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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8143
JPY
USD
119.23
GBP
USD
0.6390
CAD
USD
1.1596
INR
USD
63.304

Rates may not be current.