Addressing poverty is key to more inclusive, sustainable growth

With the strong growth of the Philippine economy in the last six years, with average growth rate rising to around 6.2 percent from about three percent in the past, it is sad that more people still live in poverty.

Thus, the Duterte administration has proposed several tax reforms, citing that the current tax system in the country have lots of loopholes, which hampers the inclusion of more people from the domestic expansion and limits the country’s competitiveness, among others.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, in his speech during the 1 with the 99 Tax Forum in EDSA Shangri-La Wednesday, said reforms in the tax system targeted to slash poverty incidence rate in the country to 14 percent by 2022.
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data show that poverty incidence among Filipinos is estimated at 21.6 percent as of end-2015, lower than the 25.2 percent in 2012.
Subsistence incidence, or share of those with incomes below the food threshold, was estimated at 8.1 percent in end-2015, down from the 10.4 percent in the previous three years.
How will the government ensure that more Filipinos have money to finance even their basic needs?
Dominguez said this could be done if more people would be able to go to school, healthy and eventually find quality jobs, which in turn would be provided by higher investments on infrastructure.
The current government targets to spend at least PHP8 trillion until 2022 for its massive infrastructure program, called “Build, Build, Build!”.
Domiguez said the government’s “ambitious” infrastructure program aimed to “allow the economy to be as efficient as the economies of our progressive neighbors.”
“We have called our infra program “Build, Build, Build!” to emphasize the urgency of addressing the congestion and inefficiency that threaten to choke our economic expansion. Bad infra can only contribute to economic exclusion,” he said.
The Finance chief said bringing the country’s infrastructure and logistics backbone at par with other Asian countries and aligning tax rates to regional average would enable the country to be among the high-income economies by 2040.
He said the government should maximize the benefits of current low interest rate environment in the country, along with oil prices that are currently “at benevolent levels,” and the regime of demographic sweet spot, or having a young workforce.
“This is the chance for us to break out from the cycle of moderate growth and achieve a fast-growing, dynamic and investment-driven economy. This is a conjuncture that allows us to join the ranks of tiger economies. We should not let this historic opportunity pass us.
“If we fail to reform our tax policies at this time, we will miss economic opportunities that may never converge again. On the other hand, if we act promptly and decisively, we will have the means to bring the next generation of Filipinos to prosperity,” he added. (PNA)



President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said his administration would pursue without let-up an iron-fist campaign against graft and corruption, and criminality, that have been stalling the country’s road to progress.

Duterte, who takes his oath as the 16thPresident after a landslide victory in the May 9 election, made the statement before business leaders at the two-day Economic Forum dubbed: “Sulong Pilipinas” held at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City on June 21.

In his speech, Duterte said that his peace and order drive and campaign against graft and corruption are anchored on his principle that there can be no progress unless there is law and order.


The business forum attended by more than 450 delegates representing the Philippines’ major business organizations, was organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

 “Let me be brutal about this…corruption must stop now. I am addressing this to all Filipinos if you want to do something for your country. Corruption really make me sick,” he told the business leaders.

Duterte said his administration would have  zero tolerance against graft and corruption and criminality.

An iron-fist campaign against criminals particularly drug lords, and against bureaucratic corrupt, were the flagship programs of Duterte during the campaign period.

Some sectors said that Duterte’s experience as Mayor of Davao City for two decades may not be enough for him to handle the complex issue of national economy and that he had barely touched on his economic program if elected President.

At the forum, Duterte’s economic team presented a 10-point socio-economic agenda the incoming administration would pursue in the next six years.

Duterte said he would push for reforms in government and  expressed  confidence his economic managers will help achieve inclusive growth and move the country forward.




duterte by manman dejeto afpBY ROGER M. BALANZA

The incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte will present at an economic forum tomorrow, June 21, before the country’s businessmen   a 10-point socio-economic agenda to be pursued during the 6-year presidency of the Davao City Mayor who won by a landslide the May 9 presidential race.

The “Sulong Pilipinas” forum in Davao City started today, June 10, at the SMX Convention Center.

The forum is jointly organized by the Department of Finance, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Mindanao Business Council (MBC) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PCCII).

Duterte, who takes his oath as the 16th President of the Philippines on June 30, will be backstopped by his economic team in the presentation of the agenda aiming to lift the country from its current economic situation.


Incoming NEDA Director-General Ernesto Pernia will present the country’s economic situation, while incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez will present the Duterte administration’s 10-point socio-economic agenda.

The 10-point agenda includes the following:

  • Continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary, and trade policies.

  • Institute progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection, indexing taxes to inflation. A tax reform package will be submitted to Congress by September 2016.

  • Increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business. This effort will draw upon successful models used to attract business to local cities (e.g., Davao) and pursue the relaxation of the Constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership, except as regards land ownership, in order to attract foreign direct investment;

  • Accelerate annual infrastructure spending to account for 5% of GDP, with Public-Private Partnerships playing a key role.

  • Promote rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and rural tourism.

  • Ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments, and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies.

  • Invest in human capital development, including health and education systems, and match skills and training to meet the demand of businesses and the private sector.

  • Promote science, technology, and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity towards self-sustaining, inclusive development.

  • Improve social protection programs, including the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program, to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks.

  • Strengthen implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning.