Palace welcomes Moody’s PH growth forecast, 24 Jan. 2017

A Malacañan official on Tuesday welcomed Moody’s forecast on the Philippine economic growth in 2016.

“We welcome the most recent report released by global debt watcher, Moody’s, stating that the Philippine economy likely grew by 7.05 percent in 2016, which is higher than the government’s full year growth target of 6 to 7 percent,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said at a press briefing in Malacañan.

“We also take note that the main driver of this continued growth is the increase in domestic demand, private consumption and expansion in investment. This is consistent with the government’s effort to reach a target of 6 to 7 percent growth for the whole year of 2016 to 2017,” Abella added.

The Palace official assured the Filipino people that continued growth would be sustained by boosting infrastructure spending, creating more jobs, easing the cost of doing business, and reducing the poverty incidence rate.

“The President’s economic stance is clear and consistent: to make economic growth not only sustainable but also inclusive,” he further said.

At the same press briefing, Abella expressed the Philippine government’s apology to the South Korean government over the death of businessman Jee Ick Joo, who was abducted from his residence and allegedly killed inside Camp Crame, the National Headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We wish to take this occasion to express the condolences and sympathies of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the Filipino people to Mrs. Choi Kyung-jin, the widow of Mr. Jee Ick Joo, the South Korean national who met untimely death while in police custody,” Abella said.

“We apologize to the South Korean government and people for this irreparable loss. But we commit the full force of the law to ensure that justice is served and not delayed. To the Korean people, please accept our sincerest and deepest regrets,” he added.

Jee was allegedly kidnapped by some rogue policemen last October from his home in Angeles City, Pampanga and brought to Camp Crame, where he was allegedly killed.

Meanwhile, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz and General Manager Alexander Balutan, who joined Abella at the press briefing announced the agency’s launching of the expanded small town lottery (STL).

“Today as we formally launch the expanded STL here in Malacanang, we finally draw the line and declare that it’s time to put a stop to illegal gambling. It is no secret to anyone that illegal gambling has been the scourge of this country for the longest time, spawning corruption in different agencies and levels of government,” said Balutan.

For his part, Corpuz stressed that STL is the only legal and authorized game nationwide. He encouraged illegal gambling operators to join STL and “go legal”.

He said from 18 corporations in 2006, PCSO now has 56 corporations operating throughout the country.

He noted that PCSO is expected to generate P27.8 billion this year from the 56 corporations, which he said would be used to help millions of underprivileged Filipinos under the agency’s medical assistance program and hospital modernization.###PND