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PIA Press Release

PGMA vows to intensify infrastructure investments for growth

Manila (15 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made the assurance that her administration will pursue poverty amelioration program even as it tackles the grim task of rehabilitation to address the damage left behind by typhoons "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" in the past three weeks and typhoon "Frank" last year.

According to the President, her administration will work aggressively to ensure growth, generate jobs, and increase revenue.

The President said "We will continue with the Economic Resiliency Program, and its key components: the conditional cash transfers and emergency employment. With government support and the hard work of our people, we will maintain growth and intensify investment in infrastructure, especially post-calamity reconstruction."

On Tuesday, the President announced the creation of the Special National Public-Private Reconstruction Commission to determine the cost of rehabilitation and raise the fund to cover that cost.

The country, said the President, would push for grants or non-repayable inflows; concessional loans such as the zero-interest yen loan package from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); and, as a last option, commercial borrowings either through bonds or other instruments.

The President added calamity victims should not be penalized with high interest rates.

"We are grateful to the UN for launching a flash appeal to mobilize grants. We count on Congress for a joint resolution authorizing us to avail ourselves of what we call an 'unprogrammed provision'," she said.

Through the commission, the President pointed out, the government will coordinate an international pledging session with the UN and the World Bank.

"A special pledging session would tap into the huge underlying global constituency for climate change adaptation. It would capitalize on ongoing discussions and negotiations leading to Copenhagen. Even in Bangkok, the Philippine case was widely cited as proof for the need for adaptation financing. We should use the umbrella of the UN framework, not just the World Bank," she added.

Depending on the recommendation of the special commission, the President pointed out that the government may also issue reconstruction bonds to which multilateral financing institutions (MFIs) such as the World Bank can subscribe to. (PIA) [top]

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