Commentary: Tough decisions, better economy
Iloilo City (8 October) -- President Gloria Arroyo made difficult decisions with her fiscal reforms and was criticized for these, but one thing is sure – her administration made permanent changes in the economy. In an unprecedented manner, she was able to bring down the rate of poverty in the country. With the Philippines now on the path to permanent economic growth and stability, President Arroyo sets poverty alleviation as her primary goal for the next three years, till 2010.
She told the Philippine media delegation covering her visits to China and India last week that increased government earnings either through effective collection of taxes or sale of government assets is necessary elements of poverty alleviation. With the increased revenues the government's next step is to invest more in human resources and physical infrastructures to create job and upgrade the country's competitiveness.
Her administration's efforts in delivering social services in the form of availability of cheap medicines, improved health care and anti-hunger campaign are gaining momentum, as local governments have realized that hunger is a local concern that must be addressed with hunger mitigation action plans.
President Arroyo added that the government's food-for-schools and classroom provision programs are top among her agenda to increase access to education, especially by the poor, as education is one of the most important weapons against poverty.
The President also said a main concern to boost poverty alleviation is to cut down on red tape and eradicate corruption in government projects so that both the big and small businesses could create wealth and jobs with least expenses.
With all these the President said credit is not part of her formula of performance, and she would not mind if her successor does not give credit for all the good things she had done to bring the Philippines to a path of permanent growth.
For now at least, the President continues to do her work and she is bent on pursuing her anti-poverty goals, even if she has to make more tough decisions, which strong leaders are noted for. (PIA 6) [top]