MANILA — The country must fully reopen its economy and improve its booster uptake in order to lessen the number of Filipinos in poverty, a National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) official said on Friday.
NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said government must first "begin the high growth of the economy" through eased pandemic measures and boosting human capital investments.
"Una sa lahat, kailangang i-fully reopen ang ating economy so nandyan na rin talaga 'yung programa natin sa bakuna, sa boosters... Pagkatapos, kailangan na i-ensure natin ang ating health system capacity tapos as a matter of policy, patuloy dapat sa pagbubukas," Edillon said in a televised briefing.
(We need to fully reopen the economy so there's our booster vaccination campaign. We must also ensure our health system capacity. Reopening the economy must be a matter of policy.)
"Dagdagan pa ang investments sa human capital. Una, para magkaroon ng capabilities para maging productive ang isa't isa at maging agile. Kahit ano mang krisis, makaya natin ma-overcome," she added.
(There should be more investments in human capital to improve the capabilities of everyone in being productive and agile so that we can overcome any crisis.)
It will also strengthen the agriculture sector's productivity as the country faces food supply woes.
"Ito ang magdadagdag ng produksyon para ito ang magagamit ng ibang manufacturing natin na gumagamit ng asukal, o mga iba pang mga produkto," the NEDA senior official said.
(This will add to our production and this can be used by our manufacturing sector.)
"Kailangan talagang yung agriculture sector natin is maipataas natin, ma-improve natin nang husto yung kanilang productivity para ma-address yung mga shortage... na ito," she added.
(We need to increase the productivity of our agriculture sector to address any shortage in supply.)
At least 19.99 million Filipinos were considered poor in 2021 as the poverty incidence rose to 18.1 percent, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said this month.
Inflation, which accelerated to 6.4 percent in July, is likely to worsen the poverty incidence, national statistician Dennis Mapa earlier said.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the administration is aiming to lower the country's poverty incidence to 9 percent before the end of Marcos' term in 2028.
He added that the economy is expected to grow 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year, and 6.5 to 8 percent from 2023 to 2028.
With this, the administration targets to reduce the national government deficit-to-GDP ratio by 2023 to 3 percent from 9 percent currently.