PH $1-B pledge to IMF draws jeers, cheersBy Gil C. Cabacungan, Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Aquino administration’s pledge to lend $1 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday drew mixed reactions.
A militant labor group slammed the administration’s pledge, saying the funds should be spent for Filipinos suffering from widespread unemployment, poverty, malnutrition and hunger.
On the other hand, an administration ally in the House praised the government for agreeing to pitch in to the IMF’s fund-raising efforts to bail out tumbling economies in Europe.
“Planet Earth to the Aquino government: The Philippines is still a poor country,” the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said in a statement.
But Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol “Magi” Gunigundo said the move to lend $1 billion from the country’s gross international reserves to the IMF would “actually hit two birds with one stone.”
“We will earn interest and help our kababayans or overseas Filipino workers in Europe to keep their jobs by helping their economies survive the current turmoil,” said Gunigundo. “If Europe’s economy falls, our OFWs in the region will lose their jobs not to mention our exports will also fall.”
Gunigundo said that while the Philippines does have its own problems, “we should have a global perspective considering that what happens in Europe will be felt in other regions such as Asia and the US.”
KMU said the pledge, which was announced at the recent Group of 20 meeeting in Mexico by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., would most likely be sourced from taxpayers’ money and go to the IMF’s “war chest” for helping economies distressed by the current severe economic crisis.
“What were they thinking? That amount can be used to improve social services such as education, health, and housing and build basic industries to generate employment,” KMU chair Elmer Labog said.
“Where will the Aquino government get this huge amount? From a new tax measure, which will worsen the poverty and hunger being experienced by workers and the people?” he asked.
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