Monday, November 08, 2004

NR1105:GMA backpedalling on fiscal crisis

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release November 5 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

PGMA not fooling anybody with her assertion that the worse is over - Rep.

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo's declaration that the fiscal crisis is over is a definite
sign of panic, and not one of relief or confidence.

"Now it's official - the economy is in definite trouble. The president is
desperate to backtrack on her previous statements as well as cover-up and
dispel the assertions of her own economic advisers regarding the worsening
fiscal crisis," Beltran said. He said that foreign investors and the local
business community were already seriously alarmed over the various reports and
studies exposing the extent of the fiscal crisis, and have most likely demanded
that Malacanang immediately cease and desist from issuing more statements
regarding the same.

"But President Arroyo is not fooling anybody. The most crucial economic
indicators and the visible, palpable increase in the number of jobless and
impoverished Filipinos are more than proof of the seriously deteriorating
state of the economy. She did not announce anything new when she first
admitted the existence of a fiscal crisis, but she's not convincing anyone now
when she says the worse is already over."

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker however challenged Malacanang to scrap
its tax proposals. "Given that the president is already crowing that the
economy has already improved in the last few months, then that's added
reason why the infamous proposed tax measures she's pushing Congress to pass
should be scrapped," he said. "And in any case, these new tax measures on one
side, and the tax amnesty proposals on the other are sure to contribute to
the economic slide," he said.

American investors demanding more perks, exploiting GMA's desperation to
improve RP-US relations

In the meantime, Beltran expressed outrage over reports that American
businessmen in the Philippines are proposing a series of drastic reform
measures for government that include legalizing jueteng and reimbursing foreign
investors of their tax credits. He said that the reelection victory of Goerge
W. Bush has made American businesses in the country more arrogant and

"They're well aware that political relations between the RP and the US are
chilly, and that Pres. Arroyo is very inclined towards pleasing US authorities
- including business interests to mend these relations," he said. "They're
taking advantage of Pres. Arroyo's renewed groveling attitude to push for
more perks from the government."

The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) has drawn up
another list demands to supposedly make the country more attractive to foreign
investments.Also in the AmCham's list of fiscal recommendations is to impose
the proposed new revenue measures such as a tax on text messaging, and increase
VAT on entertainers, lawyers and other professionals should not receive while
exempting foreign investors from the VAT.

The AmCham advocacy paper listed the factors necessary to attract more foreign
investments such as an amended Constitution to allow foreign ownership, improve
infrastructure, improved governance, slow population growth, accelerated legal
reform, improving English and improved security.

The group also urged the administration to streamline immigration procedures,
overhaul the Labor Code, agree to open skies for passengers and cargoes,
conclude free-trade agreements with major
trading partners, give no unscheduled holidays and reduce regulatory agencies.

"All of these are proposals that will further undermine the economy, attack
the rights of workers and the other laboring sectors while bringing more
superprofits for foreign businesses. These proposals are contemptible and
should be opposed by nationalist economists and local businesses who are also
victimized by the unfair competition these foreign investors bring," he


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