MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang yesterday renewed President Arroyo’s call on government agencies to tighten their belts and use their savings to provide emergency employment to the poor to help tide them over in the coming months.
In an interview with dzRB, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde described Mrs. Arroyo’s belt-tightening order as a “very significant directive.”
“We reiterate the very significant directive of the President, the order that government agencies should save so the savings would be given to the people, especially to the poor,” Remonde said.
The President issued the order during a visit to Cebu City over the weekend.
Mrs. Arroyo told government agencies to reserve 1.5 percent of their maintenance, operating and other expenses (MOOE) for emergency employment, saying the combined P7-billion plus in savings would be enough to hire some 150,000 Filipinos.
“This (emergency employment) would help prevent our countrymen from being dislocated because of the economic crisis. This is a good program,” Remonde said.
He said the President had ordered the Department of Labor (DOLE) to pinpoint the sectors that are losing jobs to be able to help their displaced workers by tracking and offering them emergency jobs.
Speaking at the 4th Asia-Pacific Convention of the Kiwanis International in Cebu City last week, Mrs. Arroyo said the government must continue to come to the rescue of the poorest.
“In challenging economic times, therefore, the government must tighten its own belt and live within its own means, so that we can have the money to pay for all of these subsidies and programs that I mentioned earlier. So we must live within our own means just like the average Filipino household,” she said.
“To that end, the government is taking a series of actions to stop unnecessary and wasteful spending. The taxpayers deserve no less from the government and public servants,” she added.
By Paolo Romero, Philippine Star