News / Economy

Philippine President Defends Economic Stimulus Program

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III addresses the nation in a live broadcast from the Presidential Palace in Manila, July 14, 2014.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III addresses the nation in a live broadcast from the Presidential Palace in Manila, July 14, 2014.
Simone Orendain

Philippine President Benigno Aquino is defending an economic stimulus program amid calls for his impeachment as well as the resignation of his budget secretary. 

President Aquino said the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program was meant to give the economy an immediate boost.  The idea behind the funding mechanism is to take unspent money from government agencies and immediately inject it into public projects to speed up their completion.

Aquino said his administration came up with the program in 2011 because under-spending significantly brought down the Gross Domestic Product.

During a nationally televised address he said, “Without doubt, any good leader would want to implement projects that benefit the public at the soonest possible time.  He said he did "not see any reason to delay benefits for our countrymen, especially because we have the wherewithal to alleviate their plight.”

Various groups filed petitions with the Supreme Court questioning the program.  On July 1 the high court said portions were unconstitutional.  The court said it was unconstitutional to take unspent money out of budgets before the fiscal year ended, transfer them to branches of government beyond the office of the executive and fund projects that were not covered by the general spending plan.

Aquino addressed the court directly pointing out the legal basis for the program was based on an administrative code from 1987.  He said it clearly allowed the president to transfer savings to other projects.

“The Disbursement Acceleration Program is good,” he said.  “Our intentions, our processes, and the results were correct,  …  he promised he "will not allow your suffering to be prolonged-especially if we could do what we can as early as now.”   

The decision prompted calls for the country’s budget secretary to resign.  Secretary Florencio Abad tried to submit his resignation last week, but Aquino refused to accept it.  At least one private citizen has filed an impeachment case over the issue and some citizens’ groups say more will follow.

Aquino has been under fire as one of the largest political scandals to rock the country plays out.  The administration canceled special lawmaker allocations after it was discovered that certain officials allegedly received kickbacks in a scheme that cycled the funds through bogus non-government agencies and returned the money to them.  This brought closer scrutiny to the disbursement program.

The president’s popularity has reached an all-time low this year.  After having mostly polled above 60 percent since he took office in 2010, the numbers declined. Manila-based Pulse Asia found last month his approval rating dropped to 56 percent from 70 percent in March.

One survey by Manila-based Social Weather Stations shows the lowest ratings, so far.  The survey also taken last month shows his net satisfaction rating was down to 25 percent from 45 percent in March. 

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8012
JPY
USD
117.52
GBP
USD
0.6346
CAD
USD
1.1249
INR
USD
61.875

Rates may not be current.