Arroyo, a practicing economist, has made the economy the focus of her presidency. Early in her presidency, Arroyo implemented a controversial policy of holiday economics, adjusting holidays to form longer weekends with the purpose of boosting domestic tourism and allowing Filipinos more time with their families. Economic growth in terms of gross domestic product has averaged 4.6?uring the Arroyo presidency from 2001 up to the end of 2005. This is higher than previous recent presidents when compared to the 3.8?verage of Aquino, the 3.7?verage of Ramos, and the 2.8?verage of Joseph Estrada. Inflation during the Arroyo presidency has been the lowest since 1986, averaging 2.5?
Arroyo's handling of the economy has earned praise from observers including former US President Bill Clinton, who praised Arroyo for making "tough decisions" that put the Philippine economy back in shape.
It was once reported that a series of 100-peso bills misspelling her name as "Arrovo" were released during the early part of her presidency. Most of these bills were withdrawn from circulation.
A controversial expanded value added tax (e-VAT) law, considered the centerpiece of the Arroyo administration's economic reform agenda, was implemented in November 2005, aiming to complement revenue-raising efforts that could plug the country's large budget deficit. The tax measure boosted confidence in the government's fiscal capacity and helped to strengthen the Philippine peso, making it East Asia's best performing currency in 2005-06. The peso strengthened by nearly 20?n 2007, making it by far Asia's best performing currency for the year, a fact attributed to a combination of increased remittances from overseas Filipino workers and a strong domestic economy.
DBM Directory of advisers and assistants
On January 2008, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) directory officially listed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's personal advisers and assistants (undersecretaries, directors and assistant secretaries) in the total of 54. These exclude those under the offices of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye and their bureaus and agencies attached to the Office of the President. Vice President Noli de Castro's office pays only 3 officials: a chief of staff, an assistant chief of staff and a director for administration and finance.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with George W. Bush during the latter's state visit to the Philippines in 2003.The Arroyo administration has forged a strong relationship with the United States. Arroyo was one of the first world leaders who expressed support for the US-led coalition against global terrorism in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and remains one of its closest allies in the war on terror. Following the US-led invasion of Iraq, in July 2003 the Philippines sent a small humanitarian contingent which included medics and engineers. These troops were recalled in July 2004 in response to the kidnapping of Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz. With the hostage takers demands met, the hostage was released. The force was previously due to leave Iraq the following month.The early pullout drew international condemnation, with the United States protesting against the action, saying giving in to terrorist demands should not be an option.
Arroyo's foreign policy is anchored on building strong ties with the United States, East Asian and Southeast Asian nations, and countries where overseas Filipino workers work and live. In 2007, the Philippines was host to the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu City.
On August 21, 2007, Gloria's administration asked the Senate of the Philippines to ratify a $4bn (£2bn) trade deal with Japan (signed on 2006 with the former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi), which would create more than 300,000 jobs (by specifically increasing local exports such as shrimp to Japan). Japan also promised to hire at least 1,000 Philippine nurses. The opposition-dominated senate objected on the ground that toxic wastes would be sent to the Philippines; the government denied this due to the diplomatic notes which stated that it would not be accepting Japanese waste in exchange for economic concessionsDomestic policies
In 2005, Arroyo initiated a movement for an overhaul of the constitution to transform the present presidential-bicameral republic into a federal parliamentary-unicameral form of government. At her 2005 State of the Nation Address, she claimed "The system clearly needs fundamental change, and the sooner the better. It's time to start the great debate on Charter Change".
In late 2006, the House of Representatives shelved a plan to revise the constitution through constituent assembly.
Executive Order No. 464 and calibrated preemptive response
How the House of Representatives voted in favor (green) and against (blue) in impeaching ArroyoIn late September 2005, Arroyo issued an executive order stating that demonstrations without permits would be pre-emptively stopped. Then members of the military testified in Congressional hearings that they were defying a direct order not to testify about their knowledge of the election scandal. There is the issuance of Executive Order No. 464 forbidding government officials under the executive department from appearing in congressional inquiries without President Arroyo's prior consent.  These measures were challenged before the Supreme Court, which apparently declared some sections as unconstitutional.
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Gloria Arroyo flanked by United States Marines.A May 2006 Amnesty International report expressed concern over the sharp rise in vigilante killings of militant activists and community workers in the Philippines. Task Force Usig, a special police unit tasked to probe reported extra-judicial killings, by state run death squads counts 115 murders and says most of these are the result of an internal purge by communist rebels.  Human rights groups put the number as high as 830.
These violations were alleged to have been committed against left-leaning organizations and party-list groups including BAYAN, Bayan Muna and Anakpawis. These organizations accuse the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines for the deaths of these political opponents. Arroyo has condemned political killings "in the harshest possible terms" and urged witnesses to come forward. "The report, which Melo submitted to Arroyo last month, reportedly linked state security forces to the murder of militants and recommended that military officials, notably retired major general Jovito Palparan, be held liable under the principle of command responsibility for killings in their areas of assignment."     
General Palparan who retired September 11, 2006 has been appointed by President Arroyo to be part of the Security Council. This has alarmed left-leaning political parties about the potential for human rights violations.
An independent commission was assembled in August 2006 to investigate the killings. Headed by former Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo, the group known as the Melo Commission concluded that most of the killings were instigated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but found no proof linking the murder of activists to a "national policy" as claimed by the left-wing groups. On the other hand the report "linked state security forces to the murder of militants and recommended that military officials, notably retired major general Jovito Palparan, be held liable under the principle of command responsibility for killings in their areas of assignment." Stricter anti-terror laws have also caused some concern in recent years.
Under Arroyo's government, the Philippines has become second only to Iraq as the world's riskiest place to report the news, with 23 journalists killed since 2003
In her July 23, 2007 State of the Nation Address, Arroyo has set out her agenda for her last three years in office, and called for legislation to deal with a spate of political killings that have brought international criticism to her presidency. She promised to bring peace to the troubled south, and also defended a controversial new anti-terrorism legislation. Arroyo told the joint session of Congress that "I would rather be right than popular."Lawmakers and lawyers, however, were dismayed by the SONA's failure to highlight and address this major hindrance to human rights. Specifically, the Alternative Law Groups (ALG) echoed the lawmakers’ position that Mrs Arroyo failed to take responsibility for the problem.
In 2007, incidences of extrajudicial killings dropped 87?with the decline attributed to the creation of a special task force to handle the killings.
On September 5, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Amnesty Proclamation 1377 for members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army; other communist rebel groups; and their umbrella organization, the National Democratic Front. The amnesty will cover the crime of rebellion and all other crimes "in pursuit of political beliefs," but not including crimes against chastity, r**e, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols "even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs." The National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) will issue a Certificate of Amnesty to qualified applicants. Implement
Answered By: sensekonomikx - 3/16/2008