10-point economic agenda backed
DAVAO CITY—Bilateral partners and multilateral agencies have pledged support to the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda, committing involvement in projects in agriculture, infrastructure and rural development in the next six years.
The government, for its part, committed to fast-track projects aimed at significantly slashing poverty, as economic managers plan to work closely with the legislative and the judiciary in making sure that projects do not get delayed by differing rules.
In a press conference following the two-day Philippines Development Forum, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the inputs generated from the forum’s about 370 participants would be considered in the crafting of the 2018 national budget, which the Department of Budget and Management would start working on in the first quarter of next year, as well as the Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022 to be released by state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority early next year.
Dominguez told reporters that once the 2018 national budget was drafted, the Department of Finance would again convene development partners to present to them the specific projects and programs available for funding.
For their part, development partners committed to support the projects to be implemented as part of the 10-point agenda aimed at slashing poverty incidence to 13-15 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent last year.
Jin Yuan, counselor at the Chinese embassy in the Philippines, said it would work with Neda in drafting a six-year development plan that would foster closer economic cooperation between Manila and Beijing.
The Chinese official said a delegation would arrive from China to explore the possibility of importing more bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruits from the Philippines.
Also, China is interested to invest in the Philippines’ agriculture and infrastructure sectors, specifically agriculture infrastructure such as irrigation facilities, the Chinese official added.
The representatives of Japan and the European Union likewise committed to sustain funding support for programs aimed at promoting peace in war-torn Mindanao.
Similarly, officials of multilateral lenders such as the World Bank also pledged support to initiatives that would promote inclusive growth, job creation and poverty alleviation, said its country director Mara Warwick.
“Infrastructure, governance, finance and social sectors—we’ll be pleased to support the Philippine government in these areas moving ahead,” said Richard Bolt, country director for the Philippines of Manila-based Asian Development Bank.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said the executive branch was planning to meet with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Nov. 16 to talk to her as “the judiciary is also a stumbling block to projects,” on top of plans to convene the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) before yearend.
“This can be a friendly conversation for the three branches of government to work together,” said Pernia, citing that three branches sometimes have friction and different ways of doing things. “We will be in collaboration mode to get things faster.”
Pernia said emergency powers for the President to speed up the rollout of infrastructure projects to address the traffic crisis in urban areas were necessary, but “even without emergency power, if we would have a meeting of the three branches of government, it’s a better way of moving things.”
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