THE country’s economy remains robust amid the global financial turmoil, stressed Cabinet secretary Silvestre Bello III during a press briefing in Malacañang shortly after Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
Bello said National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) director-general Ralph Recto told the cabinet that the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is doing well in providing jobs to the people, especially with the establishment of non-voice clientele.
With this development, he said thousands of jobs are expected to be generated from the establishment of call centers in Mindanao.
“The DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] also reported that BPOs are expected to produce thousands of jobs in Mindanao, especially in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, General Santos,” Bello said.
The construction of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Phase 2 project is also seen to generate thousands of jobs, Bello said, noting that the housing, food, and tourism industries remain to be resilient.
“Middle income and lower income housing have grown sturdy. Food giants are pursuing expansion plans, malls are on a double-digit growth as people continue to patronize them,” he said.
In the tourism sector, Bello said data of airline firms and other transport players show that tourism traffic went up in the first quarter of 2009, which could be attributed to the low fare rates promo of the different airlines.
Bello said President Gloria Arroyo had instructed all government agencies to fast-track the implementation of their respective economic resiliency program.
“She said sixty percent of all infrastructure projects must be bidded out in the first semester of 2009,” Bello stressed.
He said President Arroyo’s instructions include implementation of projects on a 24/7 basis.
As such, she instructed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to double check if the flyover from Luzon Avenue to C-5 is being constructed on a 24/7 work schedule.
Other instructions by the president include the completion of farm-to-market road projects at 60 percent of the annual targets.
An annual budget of P2 billion is allocated for farm-to- market roads for 2009.
Meanwhile, Press secretary Cerge Remonde said Recto also reported that the Philippine Stock Exchange “is the best performing stock exchange in Asia.”
“This could mean a very good sign for our economy. This proves again that we have established very strong economic fundamentals and that the fiscal reforms that the President has implemented has redounded to the stability and resiliency of the economy,” Remonde said. A report from Janice M. Cave of PNA