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Manufacturing sector to get fresh boost

By: Michelle V. Remo, June 27th, 2013 06:15 AM

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Boosting the manufacturing sector will be a highlight of the government’s updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP), with economic officials having a consensus this strategy would address what critics describe as “jobless growth” the country is experiencing.

The Aquino administration’s economic team is in the process of updating the PDP for 2010 to 2016 with the aim of making the country’s robust growth meaningful—one that actually results in poverty reduction and does not benefit only the rich and the middle class.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government wants the updated PDP to be focused on generation of substantially more and higher quality jobs so that the still high poverty incidence will significantly be reduced.

“We want to see a revival of the country’s manufacturing sector. We want to focus the government’s development program on generating more employment opportunities and high quality jobs,” Baliscan said.

The government’s economic team is expected to release the updated PDP before the end of this year.

To boost the manufacturing sector, Baliscan said, the government will have to address problems in the bureaucracy that makes it difficult for investors to do business in the Philippines.

He also said the government intends to allocate more funds for infrastructure to complement the requirements of industries.

An increase in the budget for education and training also is expected to be part of the updated PDP so the country can meet the labor requirements of potential investors in the manufacturing sector.

The Philippines was one of the few countries that avoided contraction during the global recession in 2009. Also, it posted robust growth in 2012 and in the first quarter of this year at 6.8 and 7.8 percent, respectively, thus grabbing the spotlight amid a lackluster global economy.

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