The Duterte administration is stepping up its already accelerated spending on President Duterte’s signature “Build, Build’ Build” program and on human capital development, regarding these as the linchpin of a strategy to keep the Philippines’ high-growth momentum in the face of a global economic slowdown.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, said the government infrastructure and human capital investments will provide the highest returns both in the short run and long term of the country, complemented by “reforms” the government is instituting.
Speaking to US investors last week, Dominguez said the Philippine government is banking on this three-fold strategy to counter the external headwinds that now threaten its efforts to keep the domestic economy among the fastest-growing ones in the world “Forecasts for global growth have been cut
successively over the recent months. The slowdown presents headwinds on our own efforts to grow our economy. But the Philippines continues to demonstrate strength, stability and resilience in adverse conditions,” Dominguez.
“We hope to sustain our growth, relying on strong domestic demand to offset the general international uncertainty,” he added.
Dominguez underscored the passage of new laws cutting bureaucratic red tape, simplifying government procedures, and improving the efficiency of the Philippines’ financial system; along with the enactment of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), which has brought down rice prices, lowered the inflation rate, eased the pressure on businesses to raise wages and cleared the way to farm modernization.
Steps are also being taken to further expand sectors and industries open for foreign investment, he said.
Dominguez in the same forum said “Build, Build, Build” has “become a showcase for coordinated international cooperation,” with both China and Japan having committed $9 billion each in official development assistance and Korea pledging an additional $1 billion to help implement the program’s big-ticket infrastructure projects.
He added the vibrant participation of both local and foreign firms in “Build, Build, Build” is a “solid proof” that the government enjoys the confidence of the private sector for a “transparent and corruption-free” governance. (R. Castro)