JUNE 29 2009

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay said Malacanang should account for actual investment, development assistance and jobs generated by Mrs. Arroyo’s foreign travels since 2001.

Binay said the so-called fruits of  Mrs. Arroyo’s travels released by Malacanang was just a list of commitments and not actual benefits.

“Which of these commitments and pledges of development assistance were fulfilled? How many jobs were actually generated? How many Filipinos were actually employed in the countries she had visited?,” he said.

“Malacanang should give substance to their press releases. What they should provide are the actual benefits from her travels, not a convenient list of commitments and pledges,” he said.

“Government expenses are justified by the benefits they bring to the taxpayers. But until now, we have not seen any proof of concrete benefits from Mrs. Arroyo’s foreign travels. The only ones who seem to benefit from these travels are her family and personal assistants, not to mention scores of political allies and their families,” he said.

Binay cited the 2007 visit to China , when Malacanang said Mrs. Arroyo’s 12-hour trip netted investments totaling almost $1 billion.

“When Mrs. Arroyo arrived from her unscheduled visit to Boao , China to personally witness the signing of the NBN-ZTE deal, Malacanang was quick to announce that she brought home $904.38 million in investments,” he said.

“Where are those investments now? What we got was the scandal-ridden NBN-ZTE deal. Did the millions materialize in the Philippine economy or in the pockets of some very powerful personalities?,” he added.

He also said when Mrs. Arroyo returned from her unscheduled trip to Dubai , Malacanang rolled out a list of investment pledges and job openings.

“Again, what happened to those pledges and the supposed job openings?” he said.

Binay reminded the Palace that the recruitment industry is not upbeat about job prospects in the Middle East, particularly Dubai which has been badly hit by the financial crisis.

“Malacanang should be more prudent in their announcements, especially of job openings since they raise false hopes among many of our countrymen. As a result, they become easy prey to illegal recruiters and human traffickers, as what we have seen in the last few months,” he said.


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