Philippines’s Arroyo orders speedy action on priority projects, concerns

May. 16, 2007

MANILA — As the nation awaits the results of the elections, the government is accelerating development services and major undertakings for economic expansion, job creation, price stability, and peace and order.

The President has issued the following priority instructions to relevant agencies:

The Cabinet shall review the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) for its final revision and approval this month. As investors become more and more bullish on the Philippines, especially with the largely peaceful and smooth conduct of the elections, the IPP shall bring in many more billions of dollars in capital, creating jobs and boosting reserves.

The Department of Transportation and Communications and the Manila International Airport Authority shall fast-track nine airport projects finishing this year. They include Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and facilities in Iloilo City, Kalibo, Aklan; Silay, near Bacolod; Cotabato, Ozamis, Misamis Oriental; Casiguran, Aurora; Bulan, Sorsogon; and Siargao, off Surigao. These projects help realize tourisms promise as the next boom sector, generating billions of dollars in investments and millions of jobs.

The Light Rail Transit Authority shall ensure the start of work on its train link with the Metro Rail Transit from Monumento to North EDSA. Millions of daily commuters have long awaited the closing of the LRT-MRT loop, to make their daily journeys faster, safer and more comfortable.

The Subic Clark Alliance for Development shall press for the speedy completion within deadline of the expressway link between the seaport and the airport. The 50-km road will cut travel time between Subic and Clark to half an hour, creating a new seaport-airport to rival Hong Kong and Singapore, while opening up vast areas along the superhighway for industrial and logistics ventures serving Asia.

The government panel on the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front shall resume talks toward a final peace agreement. Mindanao has already benefited from years of ceasefire, and a permanent cessation of hostilities will unleash billions of pesos in investment and development programs for the south.

The Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Justice shall harness their investigative and legal resources to file at least 20 cases in court against suspects in election, activist or media killings. They shall consult with the Commission on Human Rights, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, while utilizing technical assistance offered by the European Commission and other foreign entities.

The Department of Health shall accelerate the issuance of PhilHealth cards to indigent families, and the upgrading of local hospitals to secondary or basic tertiary level. We are determined to achieve our goal of providing health insurance to all Filipinos, and raising the quality of medical treatment, while giving aspiring nurses more internship facilities.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council and its component agencies shall complete the rehabilitation of supertyphoon-ravaged areas in Bicol and nearby regions. This effort is urgent not only for the opening of schools next month, but also the reduction of hunger in the country.

The Department of Agriculture shall speed up the expansion of its food highway linking farmer cooperatives and Metro Manila barangay food terminals. The P2-billion program will also help combat hunger by eliminating middleman mark-ups and thus raising farmer incomes and reducing food prices in poor areas of the city.

The Department of Energy and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation shall ensure the successful sale of the National Transmission Company and the Masinloc power plant. These closely watched privatizations shall boost business confidence and generate needed investments for future electricity needs of the country.

The Department of Finance, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs shall implement the rewards and sanctions under the Attrition Law and based on performance targets for the 2006 fiscal year. Hitting our revenue targets is crucial to maintaining fiscal discipline, boosting investor confidence, and funding needed public investments and services.

The National Economic and Development Authority shall spearhead consultations between government agencies and Regional Development Councils on the major public investments to be funded under the proposed 2008 national budget. We are committed to delivering targets and projects in eight key areas by the end of next year, and we shall work with local leaders, both outgoing and incoming, to bring the benefits of our growing fiscal and economic strength to communities all over the country.

Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people. With these and other priority government undertakings, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her administration shall advance national development and uplift the quality of life for the people we serve. (PIA Dispatch)

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