Roadmap aims to bring Philippines back to ‘high-growth trajectory’

A general view of the Metro Manila skyline. - AFP

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has signed an executive order (EO) approving the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for the period of 2023-2028, setting the country’s economic roadmap during his presidency.

EO No. 14, signed on Jan 27 and released on Monday (Jan 30), states that the PDP is anchored on the “AmBisyon Natin 2040” programme and aims to “bring back the country to a high-growth trajectory and... enable economic and social transformation for a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient society.”

AmBisyon Natin 2040, conceived by the administration of the late Benigno Aquino III, saw its initial implementation in the succeeding administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

It serves as a 25-year development program covering at least four administrations, with its objective to enable Filipinos to attain a “strongly rooted, comfortable and secure life” by 2040.

The PDP is also anchored on Marcos’ socioeconomic agenda seeking to reinvigorate job creation and accelerate poverty reduction while tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) on Monday held a forum on the PDP at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Neda Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the event was the first in a series of stakeholder discussions and roadshows promoting PDP 2023-2028.

In his remarks, Marcos said economic policies should take into account the lives of ordinary Filipinos.

“[This] is something... deeply personal to all of us. It is something that we know requires action. The struggles of our fellow Filipinos run deeper than the bigger and more macro problems that we in the government encounter,” the president said.

He expressed hope that the plan would set the Philippines toward becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2025, or in two years.

“These are truly bold plans, but I have the confidence in the brilliant minds who will become our partners in realising the vision contained in this document and faith in the capacity of our people,” Marcos said.

The Neda board approved the plan on Dec 16, 2022.

The agency said the PDP would enable the economy to maintain a 6- to 7-per cent growth this year and reach up to 8-per cent growth by next year until 2028.

The government also set its sights on raising employment in the private sector to 53 to 55 percent and keeping unemployment at 4 to 5 per cent.

The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority pegged the percentage of salary workers in private firms at 48.1 per cent and unemployment at 4.2 per cent as of November last year.

The government further aims to reduce poverty incidence to 8 to 9 per cent by 2028. The latest recorded poverty incidence is 18 per cent as of 2021.

Research group Ibon, however, didn’t think highly of that plan, describing it as a rehash of the same roadmap since the martial law regime of Marcos’ father.

Ibon said PDPs have had the same framework through the decades, making the economy more export-oriented as it is further opened up to foreign investors.

Amid that economic direction, manufacturing has fallen to its smallest share of the gross domestic product since the 1950s, while that of agriculture shrank to its smallest in the country’s history, the group said.

“The PDP is underpinned by an out-of-date free market globalization framework which is the very same approach that kept the Philippine economy persistently underdeveloped for the past decades,” Ibon said in a statement.

“Changing global conditions of dampening exports and investments only point to the urgency of much more domestic-led and democratic development,” it added.

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Philippines , road map , economy


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