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PIA Press Release

PGMA makes series of move to cushion impact of high oil prices, strong peso

Manila (18 December) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered today the concerned government agencies to accelerate the implementation of government projects and programs that would cushion the impact of soaring oil prices and the continuous strengthening of the peso.

The President, in her opening statement during the National Security Council- Cabinet Group Executive Group meeting in Malacanang, also called on officials and the people to unite and work together in finding measures to ease the impact of oil price hikes and the strong peso.

"We need to join hands in easing the impact of the oil price hike and the strong peso especially to the poor," the President said in Filipino.

The President thus instructed the agencies concerned to expedite the distribution of cheap but quality rice, the establishment of more "Tindahan Natin," "Bagsakan sa Barangay," and "Botika sa Barangay."

She also instructed the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to tighten its watch on the prices of basic commodities such as sugar, coffee, rice and noodles.

The President also expressed gladness over the move of the Department of Energy, in coordination with the accounting firm SGV, to check on the oil companies and make sure that they do not overprice their commodity.

To cushion the effect of the strong peso, particularly to the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the President called on the banks to find means to decrease remittance fees.

She also instructed the Department of Finance (DOF) to study the possibility of limiting or halting temporarily dollar-denominated loans.

And to protect the OFWs, the President gave marching orders to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to come up with stiffer measures against illegal recruiters and employers who do not pay the salary stated in contracts.

"I'm instructing the DOLE to come up with one number where the OFWs can send text messages or call in cases of emergencies and problems wherever they are," the President said, adding that the Filipino talent in call centers must be utilized "to help our new heroes."

"This Christmas and New Year, the best gift for the the people and the country are peace, prosperity and assistance to the poor. This is your President's and your government's gift to all of you. Thank you for all your support and trust," the President ended. (OPS) [top]

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