DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte aims to lift 1.5 million people from poverty in every year of his term by sustaining annual economic growth of at least 7 percent, the head of his economic team said Tuesday.
Duterte aims to slash up to eight points from the poverty rate by the time he steps down in 2022, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.
Official data showed one-fifth of the country's 100 million people are poor, with 1.4 million lifted from poverty from 2012 to 2015.
“The high growth rate will not be enough if it is not inclusive,” Dominguez told a consultative forum with businessmen here.
Dominguez said wealth under Duterte will be “evenly distributed.”
The problem in the past, he said, was “our economy, while posting healthy growth, makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.”
Gross domestic product expanded by 7 percent in the second quarter, one of the fastest growth rates in Asia. Third quarter figures are due out later this month.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza stressed the need to uplift the lives of the poor in Duterte's efforts to end the decades-long Muslim rebellion in Mindanao.
“I can sign a thousand peace agreements, engage all rebels, bring them all to Malacanang... all this will go to naught if we don't come together to improve the lives of people on the ground,” he said.
Duterte is engaging both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front in peace talks. On Monday, he signed an executive order to giving both groups representation in a transition body that will draft a new autonomy law for the Muslim minority in the south.
He also welcomed to the presidential palace this week, MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari, who claimed he was shut out of a peace deal forged by the MILF with Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino.