Press Release
June 30, 2009


Opposition Senator Chiz Escudero yesterday challenged Malacañang to provide the public with the proper accounting of the foreign travels of President Arroyo and enumerate the so-called billions of dollars in investments raised during those trips.

Escudero said the country saw a decline of 79.2 percent in foreign direct investments during the last quarter of 2008 due to the global economic financial crisis.

"This trend continued during the first quarter of 2009, when investments plummeted by 85 percent during the first quarter of 2008. So I now dare Malacañang to show us the so-called fruits of President Arroyo's travels abroad, which it claims to be in the billions of dollars," he said.

The senator said total approved foreign direct investments in the country declined to P21.4 billion during the fourth quarter of 2008 from a high of P102.6 billion for the same period in 2007.

Escudero said the total foreign direct investments for 2008 (P182.7 billion) dropped by 15.1 percent from 2007 (P215.2 billion).

Investments in the first quarter of 2009 amounted to only P2.1 billion.

"With these figures, I find it hard to believe the pronouncements of Malacañang in defending President Arroyo's use of her frequent flyer's miles. Let us be specific and list down by country the so-called billions of dollars in investments that has been poured into the country," Escudero said.

"Until that happens, we should stick to what we do know: that the cost of President Arroyo's travels has breached P3 billion since she assumed power."

He said that the total amount of foreign investments poured into the country from 2002 to 2008 amounts to P913.5 billion, or an average of P130.5 billion a year.

"When converted to dollars, the investments poured into the country in a seven-year period amount to about $18.9 billion. In contrast, China earned $21 billion in investments during the first quarter of 2009, earning more in three months what we have earned in seven years," Escudero explained.

The senator said that instead of frequently touring the globe, President Arroyo should have been improving the economic climate here in the country before she goes out trying to attract investors.

"The problem here is not the product, but the salesperson herself. During her administration, we have become one of the most notoriously corrupt nations in the world, ranking 141st on the list of Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index," he said.

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