Arroyo: ‘I will let no one threaten our nation’s survival’


3 strategies bared to solve ‘complex changes’

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:01:00 07/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The global food and oil crisis notwithstanding, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has assured Filipinos that the nation would survive, as she spelled out her administration’s programs and how revenues from the expanded value added tax would help tide the country over.

This year’s State of the Nation’s Address was Arroyo’s eighth since she assumed post in 2001.

Arroyo rallied the public, Congress, and the judiciary to work with her for the people, stressing that she will not let the political ambitions of some to get in the way of her desire for the nation.

“As your President, I will let no one — and no one’s political plans — get in the way of the well-being of the people. I will let no one hinder our people’s progress and prosperity. I will let no one threaten our nation’s survival. This is my commitment,” she said in her speech.

“Our country and our people have never failed to be there for us. Let us be there for them. Now,” she added.

Arroyo said global challenges confronted the country with the surge in oil and food prices. But she added that “because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared.”

She laid down three strategies to solve “many complex challenges.”

“First, we must have a targeted strategy and set of precise
prescriptions to ease the price challenge we are facing; second, food self-sufficiency, less energy dependence, greater self-reliance in our attitude as a people and in our posturing as a nation; and third, short-term relief cannot be at the expense of long-term efforts. These reforms will benefit not just the next generation of Filipinos, but the next President as well,” she said.

She said that the 12-percent VAT, which many sectors want scrapped, has a very crucial role to play in meeting these strategies.

“Itong programa ay sagot sa mga problemang namana natin [This program is the answer to the problems we have inherited],” she said.

“Una, mababawasan ang ating mga utang [First, our debts will be reduced] and shore up our fiscal independence; pangalawa, higit na pamumuhunan para sa imprastraktura
at taong bayan [second, more investments for infrastructure and our people]; panghuli, sapat na pondo sa mga programang pang-masa [and last, enough funds for pro-poor programs],”she said.

“Take VAT away and you and will abdicate our responsibility as leaders and pull the rug from under our present and future progress, which may be compromised by the global crisis,” she said.

She said her administration has persevered and has been “without flip-flops” despite the “much criticized but necessary policies” on oil and VAT and oil deregulation.

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