JV, Salceda, face-off on GMA legacy

“Under President Arroyo, the crisis is not only ongoing. It is continuing,” said lawyer JV Bautista of the Pwersa ng Masa party.

Inquirer Headlines / Nation

Arroyo only one to leave office sans crisis–Salceda

By Cathy C. Yamsuan. Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: January 19, 2010

MANILA, Philippines—One of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s chief supporters Monday said she was the only chief executive since Ferdinand Marcos to leave Malacañang at the end of her term with the Philippines “not facing a crisis.”
“We should be thankful that Gloria Arroyo is the president, otherwise the economy would be in an even worse situation…All administrations since Marcos ended in crisis, whether financially or economically,” said Albay Gov. Jose Salceda, the President’s adviser on economic affairs.

In a breakfast forum Monday, Salceda said credit rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s “have given the country negative ratings (in the past) but this time they are saying we are stable.” He said that just this month, “Indonesia and the Philippines each borrowed $1.5 billion from creditors, payable in 25 years.”

“The Philippines was given a 5.6-percent interest rate while Indonesia, 6.04-percent. So this is the credit markets talking,” he said.

Salceda compared the peso-dollar rates that prevailed in each administration: “In the time of all other presidents, the peso reached new lows.

Under Marcos, the peso dropped from P12 to P24. Under Cory (Aquino), the peso went from P24 to P28. Under (President Fidel Ramos), it dropped from P28 to P38. And under President (Joseph) Erap (Estrada), from P38 to P56.”

“Under President Gloria, the peso strengthened from P56 to P45. Masama ba ’yun (Is that bad)? Salceda also said funding agencies like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank “listed only four countries that escaped the brunt of the US recession—Indonesia, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.”

These countries, he said, “did not register negative ratings at the height of the United States recession.”

“So the President is not that bad. Just because people don’t like her does not mean she is not right,” he said.

An opposition senatorial candidate, however, remained unconvinced. “Under President Arroyo, the crisis is not only ongoing. It is continuing,” said lawyer JV Bautista of the Pwersa ng Masa party.

Bautista said the “Hello Garci” wiretapping scandal, the allegedly bribe-laced ZTE-NBN telecommunications deal, and the fertilizer scam that implicated Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante were just some of the scandals that rocked the Arroyo administration.

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