WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Philippine Secretaries of Finance, Budget and Management, and Socioeconomic Planning discussed the Duterte Administration’s plan of action to reduce poverty and inequality during engagements with the business and Filipino-American communities on 05 October 2016.
In a special edition of the Talakayan sa Pasuguan, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Ernesto Pernia expressed the need for innovative statistics that will accurately track how economic growth is distributed across geographic regions and income classes.
“Poverty- and inequality-reducing economic growth requires a rebalancing of the economy,” said Secretary Pernia in reference to programs aimed at expanding development from the National Capital Region to rural areas in other parts of the country.
“Our policies and our plans are certainly aimed at reducing the differentials between the growths in the regions,” added Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.
Secretary Dominguez noted how the concentration of investments and infrastructure in Metro Manila has resulted in two-thirds of gross domestic product being produced in this area. He likewise cited the huge gap in the gross national income per capita between Metro Manila (Php 100,000/year) and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Php 26,000/year).
“This is what we are addressing. This is what the electorate is asking us. This is why they elected the three top officials of our country from Mindanao,” the Finance Secretary stated, referring to the President, the Senate President and Speaker of the House.
Critical to the Administration’s socioeconomic agenda is improving infrastructure, to which more resources will be committed, according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
“From 2017 to 2022, we’re spending around Php 8.2 trillion for public infrastructure,” Secretary Diokno said.
This is to be achieved, he said, by “changing the way we budget,” in that only projects that are shovel-ready will be included in the budget; doing projects in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao on a non-stop basis; and using technology, such as drones and Google Maps, to boost monitoring capability.
“There will be no ghost projects under the Duterte Administration,” the Budget Secretary stressed.
He also explained that a large part of the budget will be invested in education, health and nutrition, and social services, in order to develop the Filipino youth into a competent, healthy and agile workforce.
In a separate briefing for the business community, Secretaries Diokno and Pernia discussed how reforms in government procurement and cutting bureaucratic red tape can enhance the competitiveness of the Philippine economy and boost its attractiveness to foreign investments, as well as will result in more affordable services for individual citizens and businesses.
The economic managers gave the assurance that previous initiatives that have yielded positive results for the economy will be carried on by the present Administration. They cited the strong macroeconomic fundamentals and drivers for growth that continue to attract foreign investments into the Philippines.
Secretaries Dominguez, Pernia and Diokno are in the US capital to attend the 2016 World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (WBG-IMF) Annual Meetings from 05 to 08 October 2016. ###