The Following is the transcript of the 1st press conference of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo since she stepped down from the presidency, more than a year ago. the Press Conference happened in a media outing Arroyo hosted for House of Representatives media at the Prado Farms in Lubao, Pampanga.
(items in parentheses are questions or emotions like laughter)
(on the Pinatubo project)
….Around the district of Ana York Bondoc. 4th . 3rd phase is my district and then san Fernando city. And the 4th phase should be Zambales I think. So still ongoing.
I was saying this was planned even, shortly, after cause remember Pinatubo happened 20 years ago in fact we commemorated, last week, my invitation to you last week would have been perfect because we were celebrating the 20th anniversary then. So it erupted in 1991 for 5 years all effort was on preventive the lahar flow from worsening and killing more people like bicolor hit in 1995 but after 1996 when the lahar stabilized then they made a program for the next phase so it started in 1997. The one of the Mindanao river basin came after.. remember there was a great flood when I was a president was it 2009? About that time when I went there and then we decided we should have a long term solution so I created a commission or a committee to do the master plan for that and I asked archbishop Quevedo to be the chair so I released to them I think 50 million pesos to do the master plan and some elements of the master plan that could be carried out have already been carried out but just as this one is an ongoing project, that has to be an ongoing project.
Now this one has the advantage of being a foreign assisted project so that therefore it can, there is continuity because there is a contractual obligation to the Japanese government
(same thing with the Mindanao project?)
it has no foreign counterpart. It only started in 2009, 2010 it takes time to do a project proposal, to get it approved so it was still locally funded as of the time that I left so I hope that you know because I read that the people in Cotabato were clamoring…there IS a solution and its being done., by archbishop Quevedo if they would support the continuation of his work
(has it been continued)
I don’t know. Mindanao river basin. Or Rio Grande de Mindanao. Mindanao river basin program master plan. 50 5-0 for the master plan. Oh yeah because master planning is if you’re going to do it with all the detailed engineering that’s about the cost. To carry out in my term I already carried out some of the work. But as I said it started only 2009 and look at this Pinatubo , this one started 1996 still ongoing in 2011. As of when I left they were still doing the master plan I don’t know if they finished it by now they would probably know the total cost I don’t know. Its good to interview him so you can ask him since its in the news now because of the flood there because there is an answer and that’s the master plan. He will be the chair, but the other officials, at least which were incumbent during my term, a lot of them were part of the commission
Similar template as well you have a flooding you have protection you have dredging you have things like that.
So I’m glad. It exists it just needs to be continued. Its chaired by an archbishop who used to be president of the CBCP so its credible
(how do you feel that projects such as these are being rescinded)
well its not so much how I feel. How do the investors feel. (laughs)
I think they’re the ones who have been talking right? (chuckles)
(what would be the kind of repercussions of that kind of you know, economic directions? Major ODA funded projects being rescinded)
well the investors themselves have been the ones talking so I don’t have to say anything. The European chamber has already said something even the PCCI already said something so I don’t have to be the one to say it
(you wouldn’t even ask the president to continue now?)
I don’t give unsolicited advice.
(kasi naman si fvr nagbibigay ng unsolicited advice)
are they followed? (chuckles) or are they responded to with respect even if its not followed?
(even if not followed?)
I think I can show my concern in other ways. I’ve talked now about the Mindanao master plan because its there I read they were groping. They don’t have to grope because there’s a master plan
(it looks like there is no pump priming in the road map. How do you think the economy would fare?)
in the short run its good because it because it contributes to the credit upgrade in the short run but on the other hand that credit upgrade is not only because of the lack of pump priming its also because I left an economy with a sustainable growth path. But in the long run that’s the problem. Because if there is no, if government spending goes down then the public private partnership does not come in to replace it in good time then that’s a , that contributes to the deceleration of the economy.
Well, you know this is an old condition I had. I had this since I was in college but as you grow older it gets worse and I had an acute pinch nerve attack my hospitalization was really to cure myself of the pain of the attack but for the longer term solution we still have to discuss it with the doctors.
(how would you assess the past year that you have transitioned from being president to being a congresswoman?)
the past year with regard to me or with regard to the nation?
ahahaha. Wait ha. We have a time limit at 1245 we start eating no no when they say the food is ready.
