Govt sets P300-B ‘sustainability plan’
MANILA, Philippines – The government has set a P300-billion “sustainability plan” to fuel economic growth and to protect and generate jobs in the face of the global economic crisis, the full impact of which is expected to hit the country early next year, officials said.
The plan, presented to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, includes building and rehabilitating infrastructure, increased spending for social services,
and an expected increase in capital and consumer spending as a result of reduced corporate and individual income tax rates, Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto said.
Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the government would give priority to “quick-moving” infrastructure projects that have no right-of-way and other legal issues.
“We presented an economic sustainability plan,” Recto said at a news conference in Malacañang. “It is not a contingency plan. It is not a recovery plan—there is nothing to recover from.”
He said the plant was for “continuing what we have been doing and stretching every peso in the budget to ensure that we save and create as many jobs as possible.”
Recto noted that while millions of jobs were being lost in the United States and China, the Philippines generated about 800,000 jobs this year.
He said Cabinet members were instructed to ensure that the infrastructure projects, such as rehabilitation of roads and construction of hospitals, school buildings and irrigation facilities, would have a multiplier effect so that “more jobs are saved, secured, and
Local government units will also be encouraged to spend on infrastructure development, he added.
Recto said that despite the global recession, the worst-case projection of the government’s top economic officials was a 3.7-percent growth in the gross domestic product next year, and the high end of the projected range was 4.7 percent.
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