By Ben Rosario
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is calling for a budgetary increase to the agricultural sector in order to improve economic growth and fight off inflation.
Interviewed by news reporters, Arroyo also noted that budget for the agricultural sector is currently at 1.5 percent, which is low compared to the six percent it received during her term as president.
“Hindi kasalanan ng present administration, ah. After my administration, binaba (It’s not the fault of the present administration. After my administration, it went down),” Arroyo quickly clarified.
Her statement was apparently in reference to the administration of former President Benigno C. Aquino III who replaced her as chief executive in 2010.
Based on the proposed General Appropriations Act of 2019 (GAA), the Department of Agriculture (DA) will get P76.1 billion next year.
Arroyo backed the stand of the country’s economic managers who declared that improving agricultural output will increase economic growth.
The former president who now heads the House said food prices would particularly impact on Filipino consumers, adding that long-term solution to rising inflation rate is to invest more on agricultural development.
In the same interview, she aired confidence that the much-criticized Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law will, in the end, aid the country in weathering economic crises.
Arroyo recalled that Filipinos have objected strongly to Republic Act 9337 or the Expanded Value Added Tax Act of 2005, which was part of her administration economic reform program.
Both TRAIN and EVAT were blamed for the continuing rise in inflation rate.
Arroyo assured Filipinos that the Duterte administration economic managers are doing the best they to address the grave economic situation faced by the country.
Meanwhile, Arroyo led local and national government officials in a meeting with the initial beneficiaries of the socialized housing program she initiated during her administration in Sitio Pajo, Baesa, Quezon City.
It will be recalled that in 2001, Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 58 which sought to 1.6-hectare property of the National Power Corporation in Sitio Pajo and granted it to its occupants.
EO 58 stated that there were more or less 300 informal settler families, who occupied the land.