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PIA Press Release

PGMA's Departure Statement on Her Visit to New York

Manila, 26 September 2007

Tonight we leave for New York to deliver our Country Report to the United Nations General Assembly, to actively participate in two international fora, to meet with US business leaders with present and potential investment in the Philippines, and to meet our kababayans in New York and environs. All these meetings are in pursuit of our policy of active global engagement.

In all these fora, I will bring to the our international audience and stakeholders the very important message that is threatened to be drowned by the chronic political noise.

Our economy has reached a new level of maturity and stability with some of the strongest macroeconomic fundamentals in 20 years. We have aimed high and have met the challenge: six years ago, no one thought we could get more revenues, cut down on tax cheats, strengthen the peso and move the stock market. And no one thought I could bring our budget into balance, as we did last month, prepay our debts and raise employment, but we have.

Today, the Philippines is on a path to permanent economic growth and stability. Investments are pouring in, the peso is strong, our stock market has reached historic heights and we have created 6 million jobs in six years. And the world is taking notice: I believe the Philippines offers one of the best values in Asia for domestic and foreign investors.

The surge of investments has been anchored by the billion dollar investments in the Philippines of several major international companies, including Texas Instruments, Korea's Hanjin and Japan's Marubeni and Tokyo Electric and lately, America's AES. This is happening across the board in a number of industries. We are working to ensure this will be sustained. We are committed to consolidating the gains in new revenue by making long overdue investments in human and physical infrastructure. This includes billions of pesos in education, healthcare and training, along with billions in new bridges, roads and ports to upgrade the competitiveness of the Philippines.

We take great pride in the discipline of our administration to focus on the economy and our overall economic health. I am personally proud of the fact that external debt is being prepaid at a rapid clip, optimistic that we will balance the budget in 2008, two years ahead of schedule, and that we are making sure to use the gains to invest in vital social and economic needs.

As an economist, I believe in the power of the global trading system to alleviate poverty and modernize nations through market forces. This does not mean that we believe that countries like the Philippines are ready to compete head-to-head today in every sector, but it does mean that we cannot afford to be afraid of globalization.

We have been aggressive in seeking multilateral and bilateral trade relations.

We have taken a personal and hands-on role in trying to move the Doha Round forward because I believe it is good for the Philippines. And I believe my faith in the marketplace both at home and abroad has been a boon to the Philippine economy.

Mabuhay! God bless the Philippines. (OPS) [top]

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