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Philippine president says economy gains strength under her watch

Updated:2009-07-28 10:59:04

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Monday the country's economy has grown much resilient during her almost nine years of presidency and is poised to weather through the global economic crisis.

In what is supposed to be her last State of the Nation Address, Arroyo said the Philippine economy has posted uninterrupted growth for 33 quarters and its size has doubled to 186 billion U.S. dollars since 2001 when she took over the country's top post from ousted president Joseph Estrada.

Arroyo, the 62-year-old economist by trained, told the joint session of the two-chamber Congress that the average GDP growth during her term is the highest in 43 years and strong fiscal position has given the government the fuel to fight global recession.

The economic growth reached its peak in three decades -- 7.3 percent in 2007 but plunged to 3.8 percent in 2008 due to the unfolding global economic crisis. The government predicted that the growth will continue to slow to a mere 0.8 percent in 2009 before picking up next year.

"We stood among only a few economies in Asia-Pacific that did not shrink," Arroyo said, adding that when she took office in 2001,"Asia was surging but our country was on the brink of bankruptcy."

More roads, bridges, schools were built, growing number of foreign investment and tourists arrived, foreign debts subdued, more school children returned to classes, Arroyo said. "Good news for our people, bad news for our critic."

Arroyo, whose public trust ratings remain negative since 2005 over a number of corruption and vote-cheating scandals, said she had paid political prices for doing the right thing.

"Had we taken the easy road much preferred by politicians eyeing elections, this country would be flat on its back," Arroyo said. "It would take twice the effort just to get it back again on its feet."

 

Source:http://news.xinhuanet.com

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