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(UPDATE) Arroyo: ‘Filipinos are fighters’
« on: September 18, 2008, 03:36:44 am »
MANILA, Philippines -- Saying Filipinos are "fighters" that "don't quit," President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressed confidence that the country would continue to weather the global economic crisis, as she vowed to press on with reforms.

Arroyo likened the Philippine economy to a boxer, who, despite having been "knocked down," has gotten up and dusted itself off.

In a speech in Pagadian City Wednesday, Arroyo said in the local dialect: "By Christmas time, hopefully the economic clouds will begin to lighten."

"Filipinos are fighters, naturally optimistic, and don't quit," the President said during the mid-year briefing of her economic managers in Makati City earlier in the day.

"We will continue on the path of economic reform. The reforms helped us in this time of global economic upheaval," she said.

Arroyo acknowledged that the "depth of the turbulence" in the US economy was "unknown" but that the "best buffer" against the shock it would cause would be the "building [of] a stronger economy driven by consumption and investment."

"While no one can predict the future during these uncertain global economic times, It seems our measures at home are seeing us through tougher times," she said.

Arroyo said her economic team was committed to strengthening the banking system, improving fiscal health, and promoting investments.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers, one of Wall Street’s oldest investment banks, Tuesday sent Philippine stocks plummeting 4.5 percent to a new low in a year and a half.

The peso slid to a 16-month low at 47.20 to the dollar as the fragile health of iconic US financial giants heightened global investors’ aversion to currencies, bonds and stocks from emerging markets like the Philippines.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) lost 114.44 to end at 2421.72.(

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