Wednesday, 18 March 2009

PGMA announces more belt-tightening measures


SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga (PND) – Following up her directive for all government agencies to set aside 1.5 percent of their maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) for emergency employment, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced today additional “belt-tightening” measures to soften the impact of the global economic turmoil on the Filipinos.

Among those to be affected by strict cost-cutting measures is the celebration of the country’s 111th Independence Day on June 12.

Interviewed by Fernando “Perry” Pangan, Pampanga Press Club president, assistant vice president and general manager of Pampanga-based radio station DWRW-FM here, the President said the Independence Day program of activities, which cost up to P30 million in previous celebrations, will be dispensed with this year.

“We will do away with the parade and instead we will conduct a mega-jobs fair, combined with a concert,” the President said.

She pointed out that with the mega-jobs fair replacing the parade, new college graduates, displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), out-of-school youths and other job hunters affected by the global economic crisis will have a better crack at employment opportunities.

She added that "very successful Filipino artists" will participate in the concert, which will also include a memorial for Francis Magalona, an artist whom the President said had "written many patriotic songs."

She reiterated her directive for government agencies to save fuel and electricity by using gasoline or diesel fuels “blended” with ethanol. She also renewed her call for electric consumers to use fluorescent instead of incandescent bulbs, saying the shift to fluorescent was paying off in terms of lower electric charges.

“I reminded government agencies this year na dapat ibaba natin ang ating electric consumption by 10 percent at dapat din yung mga nasa siyudad... yung 20 percent ng ating mga sasakyan ay dapat ipalit na sa mga non-fossil fuels using vehicles,” she said.

The President’s directive to local government units (LGUs) to set aside 1.5 percent of their MOOE will generate savings of P7 billion, enough to pay the wages of up to 180,000 workers over a six-month period.

The President likewise announced other belt-tightening measures to support her Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) such as the restriction on the use of government vehicles.

She reminded government workers that “official vehicles cannot be used for personal purposes, that’s why during weekends such vehicles must stay in the garages of the agency and the guards must keep the keys.”

She added that the use of government security plates should be limited to officials with Cabinet rank “unless the guy or the girl faces an imminent threat to their lives or their safety.

“That would be the only exception, otherwise no personal use of these government vehicles,” she said.

These measures, the President said, would greatly help the CLEEP “especially the 39,000 (mostly from export oriented industries) na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa global economic crisis.”

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