Address by the President of the Philippines1, Ferdinand E. Marcos

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department
Published Date:
October 1976
  • ShareShare
Show Summary Details

It is a pleasure for me to welcome, on behalf of the Government and people of the Philippines, the distinguished officials, delegates, and guests at these joint Annual Meetings of the Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

We are singularly honored that on their first conference in Southeast Asia, the Bank and the Fund have chosen to meet here in the Philippines. We have looked forward to this event, and we are confident that it will have far-reaching effects on the welfare of nations and millions of peoples around the world.

In the last few years, a world in crisis has made of these Annual Meetings of the Bank and the Fund a forum for searching deliberations on the overriding economic and social problems of this decade. The severity of the crisis has ebbed but we have not entirely overcome its effects. As the Governors so clearly appreciated in previous meetings, urgent, specific problems have merely underlined the larger issues.

To the simultaneous incidence of inflation and recession, both developed and less developed countries have addressed substantial parts of their energies over the last few years. A combination of national and transnational strategies has succeeded in restoring growth to many economies. The developing countries, upon whom the burdens of inflation and material shortages weighed the heaviest, by a remarkable exercise of national will have shown themselves stronger than the grimmest prognosis.

Yet recovery is shadowed by fears and actual perils of a relapse into crisis. The full results of policies and actions taken in earlier years still have to materialize in forms that truly enhance the well-being of all our countries. We stand on the threshold of great expectations, anticipating the best from all those policies and actions, but it is doubtful that what we have done is enough to meet all the residual, recurrent, and altogether new problems.

Already, published studies of the world economic outlook, and in particular of the prospects of the developing countries, project unprecedented payments deficits at the end of the year and grave problems for the rest of the decade. While official development assistance has declined from 0.52 per cent in 1960 to 0.32 per cent in 1975, substantial amounts now need to be channeled to the developing countries if reasonable growth targets are to be achieved.

We have learned that behind the many problems of specific urgency and effect is the implacable face of human poverty. This is the real beast we have to subdue. In the case of the Philippines, ours is a free enterprise society with an egalitarian base. We are restructuring that society, on the basis of the rebellion of the poor, without necessarily converting the neediest of these into mendicants. Commensurate with every effort we have taken to combat inflation and recession, we have taken cognizance of the need to restructure the economic relationships among nations. But sentiment alone, though it may travel at an unusually high velocity, will not suffice; proposals must now pass into programs that work. We must step into authentic expansion and growth.

Needless to say, substantive differences remain as to how each nation or a group of nations looks at the new order that we must evolve. Whatever these differences between nations or groups of nations, they do not postpone the need to rectify global conditions. The global rebellion of the poor has begun. It must succeed. Unless we conquer poverty in our time, we shall forever continue to move from problems caused by poverty to problems that cause more poverty.

For this reason, we look to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for relief. Both institutions have an impressive record of service to the world community. In recent years, the Bank has adopted a new approach to world development that stresses above all the need to confront poverty. It has insisted that the pressures of crisis, though they require urgent treatment of specific problems such as inflation and payments deficits, must at no time obscure, let alone compromise, meaningful programs of social change.

In the Fund, some beginning has been made toward international monetary reform. Governors of the Fund have approved a far-reaching series of amendments to the IMF Articles of Agreement concerning exchange rate arrangements, special drawing rights, and the role of gold in the emerging system. I hereby announce today the acceptance by the Philippine Government of the second amendment of the Articles of Agreement of the IMF, and call upon other member countries to accept this amendment, which may yet rectify the regrettably small role of the developing countries in the Fund’s decision-making process and which conforms to the Manila Declaration and Program of Action.

But these developments, although commendable and significant, form only part of a necessarily larger transformation process. Policies must now be matched with sufficient will and resources. Commitment to the development of Third World countries must now support the development not only of the poor but of the poorest.

Specifically, there is need to generate capital that would be available for those in need, to reform the terms and conditions of capital transfers or lending programs and policies. The replenishment of IDA funds and the selective increase of capital of the Bank directly support these objectives. It accords to the ideal of a reformed international order to sustain the flow of capital from the developed to the developing countries as well as to have the latter find greater access to more stable markets and receive the consideration that they deserve in the servicing of payment of their foreign debts.

Today, the IMF and the IBRD have the historic opportunity of bringing to a denouement the infinite and patient efforts akin to those being waged in the United Nations General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the North-South dialogue, and many other organizations and forums to bring about a reformed global environment. By their definitive act, they can alter the social equation for those who have until now borne the weight of human poverty and want.

The limit of the possible has not been reached. This meeting in Manila affords these two great world institutions the historic occasion to go now beyond it. In all realism, it invites you to undertake the effort that would extend for millions the dimensions of life on this planet. I wish you all success in this endeavor.

Delivered at the Opening Joint Session, October 4, 1976.

    Other Resources Citing This Publication