GFIs to contribute P100B
MANILA, Philippines—The Social Security System (SSS) is chipping in P12.5 billion to the P300-billion economic stimulus fund meant to help tide the Philippines over this year when the global downturn is anticipated to worsen.
“Government financial institutions were tasked to provide a third of the fund,” SSS president Romulo Neri said in an interview.
“The SSS has committed to its share,” Neri said. “This may be allocated to products with sovereign guarantee.”
President Macapagal-Arroyo has urged Congress to include the stimulus fund in the national budget.
The private sector has pushed late in 2008 for a P100-billion package for infrastructure projects. This package, proposed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is on top of the P300-billion kitty being proposed by the Arroyo administration.
Among the projects that would benefit would include the link-up of the existing light rail systems in Metro Manila and the planned additional lines and others that foreign funders may no longer accommodate or are too big for local banks.
In an interview earlier in this month, Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila said the government agreed with the private sector’s request that projects listed for funding be provided with sovereign guarantee.
However, Favila said the guarantee would be given only to projects that are identified by the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan.
“These projects may be eligible for [guarantee], but not automatically,” he said. “The government will go through the usual due diligence.”
Favila said the plan was for guarantee cover up to 85 percent of the project cost.
Last December, PCCI chair Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said the P100-billion fund was expected to be ready by January.
Ortiz-Luis said the guidelines for using the fund were being readied and that at least one project should have started within the first quarter.
“If there is P40 billion initially, then two or three projects could be started and the rest of the fund and other projects could come later,” he said.–Ronnel Domingo, Philippine Daily Inquirer