Philippines fully prepared to address headwinds, sustain robust economy: Diokno

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 26 2022 10:30 AM | Updated as of Jul 26 2022 11:14 AM

MANILA — The Philippines is "fully prepared" to address looming challenges while committing to sustain the country's robust economic recovery, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Tuesday.

The goals presented by President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr's during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) included the reduction of the poverty incidence to single-digit or 9 percent by 2028.

Debt-to-GDP ratio, which is currently at 63.5 percent, is also expected to be reduced to below 60 percent by 2025, Diokno said during the first post-SONA economic briefing, echoing Marcos' directive.

Diokno, who also chairs the government's economic cluster, said this is possible since the country does not have to borrow as much compared to during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government is also committed to address rising prices as inflation accelerated to 6.1 percent due to rising oil and food prices. Mitigating the scarring from the COVID-19 pandemic is also among the priorities, Diokno said. 

The administration will implement a medium-term fiscal framework with a comprehensive 8-point economic agenda which would help the government "to decisively respond to these risks and stir the economy back to its high growth trajectory," Diokno said. 

"While challenges persist, these are not insurmountable... The Philippines is fully prepared to address the challenges ahead," he said.

Marcos also said the administration would propose a to guide fiscal policy and government spending. 

To boost the economy, Diokno said the role of the private sector would be expanded. Both Marcos and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan have pushed for the reinvigoration of public-private partnerships.

"We are making a bid for lasting change and we can only do this if we work in unity," Diokno said. 

The Philippine economy is expected to grow by 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2022 and 6.5 percent to 8 percent from 2023 to 2028 or "among the highest" in the ASEAN+3 region, Diokno said. 


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