Less Controversy, More Unity in '03 - Malacanang; Will Stress Generation of More Employment, Economic growth.(Main News)
Byline: GENALYN D. KABILING
All Malacanang wants this coming year is less controversy, less politicking, and more unity for economic development.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said yesterday Malacanang is looking forward to a more "constructive collaboration" with the political opposition to improve the lives of Filipinos and help boost the local economy.
"Maybe we could work together. I'm sure we'll have more things to agree on than disagree on," he said in an interview with DZMM.
Instead of undermining the efforts of the government, Bunye said, the political opposition could assist the Arroyo administration in its anti-poverty programs and policies.
"After all, if the administration will succeed, this will be the success of all the Filipinos. This will be for the good of everybody. We should cooperate towards that end."
Bunye said controversies spawned by accusations of graft practices should not sweep aside the positive accomplishments of the government.
He lamented that most Filipinos, including the media, are distracted by such controversies, resulting in public despair and hopelessness.
"We have many positive developments that were not given due attention and praise," he said.
The Arroyo administration has been rocked by corruption charges at the Public Estates Authority, the Supreme Court decision ordering the Manila Electric Company to refund its consumers, the contract of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, and the $2 million allegedly extorted by Justice Secretary Hernando Perez from Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez.
In the coming year, President Arroyo wants to bring down the unemployment rate in the country to push economic growth.
"Our growth rate was more than 4 percent but our growth rate in jobs was 2.8 percent. So if we look not just at the total growth rate but also at the different sources of growth, we might be able to generate more employment out of the growth rate," Arroyo said in an interview in Baguio City last Friday.
President Arroyo has vowed to build a "strong republic" by dismantling groups that control the country's economic policies.
Her administration has shifted from a macroeconomic and demand-side focus to microeconomic and supply-side productivity enhancing measures. It projects a Gross Domestic Product of 4.2 percent for in 2003.
To maintain robust economic growth, the President plans to promote small and medium scale enterprises, jumpstart private sector-led housing, build infrastructure to decongest Metro Manila, reduce cargo costs across the country, and boost revenue collection, among others. …