"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Arroyo gov’t falters in boosting Tourism, Investment

Davao City – Senator Richard Gordon has lamented the failure of the Arroyo government to allocate funds for the promotion of tourism and for generation of foreign investments.

Sen. Gordon told the Davao media the other day that “what we have right now is a defensive budget that doesn’t prepare us for economic growth. We need to review our priorities and allocate funds to the departments which can boost our economy by bringing the investment opportunities.”

Gordon scored the government’s proposed budget for appropriating any money to push tourism and set the conditions that would make the country attractive to foreign investors.

He recalled that during the recent briefing to the Senate Committee on Finance, the proposed budget seemed focused solely on bridging the fiscal gap, with little or no attention been given to “pump priming” activities such as tourism and foreign investments promotion which, by their very nature, would create jobs and bring in foreign currency whose multiplier effect would most certainly be felt by our countrymen.

Gordon was here as keynote speaker of the Mindanao wide Red Cross Chapter in this city. He also had a meeting with the media and discussed a number of current issues.

‘Tourism is the country’s engine of growth and it’s the only the bright spot in the administration today. It is the fastest way to earn the dollars that we need, but sadly the Department of Tourism (DoT) isn’t even in the top ten priority department for next year’s budget.” Gordon exclaimed.

The top three priority departments in the proposed budget are the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of National Defense (DND).

Gordon disclosed that he had long been pushing for the provision of adequate funds for tourism and generation of foreign investments.

The senator enjoined Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Romulo Neri to be more vigorous in advising the executive on the utilization of its resources pursuant to the attainment of its development goal.

In the same briefing, Gordon suggested the need for the Bangko ng Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the banks under its jurisdiction to exert more efforts geared towards allowing our less privileged countrymen greater access to micro-finance lending activities to encourage entrepreneurship.

Gil Abarico
Manila Bulletin
25 October 2005