PGMA: Declining foreign debt means stronger fight vs poverty
Manila (1 April) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today the country's declining foreign debt is part of her administration's efforts of "cleaning up the mess of the past" to ensure a stronger fight against poverty.
"The yoke of foreign debt is slowly being lifted from the shoulders of the people as the government continues to respond to one of the most telling issues in our contemporary history," she said in a statement.
The country's outstanding external debt dropped by 1.5 percent to $53.4 billion in 2006 from $819 billion in 2005 as a result of the strengthening of the peso against the dollar which led to net principal repayments made throughout the year.
On a quarterly basis, the debt stock declined by $694 million or 1.3 percent from $54.1 billion in September 2006, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The BSP said it recorded net principal repayments of $766 million in the fourth quarter and nearly $1.3 billion for the whole of 2006.
The President pointed out that although one cannot blame the past, the country can still do something about the huge debt burden if Filipinos could only 'keep politics in the sidelines, fix up the fiscal house, shore up investment and growth and bring the productivity and excellence of the Filipino to the forefront."
"The declining debt of the country is part of cleaning up the mess of the past and taking the high road to the future," she emphasized.
Less debt, the President explained, means a stronger fight against poverty while accelerated debt payment mean broader confidence in the Philippines and more investments and jobs for the people.
"Less debt also means investing more in people as we pave the way for greater economic and political security to increase out competitive edge in the world and liberate millions from the specter of cyclic destitution," she said.
The President pointed out that she's determined to ride the momentum of her economic reform measures and remain focused at the task at hand. (OPS/PIA) [top]