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Bayan to Arroyo: ‘Acknowledge crisis, not talk like Rocky’

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:01:00 09/17/2008

MANILA, Philippines — An alliance of leftist activists on Wednesday belittled President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s assurances the Philippines is a “fighter” that would weather the global economic crisis, saying what the country needs if for government to “acknowledge the severity of the crisis we face.”

Arroyo made the assurance in the face of the turbulence in the US economy that has seen the collapse of Lehman Brothers, one of Wall Street’s oldest investment banks, Tuesday, which sent Philippine stocks plummeting 4.5 percent to a new low in a year and a half.

In a speech in Pagadian City, Arroyo likened the Philippine economy to a boxer, who, despite having been “knocked down,” has gotten up and dusted itself off.

Speaking in the local dialect, Arroyo said: “By Christmas time, hopefully the economic clouds will begin to lighten.”

But Renato Reyes, secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan, New Patriotic Alliance), mocked Arroyo’s statement, saying: “The country needs more than just Rocky Balboa metaphors. The government needs to acknowledge the severity of the crisis we face.”

Reyes said the economy is being buoyed by remittances from overseas Filipino workers, and this “has nothing to do with the country’s economic fundamentals.”

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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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-09-17T08:22:16+00:00UTC09bUTCWed, 17 Sep 2008 08:22:16 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am09

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