Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Tuesday, January 3, enumerated five key targets for the Duterte Government to be able to achieve a 7 percent sustained growth rate.
These five preconditions which must be achieved are: peace and order, addressing the infrastructure gap, investing in human resources, cutting the cost of doing business in the country, and a competitive tax system.
On capitalizing on human resources, Secretary Diokno said the country would need to invest on the youth.
“Second, our biggest asset, I think is our youth, but that’s both an asset and a liability, okay. If we don’t convert the youth into a productive, agile, healthy work force than we fail right? So that there’s… so we need to invest in human resources,” said Diokno.
“The Budget Secretary also undescored the need to cut the cost of doing business in the country. He mentioned that the government should beef up to further attract foreign investors.
In terms of a competitive tax system, Diokno said the Philippines’ tax system fares poorly in comparison to its neighboring countries. He however said the Philippines is lucky because Asia is the fastest growing region in the world.
“So if we manage to grow by 7 percent, we become the fastest growing country in the fastest growing region in the world and that’s an honor, right? And that would be an accomplishment, ” said Diokno.
Diokno said that the 2017 national budget seeks to realize these five preconditions to development. He said that a look at the 2017 national budget would show that 5.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will go to public infrastructure and this would be unprecedented in the country’s history. Diokno said this will be increased so that by the final year of President Duterte’s term it will be about 7.2, 7.4 percent of the GDP.
The Budget Secretary said this would amount to spending about 8 to 9 trillion pesos. The DBM Secretary also said he is now actively seeking good projects all over the country.
Meanwhile at the same press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is named Person of the Year by the Chinese Magazine Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly).
Literally translated, this means ‘Most influential Person.’ Yashou Zhoukan is the only Chinese language international affairs magazine. A prominent columnist dubbed it as the Time Magazine of the Chinese-speaking world.
President Duterte was chosen due to his stance of an independent foreign policy that consists in distancing away from the United States and forging closer ties with China especially on the economy.
Also noted was the President’s thrusts in good governance, anti-corruption and anti-drugs.