Government urged to revise budget allocation for debt servicing
By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio Updated December 30, 2008 12:00 AM
The Free Trade Alliance (FTA) is urging the government to revise its policy on the payment of foreign debt and instead use the money for projects that would create jobs for Filipinos especially the overseas Filipino workers who are expected to be displaced because of the global recession.
“We also demand that the government immediately put a halt to the senseless automatic appropriation of two-thirds of the national budget for debt servicing,” the FTA.
“We should instead adopt the Argentinian budgeting system, which makes allocation for debt servicing only after urgent adequate allocations have been made for urgent and priority social spending,” the group said.
In a resolution signed during the recently concluded national forum on “Bailing out the Philippine Economy” the FTA said the country, like other nations, need a stimulus package in order to help pump prime the economy.
The government must increase its spending especially on infrastructure and job creation projects in order to spur the economy.
“The Philippines need a large stimulus package directed at the domestic market to preserve and create millions of jobs,” the group said.
“The government should be able to spend as much as it can on productivity-raising infrastructures such as school buildings, renewable energy, communal irrigation projects, farm-to-market roads, harvest silos, barangay health clinics, public transport systems and so on,” FTA said.
Likewise, the FTA said the government must re-think its policy of opening up the local market to imported products.
Earlier the government removed the duty for the importation of certain products like cement.
FTA said this is not the time to allow cheaper products to enter the country. Instead, the government must help protect local industries in order to keep local jobs.
“We urge our government and policy makers to immediately put in place the much-needed safety nets for our working people, including our industrialists and entrepreneurs. One effective safety net, to preserve jobs and industry, is to adjust our industrial and agricultural tariffs toward our maximum bound tariff commitments to the WTO (World Trade Organization),” the group said.