Press Release
July 8, 2008


Senator Mar Roxas called on the government's economic managers to tell the people, in black and white, what economic and fiscal policies are being implemented by the government at present.

"Let's be upfront with the people and tell them in unadulterated terms what policies we are implementing now and why; what have been changed and what have been retained. It's their right to know: they're the ones who will suffer if we do a bad job," he said.

"We see signs that our policies have indeed changed. For one, all these subsidies being announced were not specifically stated in this year's budget. Surely, there must be a sound reason for these subsidies," he added.

The Liberal Party President said the people must know if the government's economic managers are basing their decisions on sound policy and public welfare.

"I do hope that 'choking an already hyperventillating economy' is not part of policy," he stressed.

Roxas said the government's refusal to support the removal or even the suspension of the value-added tax (VAT) on oil products only shows insensitivity to the people and a policy that means piggybacking on the people's pain to gain a windfall.

"Natataranta na tayo kung may kamag-anak tayong nasa ospital. Pero bakit ngayon, na buong pamilya natin--buong bansa--ay nasa emergency room na, hindi pa rin naaantig ang gobyerno? (If we have a relative who's confined in the hospital, we're already in panic. Now that almost our whole family--the country itself--is in the emergency room, why does it seem that the government is not even worried?)," he said.

"What does the government want, to earn a windfall despite the people's suffering, and then look good by giving the money back through subsidies? It would be better to leave the money in the people's pockets--they know best how to spend it--instead of having it pass through the government and be politicized in the process," he added.

The Chairman of the Senate trade committee also wants the government economic managers to clarify if it would increase interest rates or not, and what would be the effect if the government takes either track.

"The government may have a good reason why it may increase interest rates. But I do think that's the wrong policy to take, because it will further choke an economy that's already hyperventillating," he said, explaining that the cause of inflation experience at present is not 'overheating' due to local economic activity but to external factors, particularly the global oil and food price shocks.

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