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Citicorp CEO Commends Philippine President on Economic Reforms

Philippine News, News Report, Philippine News staff Posted: Sep 26, 2008

NEW YORK -- Citicorp CEO Bill Rhodes told Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a meeting this week, that with the tough economic reforms she instituted, the Philippines will be able to breeze through the fallout of the current U.S. financial turmoil. The head of one of Americas major financial corporations, Rhodes said that the unprecedented financial crunch roiling the U.S. economy showed that Arroyo was right in instituting tough economic and financial reforms.

He said Arroyo possessed the toughness of a leader who can probably do what is necessary to stem the tide (of the U.S. financial problem) if it will reach the Philippines.

Philippine Press Secretary Jesus Dureza narrated what transpired during the 45-minute meeting between Rhodes and Arroyo at the Plaza Hotel. Rhodes congratulated the President for putting in place reforms, even as he pointed out that these reforms will still be put to a test, Dureza said.

He added that Rhodes expressed confidence in the toughness of the President to implement even unpopular decisions needed to get the Philippines through the situation. The Citicorp executive warned that the fallout from the US financial debacle would be long-term, and that all countries have to take stock of the situation, Dureza said.

He has prescriptions for the Philippines and the President listened because he has been advising the President even before, in various meetings in the past, Dureza further said. Rhodes' prescription for the Philippines? Watch inflation as it is going to have a long-term effect in the face of the continuing volatility in the global market amid an impending shift from financials to commodities.

Basically, Rhodes briefed Arroyo on what is happening now in the U.S. economy. He described the U.S. as presently in the eye of a storm. There is calm now but the worst is yet to come, Dureza quoted Rhodes as saying.

He is referring to the collapse of brokerage behemoth Lehman Brothers and the proposed $700 billion bailout that would help the U.S. economy get back on its feet. Earlier, the financial troubles of mortgage institutions Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as Merrill Lynch created a devastating impact on one of the worlds strongest economies.

During her five-day visit, she held meetings with bilateral partners and multilateral organizations.

Her first day in New York started with a meeting with Rhodes at the Presidential Suite of the Plaza. Citibank is the largest bank in the U.S. as of March 2007, and the largest foreign bank in the Philippines.

Later in the day, she attended a reception for heads of delegation hosted by U.S. President and Mrs. Laura Bush at the Waldorf Astoria.

The following day, she was the fourth speaker in the morning session of the U.N. General Assembly, after the President of Brazil, President Bush, and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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