Press Release
December 15, 2008

Take WB warning seriously, Loren asks government

Senator Loren Legarda warned yesterday the government against indulging in too much politics, while not paying attention to the "grim" prospects of the country's economy next year.

"The government is acting as if it has nothing to worry about despite the fact that panic buttons are being pushed left and right by most countries in trying to resuscitate their economies," Loren said.

Loren issued the statement in the face of the World Bank's pronouncement that the global financial meltdown is expected to affect considerably the economies of the East Asia, including the Philippines.

According to the World Bank, developing countries like the Philippines may not escape the clutches of the financial turmoil, and that they should "sharply lower growth next year."

"Where can you find a government so busy with other things like charter change when the ominous signs of an impending economic downturn are right before us? Only in the Philippines," Loren said.

From a growth rate of 7.2 percent percent in 2007, the Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to shrink to 4.3 percent in 2008 and to just 3 percent next year.

After the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the American International Group early this year, Loren said the government should have already readied itself and put in place contingency plans that would insulate the country from further upheavals.

"Instead, it acts with complacency, without a sense of urgency," said Loren. "Worse, it has completely lost the confidence of the people, especially on its sincerity on why it pushes a revision of the constitution."

"Cha-cha is being seen by Filipinos for what it really is - an effort by this administration to extend its term beyond 2010," she said.

According to Loren, the government should focus its attention on encouraging the private sectors or individuals to join hands in pump-priming the economy.

Loren also urged the government to fully support micro, small and medium scale industries (MSMEs) which she said could be of great help in keeping the economy going by producing much-needed jobs.

"The government cannot take for granted the role these MSMEs give to the economy," said Loren, adding that the private sector helps many a breadwinner to survive or improve his livelihood under any circumstance. As job markets for Filipinos overseas contract, Loren said the government and the private sector must spur livelier economic activities locally.

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