the Bureau of Treasury,” he said.

De Castro cited the effects of such reforms, indicating the market’s positive acceptance of these developments.

“Interest rates are going down. The peso has been strengthening compared to the dollar for some time now. Inflation has been placed under control. The stock market has turned bullish. Even the rating agencies have recognized our efforts, and both Fitch and Standard and Poor’s have upgraded our outlooks from, ‘negative’ to ‘stable,’” he said.

However, the Vice President admitted that these economic gains have yet to be “fully translated into real benefits that our people can feel today.” 

He pointed out the need for more investment in education, housing and health.

‘We need more school buildings, better teachers, more books, decent housing units, more hospitals, more medicines. We have to provide a steady supply of water and electricity to more families at cheaper rates. We have to make basic commodities more affordable. And above all, we have to provide jobs, jobs and jobs to our ever-increasing labor force,” De Castro pointed out.

“Development on the ground remains as the biggest challenge that this government , and any government in the future, will have to confront,” he said.

For true development to become a reality, he said, requires the involvement of all stakeholders, a strong state and good governance.

“The state  should be able to decide in favour of the common good, and not give in to one or a number of vested interests…We need to organize ourselves in a manner that will facilitate the policy process.”                                                                                             HOME | back-to-top

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