Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Philippines takes measures to buoy economy

After experiencing its fastest economic growth in many years during 2007, the Philippines is expected slower but still healthy growth this year due to the skyrocketing inflation.

Rising fuel and food prices in the Philippines are part of a global crisis due to the high cost of oil and the hoarding of rice and other grains.

For the first time in a decade, Manila will put off trying to balance the budget in favor of providing subsidies to alleviate the surging fuel and food costs.

Philippine foreign reserves are at a record $37 billion due to massive foreign investment and remittances and the privatization of a power plant. The government is looking toward new technologies to help with the food crisis. Hopefully though, it will not get lured into the dangers of biotechnology and genetically-modified foods.

One area it is known to be researching are ways to alleviate the environmental impacts of aquaculture.

Another recent project is the "Zero Garbage" initiative that encourages households to compost and plant their own gardens, and community gardens to supplement their food stocks, help clean the air locally and reduce the burden on the local government in disposing of mountains of garbage.

Commuters queue outside a train station in Manila in this June ...
Mon Jul 7, 8:51 PM ET

Commuters queue outside a train station in Manila in this June 16, 2008 file photo. Increasing numbers of Filipinos are leaving their cars at home and taking public transport to ease the burden of soaring fuel costs. As inflation soars in the Philippines and gasoline prices climb relentlessly, more and more commuters in the capital are squeezing into suburban trains and public buses, putting an enormous strain on the services. To match feature PHILIPPINES-INFLATION/TRANSPORT REUTERS/John Javellana/Files