Malacañan on Thursday, July 20, said the Duterte administration’s efforts to build a robust economy is catching the eye of international financial institutions.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a press briefing, welcomed JP Morgan’s positive outlook on the Philippine economy.
New York-based financial services company JP Morgan Chase & Co., through its chief economist for ASEAN, had expressed bullishness about the Philippines’ economic prospects, noting that the Philippines under the Duterte administration is now moving on a more equitable growth path.
“We are glad that JP Morgan has recognized the Duterte administration’s efforts to bring prosperity for all towards our vision of a comfortable life for all Filipinos,” Abella said.
“Yes, we are in a unique opportunity and we expect this growth to become more robust, sustainable and inclusive as we usher in the Golden Age of Infrastructure through our massive Build, Build, Build Infrastructure Plan, where we shall pour in investments in infrastructure to generate employment and spur growth of industries in and outside the National Capital Region (NCR),” he added.
In the same press briefing, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said President Duterte’s first year in office can be summed up on the themes, “Malasakit, Pagbabago and Patuloy na Pag-unlad,” which are the pillars of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP).
“We can talk about infrastructure and macroeconomic fundamentals but in the end, it all boils down to human development; welfare of the people; poverty reduction; inequality reduction; lifting the people out of poverty by giving them the opportunities to get themselves out of poverty,” Pernia said.
According to Pernia, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has already approved 28 projects during the first year of the Duterte administration worth about P786 billion.
Pernia also noted that unemployment rate decreased from 6.1 percent in April 2016 to 4.7 percent in October last year while underemployment rate has gone down to 16.3 percent from having been for a long time in the 20s.
In terms of foreign direct investments, (FDIs), investments increased from $5.8 billion in 2015 to $7 billion in 2016.
“The government intends to massively invest in infrastructure over the medium-term totaling P8.2 trillion and the funding will be an optimal mix of GAA, ODA and private sector funding. The idea is always to find the most cost-effective and optimal mix of funding sources,” he said.
According to Pernia, the NEDA is now in the process of speeding up implementing projects and making sure that they are delivered on schedule and on time to the people who have long aspired for higher standards of living.
Meanwhile, Pernia allayed fears that the Philippines will fall into a “debt trap” regarding loans with China.
“Well, we haven’t yet signed any loan agreement with China except oral commitments or some written memoranda of understanding and we certainly are going to be very careful with our dealings in terms of project financing from the Chinese government,” Pernia assured.
Pernia said both sides have clearing mechanisms.
“We want the Chinese side to certify to us that the companies, private or state-owned enterprises that will be involved in projects, will be truly competent and with impeccable integrity. That’s on the Chinese side. So they can submit three names,” Pernia explained.
“On the Philippine side, we also have a clearing mechanism to pick one of the three recommendees from the Chinese side. So that is the best we can do to ensure that we are not going to get into problems,” he said.###PND