State planning agency National Economic and Development Authority Tuesday said the Neda Board chaired by President Duterte approved on Monday the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, which will serve as the administration’s development blueprint.
The government plans to reduce poverty, especially in the provinces, as well as joblessness through sustained robust economic growth in the next six years in line with the vision to make the country a high-income country by 2040.
Neda said the PDP 2017-2022 targeted 7-8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the medium term, with economic expansion seen trickling down and benefiting more Filipinos.
The PDP 2017-2022’s inclusive growth thrust would slash national poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent in 2015, Neda added. In rural areas, the higher poverty rate of 30 percent in 2015 was expected to be cut to 20 percent in six years’ time through the medium-term plan, Neda added.
As for job creation, the PDP 2017-2022 wanted to reduce unemployment to as low as 3 percent by 2022 from 5.5 percent at present, according to Neda.
Also, “included among the targets are higher trust in government and society, more resilient individuals and communities and a greater drive for innovation,” Neda said.
Neda noted that the PDP 2017-2022 was the first medium-term development plan anchored on the long-term vision dubbed “AmBisyon Natin 2040.”
Launched last year, AmBisyon Natin 2040 was aimed at tripling Filipinos’ per capita income to $11,000 in 24 years’ time by sustaining at least 6.5-percent annual GDP growth alongside the implementation of policies that would make the Philippines a high-income country by 2040.
A survey conducted early last year showed that the majority of Filipinos aspire for a “simple and comfortable life,” which Neda had said reflected middle-class lifestyle—earning enough, educating all children until college, owning a car, owning a medium-sized house, finding time to relax with family and friends, owning a business and being able to travel around the country.
Last October, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 5, which adopted the AmBisyon Natin 2040 as the long-term vision for the Philippines such that “by 2040, the Philippines shall be a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor.”
Neda added that the PDP 2017-2022 also took off from the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda ultimately aimed at slashing poverty.
“By the end of 2022, Filipinos will be closer to achieving their long-term aspirations. Through this PDP, the current administration will lay a solid foundation for inclusive growth, a high-trust society and a globally competitive knowledge economy by grounding its development thrusts on Malasakit, Pagbabago and Patuloy na Pag-unlad,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said, referring to the three pillars of the PDP 2017-2022.
“We want the Philippines to be an upper-middle income country by 2022. With the right policies and with mutual trust between government and the citizenry, this is very possible,” said Pernia, who is also the Neda chief.
Neda said the PDP 2017-2022’s “Malasakit” pillar “aims to regain people’s trust in public institutions and cultivate trust among fellow Filipinos” by “promoting awareness of anticorruption measures, improving the productivity of the public sector, implementing regulatory reforms, increasing access to legal aid, pursuing corrections reform, and promoting culture-sensitive governance and development.”
The second pillar “Pagbabago” would allow “inequality-reducing transformation through increasing opportunities for growth of output and income.”
Under the second pillar, Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon said “opportunities in agriculture would be expanded, presence in the global market would be expanded and bureaucratic processes would be streamlined for both local and foreign businesses. “We will pursue strategies such as achieving quality and accessible basic education for all, enhancing disaster risk reduction and management mechanisms, and adopting universal social protection,” she added.
As for the third pillar “Patuloy na Pag-unlad,” Neda said it would “concentrate on increasing potential growth through sustaining and accelerating economic growth… by maximizing the demographic dividend and vigorously advancing science, technology and innovation.”
Strategies under this pillar would ensure maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability and observing fiscal prudence while the tax system was being reformed into a much simpler, fair and equitable one, Neda said, noting that a strategic trade policy would also be implemented alongside measures to promote competition and establish a level playing field.
According to Neda, “under these three pillars lie four cross-cutting bedrock strategies, which are attaining just and lasting peace; ensuring security, public order and safety; accelerating strategic infrastructure development, and ensuring ecological integrity and a clean and healthy environment.”
“Furthermore, to set the direction for future growth, the PDP 2017-2022 espouses a National Spatial Strategy (NSS), recognizing that population, geography, and cities are engines of economic growth.
The NSS was adopted to identify specific strategies and policies in order to decongest Metro Manila, connect rural areas to key growth areas, and to improve linkages between settlements for higher resilience against natural disasters,” according to Neda.