Press Release
December 8, 2007


Senator Mar Roxas demanded for the government to reveal its plan on how to aid all sectors that will be affected by the unfettered strength of the peso, including not only Filipino workers abroad but also those in domestic industries.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce warned that if this situation is not addressed, this could lead in the medium-term to the displacement of workers of the export sector and in producers of goods consumed locally.

"Walk the talk. Where's the 'social payback' due our people? OFWs and exporters have been complaining for months about decreased incomes, and have been demanding action from their government to ease their plight," he said.

"The government could not afford to be oblivious not just to the immediate hardships of our 8 million OFWs and 3.5 million exporters but also to the real threat of lost incomes and jobs in local industries due to this continuing trend," he stressed.

The peso has continued to climb in two years, closing at P41.74 against the dollar before the weekend, or 16% stronger than the P49.13 rate as of end-2006. The peso is at its strongest since May 2000, when the exchange rate was P41.73 per dollar. Roxas noted this has aided in the payment of foreign debt and buffered the rise in world oil prices.

On the other hand, Roxas said that exporters, despite probably earning the same amount in dollars, have smaller profits due to the peso's hike. Meanwhile, local industries producing goods for local consumption could also take a hit from the entry of competing imported goods, which are already cheap but gained additional price advantage due to the strong currency.

He warned that government inaction as the peso continues to climb may turn the present inconveniences experienced by OFWs and exporters to outright disasters for them and their families.

"I'd like to see a concrete, workable plan on how to deal with possible shutting down of firms, plants and factories, or even massive layoffs, in case of a further strengthening of the peso that would put local goods at a disadvantage to those from abroad," he said.

It was reported that the President said she will not intervene to arrest the peso's increase, in fact, saying that this is an indicator of economic growth. The Senator, however, pointed out that it was imperative upon the government to regularly assess economic conditions and shape its policy accordingly.

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