CHANGE MUST BE
CONSISTENT WITH PEOPLE'S WILL - VP NOLI
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
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,”
De Castro cited the effects of such
reforms, indicating the market’s positive acceptance of these
“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.”