Davao forum aims to flesh out Duterte admin’s inclusive growth agenda

Davao forum aims to flesh out Duterte admin’s inclusive growth agenda

- in Economy, News
The first panel discussion of the PDF 2016 focused on national priorities led by (from left) OPAPP Secretary Jesus G. Dureza (Co-chair), DOF Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (Chair), and NEDA Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia. (Photo by Kim Ignacio, DOFF Comms Team)

DAVAO CITY November 8, 2016 — The Duterte administration is convening the first of its series of “inclusive deliberations” with development stakeholders in a bid to reach a consensus behind the policies and concerted actions that would flesh out the paramount objective of its 10-point socioeconomic agenda.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the first Philippine Development Forum (PDF) under the present administration will be the start of a string of “detailed, practicable and meaningful”  annual  fora and possibly even smaller, intermittent meetings on the Duterte watch, which are all geared to find ways on how to transform high growth into a truly inclusive one for all Filipinos.

He said the most important goals of the 10-point agenda are to keep growth at 7 percent, create enough jobs, and liberate 1.5 million Filipinos from poverty annually over the next six years.

“At the close of this meeting, we hope to see consensus points that will be a guide to policymaking and the starting point of concerted action on behalf of our people,” Dominguez said in his welcome remarks at the opening day of the PDF held at the SMX Convention Center here.

Dominguez, who chairs the PDF, said through the two-day forum, the government aims to craft with stakeholders the initiatives that will support the government’s plan to accelerate spending on infrastructure, human capital development and social protection for the poorest of the poor, as well as programs conducive to attracting fresh investments in businesses that will, in turn, spell more jobs for Filipinos over the medium term.

“The overarching goal of this administration’s reform program is the reduction of poverty by about 8 percent over the medium term. Each year, we aspire to liberate 1.5 million Filipinos from misery. The reduction of poverty will be made possible by maintaining an annual GDP growth rate of at least 7%. The high growth rate will not be enough if it is not inclusive. We have seen in the past few years that our economy, while posting healthy growth, made the rich richer and the poor poorer,” Dominguez said.

The Duterte administration’s maiden PDF, Dominguez said, will tackle the major themes, and “intends to put more meat in the bones of the President’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda.

The forum will be  highlighted by breakout sessions organized under the following subjects:

  1. macroeconomic and fiscal policies, which include the proposed tax reform program of the Department of Finance (DOF);
  2. peace and development initiatives in Mindanao;
  3. infrastructure and competitiveness, which include the development of science and technology, building an efficient transport network and improving the ease of doing business;
  4. rural development, which include land administration and management and food security; and
  5. the development of human capital, which include social protection programs for the poorest of the poor and the implementation of the  reproductive health law.

“Given the wide and enthusiastic participation in this Forum, we expect the consensus points and the best insights to be folded into the Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022. This is not idle deliberation. What this Forum represents is public engagement in the formulation of national plans,” Dominguez said.

Around 400 stakeholders from the national government and local government units (LGUs), business sector, the  development partner community, the academe and civil society are participating in the two-day PDF.

The last PDF formal meeting was held in February 2013, also in Davao City.

The past government has managed to improve the lives of the marginal poor by way of projects like the Pantawid ng Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), a conditional cash transfer (CCT) initiative in which poor families are given cash in exchange for meeting certain conditions like sending their kids to school and getting medical check-ups at barangay health centers, Dominguez said.

But he stressed that the task of the new administration is now more challenging, albeit doable, as it is easier to uplift the lives of those near the poverty line than those who are extremely poor, which is the goal of President Duterte.

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