National Socio-Economic Summit of 2001; 'National Unity to Face the Challenge of the Global Economic Crisis'
Stay together and pull together
WE in the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES are pleased and honored to be part of this landmark meeting.
We are all here not just to agree on solutions to our economic and social problems.
In a larger sense, we are here to rededicate ourselves to the vision we share of what this country could become - a nation living in prosperity, justice, and freedom - a nation at peace with itself and with the world.
Highlights of our economic agenda
Let me take up briefly three key proposals from the agenda the House leadership proposed to this Summit.
Most urgently we need to deal with the near-mortal wound inflicted on the economy by some 470 billion pesos in non-performing loans and foreclosed assets lodged in our banking system.
Since July 1997, two successive financial crises have left banks bleeding from Indonesia to Japan.
We in the House are pleased that LEDAC has endorsed our proposal for a Special Purpose Asset Vehicles Act, which will offer tax incentives - including exemptions from capital gains and documentary stamp taxes - to help banks liquefy their NPLs and foreclosed assets.
I believe this bill when enacted will rapidly raise several billions of US dollars as in Korea and Thailand, with the funds to come from the private sector and from the international community, without need of a bailout from the government.
And we will complement it with a large-scale securitization program to finance the requirements of the economy even in the face of a declining international economy.
Encouraging our banks to resume normal lending by facilitating their market-clearing process will in turn stimulate all the business sectors including housing -with its strong multiplier effect on jobs and incomes.
Our economists estimate that we need to build 250,000 to 300,000 new houses a year - and that every new house generates 10 jobs over four months. This is why - apart from trying to clean up the bankbooks - we are also striving to reopen the secondary market for home mortgages.
We have also just launched a new innovative proposal, a "rent-to-own" mass housing strategy, so that hundreds of thousands of the poorest families can move quickly into newly-built houses with no need to provide the prohibitive down-payments, will the rentals applied to the purchase of their house and lot.
With a new powerful thrust in agricultural modernization to benefit our farmers and a program of retraining for our workers and the development of information technology, we believe these are the winners that the Philippines needs in the first years of the 21st Century.
Our third key proposal is for a political Summit to follow this one within six months.
If we are to carry out on our economic agenda, we will need to remove the poison in the political atmosphere generated by the adversarial and negative aspects of national politics. …