Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Aquino highlights inclusivity as key to economic success

President Benigno Aquino III on Monday (Nov. 16) shared the Philippines' story on how the government is addressing poverty with sheer determination to correct bureaucratic flaws.

In his speech during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Makati City, Aquino said his administration's decision to adopt an inclusive growth theme helped address the country's poverty situation since a holistic and cohesive national strategy was put in place.

"We knew we had to craft and relentlessly pursue a holistic and cohesive national strategy - one that can systematically respond to every debilitating aspect of poverty, with the belief that this good governance is good economics," he said.

He said this was done without imposing new taxes although the Sin Tax Law was amended to primarily address the rising incidents of usage of the youth and the poor of sin products and to update the taxes on these products.

Proceeds of the reformed Sin Tax Law benefited the government's health-related programs and the tobacco industry.

Aquino said focusing on the people --- their welfare, health, and education --- helped the economy a lot.

He said the move to increase the years of the basic education system and ensure that backlogs on textbooks and classrooms are addressed greatly helped empower the youth.

Ensuring that people also get quality skills training will aid them in getting jobs, thus, securing not only their future but the domestic economy as well since this will serve as among the major drivers of domestic expansion, he continued.

Aquino said the program to invest in education and skills training of poor citizens proved to be a win-win decision, as these people would be able to pay their taxes once they land jobs, and the taxes can be used to "help create even more opportunities for other Filipinos."

Good governance reforms also enabled the government to have the financing needed to put up necessary infrastructure, which will have a long-term impact on the economy, he said.

Aquino said the proportion of the national government's infrastructure budget to gross domestic product (GDP) stood at 1.83 percent in 2010 but has risen to 4.10 percent to date.

He said government targets to increase infrastructure investment to five percent of GDP by 2016.

Aquino said that problems lessened as the absorptive capacity of government agencies have improved.

With an improved budget, he said government now needs more skilled professionals to build the necessary infrastructure.

"Indeed, our entire growth strategy hinges on the idea of empowerment. Empowered citizens, after all, are empowered consumers, whose income will go to the goods and services produced by companies. The end result: instead of having many big fishes in a very small pond, we are moving our economic ecosystem into a bigger pond, where everybody can grow and reach their own potential," he said.

Aquino said inclusivity is the key to attaining sustainable economic growth.

"If we can include our people in public life, in determining the path of our future, and in building our economy, it redounds to a more stable environment and to greater economic prosperity. In other words, it boosts our potential to levels never before seen," he added. (PCOO News Release)

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