DAVAO CITY, November 8, 2016 (PNA) — Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza today said peace and development in Mindanao are crucial to the country’s inclusive growth.
“I can sign a thousand peace agreements with different rebel groups to improve the lives of people on the ground. We invite everyone to come on board President Duterte’s ‘peace bus’ in his desire for a better Philippines,” Dureza said at the plenary session today of the 2016 Philippines Development Forum (PDF) held at the SMX Lanang Premier convention center here.
At the same plenary, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government is aiming for the eradication of hunger and poverty within one generation, with the Philippines becoming a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society by 2040.
For his part, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, who is concurrently the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General, said the journey to “Ambisyon Natin 2040” has begun.
He was referring to the long-term vision and aspirations for the Philippines launched by NEDA in March. It has since been adopted by the new administration as a 25-year vision for development planning through Executive Order No. 5 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.
Reducing poverty and sharing the benefits of progress are the main objectives of the 2016 PDF with the theme, “Poverty Reduction through the Vigorous Implementation of the 10-Point Socioeconomic Agenda.”
This is the PDF’s eighth edition since its initial staging in 2005, and the first under the Duterte administration. Its forerunner was the Philippines Consultative Group, which held meetings every 18 months between the Department of Finance (DOF) and the country’s international development partners led by the World Bank (WB).
In 2004, the DOF and WB agreed to widen participation by bringing in stakeholders from the academe and civil society, as well as legislative and private sector representatives.
The PDF was held four times during the Arroyo administration and thrice under the Aquino administration. It serves as the primary mechanism to facilitate policy dialogues among stakeholders on the government’s development agenda.
Dominguez, who chairs the forum as DOF chief, said the PDF is “a landmark meeting among all stakeholders in the formulation of national plans for our inclusive economy while the Philippines is enjoying the demographic sweet spot until 2040.”
He encouraged participants to engage in “inclusive deliberations” during the town hall meeting moderated by Bloomberg TV Philippines news anchor Shawn Yao.
Former Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Liwayway Vinzons-Chato lauded the DOF’s comprehensive tax reform program, saying “we had also done it during the Ramos administration and it worked.”
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon said the country’s business groups are conducting industry mapping and prioritizing job creation to jump-start the economy. (Joseph A. Gamboa/PNA)