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Strong economy under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
« on: November 21, 2017, 04:10:31 PM »
Strong economy helps thwart ‘ibagsak Gloria’ plots - Tiglao
by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob
Cagayan de Oro City (30 August 2005) -- It is the strong economy under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which is helping thwart all the “Ibagsak Gloria” plots.

This is the assessment of Secretary Rigoberto D. Tiglao of the Presidential Management Staff who said that other than the weaknesses of the charges against the President, the strong economy under her administration is one answer to the question why the “Gloria Ibagsak” crowd, despite all the sophisticated and well-funded plots and propaganda it has made against her, can’t prod a People Power revolt.

Tiglao said the economy is important in understanding our past two EDSA’s. Due to massive cronyism during the Marcos regime, the economy was in crisis by 1984 and made inevitable the first EDSA in 1986.

Likewise, Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s drinking and mahjong sprees, according to Tiglao, kept him away from making decisions to lead the economy out of the Asian-wide financial crisis that started in1997.

The political crisis that broke out under Marcos and Estrada, because of entirely non-economic reasons, such as the Ninoy assassination in 1983 and Chavit Singson’s expose in 2000, only further weakened the troubled economies of each period. “These, in turn, deepened the political crisis that confronted them, resulting in their ouster,” Tiglao said.

In contrast, despite the plots against President Gloria since 2001, the economy in the past four years under her has become stronger.

The economy, in fact, registered its highest growth yet the lowest inflation under the Arroyo presidency compared to the administrations of the three past Presidents as shown by the growth rate measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and inflation rates (IR) below:

Aquino with average GDP growth rate of 3.8% and IR of 10.4%, Ramos, GDP of 3.7%, IR of 7.6%, Estrada, GDP of 2.8%, IR of 6% and Arroyo, GDP of 4% and IR of 5.2%.

“There is an unmistakable economic momentum. Growing only 1.3% in the 1st quarter of 2001 when she assumed office, the GDP growth rate has accelerated to 6.4% by the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2004, slowed down this year only by the oil crisis,” Tiglao said..

Jobs generated annually, measured by year-on-year increases in the number of employed persons, have seen the biggest number under Arroyo.

Take a look at these figures for each president detailing the number of years, total persons employed during his/her term (TPEDT) and average of persons employed per year (APEPY):

Aquino, 6 yrs., TPEDT of 4,800,000 and APEPY of 800,000; Ramos, 6 yrs., TPEDT of 3,774,000 and APEPY of 686,000; Estrada, 2+ yrs, TPEDT of 405,000 and APEPY of 162,000 and Arroyo, 3.5 yrs., TPEDT of 3,643,000 and APEPY of 1,214,000.

On the other hand, Tiglao said the economic growth under President Arroyo has helped the poorest since the poverty incidence has gone down, from 27.5 % in 2000 to 24.7% in 2003.

“This means 1 million Filipinos getting out of the poverty quagmire in just 3 years. Wealth distribution has also improved, as shown in the percentage changes in the shares of the different economic groups in the national income,” he said.

Under Arroyo’s watch, the percentage share of the richest 10th decile has declined by 1.5%, with the nearly corresponding increase in the share of the poorest deciles.

“But it’s not that the rich are being terribly impoverished under Gloria’s term as vouched by our stock market performance: Indonesia with stock market growth of 8.8%, Korea, 8.3%, RP, 5.8%, Singapore, 4.5%, Malaysia, -5.1% and Hongkong, -2.6%. Compared to these countries of the region, clearly, we are the 3rd best performer, this year,” Tiglao said.

In contrast, massive stock manipulations involving the SSS and other state funds occurred in 2000, triggering a near-meltdown of the bourse.

Tiglao said the two economic values that react immediately to political disturbances, the exchange and interest rates, behaved quite differently during Erap’s and now Gloria’s troubled months.

During Erap’s crisis that started mid-2000, the peso exchange rate (PER) fell from P43 to the dollar to P51, a huge P8-loss in our currency value, foreboding a chaotic period unless Estrada was ousted. That, certainly, convinced the elite to junk him as soon as possible, he said.

On the contrary, since the current turmoil started in June, the PER has held steady at the P56-level. This, despite the fact that crude oil prices have zoomed up to their highest levels in 20 years, putting tremendous pressure on the peso’s values.

Interest rates, represented by the 91-day treasury bill rates (TBR), remained high at the10-percent levels in the months before Estrada’s fall. In contrast, this year, the TBR have softened, from 7.7% at the start of the year to the latest 5.8%.

Answering the question of the coming months, Tiglao said, “Business firms are expecting that the political storm will be ending soon.”

A Bangko Sentral poll of 839 firms--that’s more than double the 300 respondents in Pulse Asia’s surveys--showed that businessmen are forecasting a better business climate in the 4th quarter, with the outlook index for that period measured at 18.3%. “This is a reversal of the negative or pessimistic 10.4 % index for the 3rd quarter of the year,” Tiglao added. ( PIA-10)

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