Pangilinan: Loan no substitute for strong economy

September 25, 2010

Jonathan de Santos
Sun Star
September 25, 2010

SENATOR Francis Pangilinan on Saturday said that although the $434-million foreign grant from a US aid agency is good news, national self-reliance would be even better.

He said the grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation will be of great help to the country, but it is only a stop gap measure.

“We must, in the long run, move away from foreign sources to pay for our nation’s expenditures.”

The senator added the Philippine economy should not depend too much on aid and loans but on local investments instead.

He believes development of local enterprises would create jobs and wealth, propelling the economy upward.

“It is economic takeoff that will create the needed wealth to fund the delivery of basic services such as education and health services that our people need to get out of poverty.”

US Ambassador Harry Thomas called the grant a vote of confidence for President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Pangilinan however said the substantial loan cannot take the place of a vibrant economy.

The grant will pay for the computerization and reform of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to reduce corruption and boost revenue collection.

Money from the grant will also be used on community-based rural programs and on repairing 220 kilometers of roads on Samar island.

Criticism has also been directed at another loan, a $400-million fund from the Asian Development Bank for a conditional cash transfer program by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Senator Edgardo Angara said Tuesday that spending should go to the development productivity-enhancing sectors like agriculture and research and development sectors instead of on dole outs.

“We cannot sustain and afford a system of dole out. Pero hindi nangangahulugan na hindi natin bibigyan ng cash transfer o ng subsidy yun talagang vulnerable and weak,” he said.

According to Angara, funding for research and development has been dwindling.

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