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PIA Press Release

PGMA cites new record $21.56-B reserves as proof of steady, stable economic growth

Manila (9 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today the country's new all-time high $21.56-billion gross international reserves (GIR) as of end-September is a clear proof that the government's economic reform agenda is working, backed up by the Filipinos' strong faith, unity and spirit of enterprise.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday that the Philippines ' dollar reserves topped all previous records due to the BSP's foreign exchange operations and the huge inflows from investments abroad and remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"This is yet another feather in the cap on the agility and potency of our economy. Our steady and stable economic growth is a clear proof that our reform agenda is gaining ground on all fronts," the President said in her speech before more than 10,000 Gawad Kalinga (GK) volunteers and members of the Couples for Christ during her visit this afternoon at the Gawad Kalinga Global Expo being held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City.

"The country's economic momentum is up because the people's faith, unity and spirit of enterprise are unrelenting," the President added.

"This is the time to strike forward and not fall back as we lead the government in massive good governance, upholding social justice, and fighting poverty. All sectors of society, to include our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), have been exemplifying heroism by wagering on productivity and excellence," she said.

Among those present were Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Director General Arthur Yap, Environment Secretary Angelo Reyes, Presidential Chief-of-Staff Mike Defensor, Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) founding trustee and Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Jose Concepcion III, and GK Executive Director and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Tony Meloto.

During the same occasion, the President also awarded the three inspiring Gawad Kalinga entrepreneurial communities in the country, namely, the GK Reunion Village in Batangas; GK Robin Hood Village in Valencia, Bukidnon; and the GK Smart Amazing Village in General Nakar, Quezon.

GK started some five years ago in the Philippines as a simple initiative by the Couples for Christ but has now become a growing multisectoral partnership driven by a vision of a new Philippines with no more slums.

Together with its government and private partners such as the PCE, GK has provided homes, given values formation, and promoted entrepreneurial optimism through its network of volunteers that empowered poverty-stricken communities nationwide.

The President recalled that in 2002, she provided P30 million for GK's housing program after learning that GK, through its volunteers, has been constructing housing units worth only P30,000 each compared to the P80,000 per unit of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The President said this led to the construction of a record 2,000 houses in just one day in Dumaguete City in 2002.

She noted that the partnership of the government and the people is strong and her economic reforms are slowly and surely providing the funds "to provide jobs, better education, and food on every table."

To the applause of those present, the President said she has instructed Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya to earmark P15 million for the food program of GK. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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