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Byline: NORMAN P. AQUINO
Government, business, labor and civil society leaders convened yesterday to forge what is supposed to be a doable, timely and effective socioeconomic action agenda for the country for the next two years.
The government-sponsored meeting was held to ensure sustained economic growth and mitigate the impact of the global economic slowdown.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who spoke for almost an hour during the half-day summit at the Manila Hotel, refuted criticisms the meeting was just another propaganda exercise and media event where nothing substantive could be achieved.
"This is no ordinary political exercise. We are going to do what we say. We are going to back up our priorities with resources," the President told summit participants in a keynote speech.
Yesterday's event culminated in the signing of the National Socio-Economic Pact of 2001, dubbed "National Unity to Face the Challenge of the Global Economic Crisis."
In the nine-page agreement, participants pledged to improve peace and order, strengthen security and put a speedy end to local terrorism.
Delegates also vowed to improve the delivery of basic social services, including housing, and protect vulnerable sectors especially the poor and displaced workers.