PH building foundation for growth

By Bianca Cuaresma, BusinessMirror

Posted at Mar 19 2014 07:51 AM | Updated as of Mar 19 2014 03:51 PM

MANILA -- The government bared plans on Tuesday to “build foundations for sustained growth” in the final years of President Aquino as Cabinet members laid down plans, mostly focusing on boosting the resilience of the economy and shield it from the adverse impact of severe natural calamities.

This developed as the economic managers, led by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., met at the 2014 Philippine Economic Briefing held at the Philippine International Convention Center on Tuesday, with the theme “Enhancing Resilience to Sustain Inclusive Growth.”

Among the topics discussed at the biannual forum included building cushions for the economy after Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) struck central Philippines and posed a threat to the country’s strong growth trend last year.

Present in the forum were Tetangco, as well as Cabinet members, including Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad, National Economic and Development Authority Director General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala, Public Works Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, Energy Secretary Carlos L. Petilla and Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr.

Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson was, likewise, present at the forum.

“We are aware of the downside risks to growth, such as natural disasters, or external conditions, such as market volatility and fragile economic recovery in advanced economies and slowing growth in China and India. However, we believe there are also plenty of opportunities we can capitalize,” Balisacan said.

Tetancco also said that while the economy has sustained its strong growth momentum amid the challenging environment, the country also has to do more to achieve a more inclusive growth, one where as many Filipinos partake of beneficial impact of a growing economy.

“Inclusive growth has become such a buzz word. Everyone, even the IMF [International Monetary Fund], now talks about it. I am afraid if we just keep on speaking about it, without much action, there is a risk that the buzz will simply drone,” Tetangco said.

“We hope that this briefing would be a venue for us to confirm our readiness to meet these challenges and move forward, with the good of the greater majority in mind. We trust that today’s proceedings will encourage all to work together toward the shared goal of inclusive growth—the only growth that truly matters and the only growth that transforms,” he added.

Lacson, meanwhile, confirmed they are now drafting the master plan for the rehabilitation of Yolanda-stricken areas and apologized if there have been delays in the rehabilitation effort. He asked the residents of the area to “wait a little longer” as the effort being put forward pass through the proper protocol.

Among the other topics discussed at the forum include poverty reduction, corruption mitigation, access to credit, education, agriculture, infrastructure spending and the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations integration.