Press Release
October 17, 2008


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas on Friday said that the controversy over the so-called World Bank bailout fund shows that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is not getting the right information in handling the looming economic crisis.

"Kung hindi tumpak, wasto at napapanahon ang impormasyong ibinibigay ng mga opisyal ng gobyerno sa Pangulo, ano pa kaya ang maaasahan natin sa Pangulo kundi mga palpak na desisyon? (If government officials do not give the President precise, correct and timely information, what kind of decisions do we expect the President to make but wrong ones?)" Roxas said.

"Masyado naman silang sabik na magpa-pogi sa mga kapitbahay natin sa ASEAN. Pero hindi naman nila sineseryoso ang mga panawagan na repasuhin ang budget. (They're too eager to gain 'pogi points' from our ASEAN neighbors. On the other hand, they're not taking calls to revise the budget seriously)," he stressed.

Roxas said this in relation to the announcement made by President Arroyo on Wednesday that an understanding for the creation of a standby regional fund was reached in Washington, and the World Bank has pledged to contribute $10 billion to it. The next day, the World Bank denied making such a commitment while Singapore, an ASEAN member, said it was not aware of any such plan to set up a standby fund, forcing Malacañang to retract such statement.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce said that the government should "get real" and realize that its own actions will be key to shielding the local economy from the effects of the global crisis. Help from regional or international partners, he said, is just part of the solution.

"Nasa kamay ng gobyerno ang pinakamabisang paraan para salbahin ang mga kababayan natin mula sa krisis - ang budget na nagkakahalagang P1.4 trilyon. (In the hands of the government is the most potent tool to save the people from the crisis, which is the P1.4 trillion budget for next year)," he said.

"This is a substantial amount that should be focused on the pressing needs of the people--food security, education and health services, and support to small businesses. If we spend this budget the way we've been spending it these past few years, it will not be of any help to the people," he stressed.

"If ASEAN members cooperate or if international aid bodies display generosity, then well and good. But what we should bank on is whether the government will do its job," he said.

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