Press Release
NEDA briefing on the 3Q economic performance
BSP, Pasay City
November 29, 2006

Transcript of interview with Senator Mar Roxas

Sir, please expound on your comment earlier that cha-cha is a major distraction in the performance of the economy?

The economy registered relatively disappointing statistics in the 3rd quarter and carried by the strength in the first semester. Needless to say this could have been better; it is principally consumption-led growth fueled by the remittances of our OFWs.

We see strength in consumption; we see weakness in production. That means that this demand or consumption is being met by external supply, meaning imports. How much better would it be if our own demand here is supplied by production, also here in our own economy?

For example, food and beverage production was a little bit weak versus the earlier parts of the year and last year and mainly we have been buying what our needs are from abroad. So it will be better for us, as well as for jobs and livelihood, if we are able to strengthen our domestic production.

The investment figures are relatively soft and if you note that nearly half of our external debt under the ROPsit means that there is money owned by Filipinos except that they prefer to be creditors to our country rather than investors or entrepreneurs.

So I think this is a symptom that they are not as confident about putting their money here as equity but they are only confident of putting it here as debtors, meaning pinapautang sa gobyerno.

What are the distractions that you were mentioning are affecting this?

I think the cha-cha continues to be a distraction and I am calling on its advocates to set it aside. In fact, all of the problems that the NEDA and that the economists are saying that beset our economy can be addressed in the near immediate, medium term by structural reforms, and governance reforms given the structure that we have now; given the Constitution that we have now and so this is not the weak link that holds back our economy.

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