(the food is not yet ready)
okay with regard to me okay? With regard to me . being in congress gives me the opportunity to continue to serve from the viewpoint, from a position closer to the people so I’m able to continue championing the needs of the poor for instance my favorite bill is the corporate social responsibility bill which already passed the house and is already on the floor in the senate sponsored I think by senator Villar in fact Maite Defensor who’s going to be my spokesperson while you remember her congresswoman Maite Defensor? She’ll be my spokesperson while Len is away cause Len is leaving tomorrow. She’s helping me to follow it up in the senate and then it also helps me to continue, being in congress, fight for a stronger economy for instance if you look at the when I saw the priority administration measures, number one is the dept of housing. Well I happen to be the principal author of that bill. And then being congress I’m also able to continue working for education health care and jobs that they can be within the reach of the ordinary Kapampangan family and how am I helping to do that because I helped the provincial government draft the Pampanga development plan which is now the basis of the program it is implementing. So that’s me for the past year.
Now for the nation like what I said before in our earlier statement. A year ago I was able to turn over to the administration a new Philippines with a sustainable growth rate. Prior to my administration it was boom and bust but we have a sustainable growth rate now ten years of uninterrupted growth even during the global crisis and I left with a 7.9% growth rate I left with automated elections which is the beginning of political reform but what I would say that the gains I made were built on the efforts of previous leaders. Because because every administration should build on previous successes, continue programs that work and of course you may drop programs that didn’t work that’s how it should be done nd besides as I said I left an economy with no longer had boom and bust cycle of the past because I as really focused on sustainability that’s why I started my reforms with fiscal sustainability I had to raise taxes even if it was very unpopular and that moved me to unpopularity already for the rest of my term but I had to do that because we needed funds to for health education job creation, infrastructure and all the things that you need for sustainable growth so today a year later the economy is still benefitting from that sustainable growth but this is not to say there are no danger signs. There are danger signs. Yung economiya na iniwan ko it was very strong at the time when there was a global crisis. Now when the rest of asia is recovering, its our economy that is decelerating.
So yun ang prublema sabi nga nung isang kolumnista. Yung kasama nino. No not paolo, not paolo, kasama si Cynthia balana but I dont see her gil yung characterization of nobody home, that’s the main source of that there maybe danger lurking ahead for our economy (parang leaderless?) oo so itong pagkukulang lumitaw mula nung hostage sa luneta pati na rin sa mga sumusunod na krisis
During my time the inflation rate was the lowest among all administrations, the lowest inflation rate now prices are going up sharply. During my time the self rated poverty average was the lowest among different administrations but now its going up also. Even hunger is going up. So even the score of the Philippines in corruption today is going up. And then the foreign investments the NEDA figures for foreign investments show that its one half of what it was during my time same time same period so those are the danger signs that’s why there is a need to decide what programs will be continued and what programs will be dropped
(but at the rate..)
work has to be done
(at the rate their dropping projects)
well as I said I don’t have to be the one to talk the business community is the one saying it both the foreign chamber and the Philippine chamber
(but they’re going after you in the corruption charges)
I’ve said before they are unfounded. But and what I can say is we have the constitution. We have laws we have that they have to be followed. We have courts that will enforce them so that’s where we are.
(you think it’s a waste of time)
that’s all I have to say. Hahaha okay
(waste of resources)
(will you be attending the SONA?)
that’s not part of the questionnaire haha. Lets eat.
(the food isn’t ready yet)
ready nab a, ready na ba? Ready na!
I said that disputes should be settled amicably. What we need to do is solidify our position during my administration we enacted republic act 7522 to assure that our baselines are in accordance with the law of the sea convention. That’s a vital step in establishing the limits of our maritime jurisdiction but a lot of work still needs to be done to accomplish this we need to consult with those who are knowledgeable on the issue. That’s what I did I consulted on that issue. There was a committee headed by ed ermita yung cmeo committee on the.. that should be reactivated so the positions can be firmly established.
ako basta I support charter change the mode.. the strategic issue is charter change. The mode is an operational issue. Okay okay. Lets eat. Hahaha.
(thank you maam)