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PIA Press Release

PGMA to take cudgels for 'downtrodden' countries in APEC Leaders Summit in Peru

Manila (17 November) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will take the cudgels for developing and "downtrodden" countries in the Asia-Pacific region when she attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Lima, Peru later this month.

In an interview yesterday afternoon over Radyo ng Bayan program "Pilipinas, Pilipinas!" Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Anthony Golez said the President has come to "symbolize emerging economies" in international forums, and her pro-poor programs that the government implemented long before the world-wide economic crunch are now being duplicated in other countries.

The President, Golez said, will be "the voice of the downtrodden - siya ang magiging boses ng mga naghihirap na mga nasyon" at the two-day APEC leaders' summit on Nov. 22-23.

President Arroyo is very popular with fellow leaders of emerging and developing countries who consider her an "advocate" in getting wealthy nations to include poor countries in a common international agenda to weather the fallout of the global financial blowup, Golez said.

Only last month at the Asia-Europe Economic Meeting (ASEM) in Beijing, the President called on the "ASEAN + 3" countries to consider allocating a bigger chunk of the $80-billion Chang Mai Initiative (CMI) as a quick-disbursing fund for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) whose economies may suffer from the US recession.

The President's initiative, which she wants to be dubbed Chang Mai Initiative II, will be discussed by leaders of the ASEAN and their dialogue partners -- Japan, South Korea and China - during the 2008 ASEAN Leaders Meeting in Chang Mai, Thailand next month.

In the home front, the unpopular expanded value-added tax (EVAT), which the President admits has dragged down her approval rating, has turned out to be the saviour of the Philippine economy, Golez pointed out.

"Pahirap ito (the EVAT) but, in the long term, ito ang nagpapa-survive sa ating bansa," he said, pointing out that because of the EVAT, the Philippine economy will be "strong until 2009" while other countries are "lumulubog na."

The President's latest move to bolster her pro-poor program in the face of the global economic crisis is the emergency employment of the poorest of the poor in the country's poorest provinces. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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