Press Release
February 13, 2009

Loren blames corruption for RP poverty

Sen. Loren Legarda yesterday blamed corruption and "massive waste of resources" for the extensive poverty in the Philippines. In a speech to the students of the University of San Jose Recoletos in this city, Loren said that economic studies have shown that countries are poor not so much for lack of resources but because of corruption.

"The reality in our country today sadly confirms this finding and shows it to be true," she said. She bewailed that "most of our people have suffered from poverty and deprivation long enough." Loren challenged the Filipino youth to involve themselves in efforts to demolish corruption in the Philippines and to involve themselves in economic activities that would harness the nation's resources for the general welfare.

"As entrepreneurs of the future, I challenge you, the youth of our land, to explore opportunities to build your own businesses from modest beginnings, make your contributions towards creating jobs, generating value added, mobilizing rural resources in the production of goods and services for domestic, as well as for foreign markets," Loren told the students during an open forum.

"As the youth of our land, it also falls upon your shoulders to push the quest for change in our government," she stated, referring to the people's struggle against graft and corruption in government.

Loren said that even as the rest of the world goes about seeking measures that will revive national economies, "our challenge is to find and pursue the means to endpermanent poverty and bring economic opportunities to the most isolated rural economies of our country."

Loren cited two laws that she had sponsored that could spur development in the rural areas with the help of the youth. These are Republic Act 9501,a law amending the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and R.A. 9509 (Kabuhayan Bill)which would provide livelihood opportunities for the unemployed.

"I believe that the engine of growth and development for the Philippine economy is our army of well-educated manpower, which can be harnessed through entrepreneurial activity in micro, small and medium scale enterprises," she said.

"In order to achieve significant economic growth, our government needs to pursue policies that would dismantle monopolies, open up markets to competition and popular participation, and create opportunities that empower people to become productive and participate in economic activity," she said.

"These laws which I pursued for their immediate passage and were recently enacted, should be able to facilitate the much-needed proliferation of MSMEs, especially in the countryside," she asserted.

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