Press Release
October 23, 2008


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today said the Arroyo Administration must use the current global economic turmoil as a chance to reexamine its way of governance, or else plunge the country further down the abyss of socio-economic ruin.

"The crisis we are facing is huge. We still have time to prepare. The government has to own up to the magnitude of the crisis, to use it for catharsis, a drastic correction of the way it functions," said Roxas during the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), in which he was guest speaker, in Makati.

He criticized the lack of transparency and accountability in the executive's operations, which has led to great distrust among the populace for their leaders.

"Our people are getting the sense that no one is in charge. No one is on the driver's seat. No one is steering and calibrating the course of our nation," said Roxas, citing among other instances the recent failed peace agreement between the government and Bangsamoro representatives, as well as the Philippines failing the corruption control standards set by the United States' Millennium Challenge Corp., falling from the 76th percentile two years ago to the 47th percentile this year.

"More than ever, we must spend properly and prudently. The government's ability to use public spending to protect the vulnerable from greater misery, exploit opportunities in a downturn, and advance our further development despite the challenging environment will be a prime imperative," he said.

Roxas has pushed for changes in the budget amounting to P100 billion that would direct government spending in the most effective manner to neutralize the worst of the economic crisis' worst effects. For the Ilonggo senator, the budget should focus on food security, job security, and health and education services, as well as strengthening of the country's financial institutions.

"Any strategy will be useless, though, if our government fails to regain the trust of the people, because more than anything else, this global crisis is above all a crisis of confidence in institutions," he said.

"The impact of the turmoil will not be isolated to the stock or financial markets. It is likely to have real effects: on the demand for our exports of goods and services, on the flow of foreign direct investments and OFW remittances, and ultimately, on jobs and household incomes," he said, noting that the US was still the number one market for Philippine imports and business process outsourcing services, and the top source of remittances of OFWs.

Roxas has also filed bills for a temporary increase in protection of bank deposits, a moratorium on home foreclosures and early withdrawal penalties for bank accounts of a five-year term or less, and a three-year income tax credit program for employers hiring new regular or permanent employees.

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