Opening Remarks 

Arsenio M. Balisacan, PhD 


National Economic and Development Authority 

Philippine Development Plan Forum for the Planners: ISAPLANO:  

Bagong Philippine Development Plan Para Sa Patuloy na Pagsulong” 

Astoria Plaza, Pasig City

23 September 2022 | 9:00 A.M. 

To our participating planners from Congress and the various Local Government Units who are physically present and joining us online, 

NEDA UndersecretariesOfficials, and colleagues,  

Our partners and friends from the media, 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Good morning. 

I am very pleased to welcome you to NEDA’s ISAPLANO: Bagong Philippine Development Plan Para Sa Patuloy na Pagsulong” forum, the third of a series of consultative forums on the Philippine Development Plan and the AmBisyon Natin 2040. As you may be aware, the President tasked NEDA to complete the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 by the end of this year. In the last two weeks, NEDA has heard and learned much from the youth and the private sector. Today, we look forward to hearing from you, fellow planners in government from the Executive and Legislative branches. 

Discussions and consultations such as these are important avenues for promoting greater engagement, encouraging participation, and obtaining support as we seek to be as inclusive as possible in planning our journey toward our collective long-term vision amid all the economic challenges we face today. 

For a nation of over 110 million people, a unified and cohesive development plan enables all of us in the public sector to work collaboratively so that our efforts are concerted and geared towards common goals. Importantly, a common understanding of where we are headed, how we will get there, and what role each of us will play is crucial to delivering results efficiently so that public resources do not go to waste.  

Planning ensures that scarce government resources and investments are channeled towards programs, projects, and activities that best achieve the country’s collective goals and objectives. Such strategies and approaches are identified by the stakeholders themselves – including you in the public sector – as we employ a whole-of-nation approach in the planning process. 

We hope planners in government fully appreciate the importance of the Philippine Development Plan or the PDP, which serves as the government’s overall roadmap or blueprint for the next six years.  NEDA steers and coordinates the preparation of the Plan, in close collaboration with government agencies, sectoral experts, the private sector, local government units, and stakeholder groups. 

The PDP reflects the government’s socioeconomic policies, strategies, and programs in support of, and consistent with, the socioeconomic agenda set forth by the President during his or her term.

The Marcos Administration has come up with an 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda focusing on both the short-term issues and medium-term constraints to our country’s economic transformation. The Agenda, which will be explained in more detail later on in the program, serves as the PDP’s strategic framework.  

Briefly, in the near term, the Agenda seeks to address pressing concerns such as the elevated prices of necessities like food and transportation, as well as the socioeconomic scarring inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic on our nation’s human capital or in health and education. The agenda recognizes the need to assist vulnerable segments of the population while ensuring fiscal prudence and overall macroeconomic stability. 

We know, however, that the more sustainable way to reduce poverty, raise people’s quality of life, and build resilience to shocks and crises, is to enable everyone to become economically productive. Thus, in the medium term, we aim to steer the economy back to its high-growth trajectory so as to reinvigorate job creation. We aim for an economic transformation to create more jobs, better or higher-quality jobs, and green jobs or jobs that are resilient to massive societal disruptions like automation and climate change. 

Let me just highlight one critical initiative which I believe will be very impactful. On the part of government, we need to address the most binding constraints to growth and dynamism. These include our own institutions and the way we work. We in government must endeavor to transform our own processes so that Filipinos can more easily access and avail of public services. Hence, we need to push for digital transformation within the public sector and the entire economy.   

We have seen how digitalization can facilitate transactions and connections, enable innovative ways of producing and delivering goods and services, improve access to learning opportunities, prevent corruption, and so on. We have started and we will expedite the implementation of the National ID system or PhilSys to support the country’s digital transformation. We will need the whole government to rethink and redesign their processes to realize the full potential of PhilSys in enabling digital transformation.    

As policymakers, I am sure that all of us can think of so many issues as well as solutions to current challenges. But now, I urge you to think of the future – to think in the long term.   

During my first term in NEDA, we initiated a long-term visioning exercise which culminated in the launch of AmBisyon Natin 2040.  

AmBisyon Natin 2040 encapsulates the long-term aspirations of the Filipino people across different dimensions of well-being. Through focus group discussions and a national survey, we found that Filipinos desire to have a matatagmaginhawaat panatag na buhay. We collectively aspire for the Philippine economy to grow rapidly such that we eradicate poverty in a single generation, or by 2040. 

However, as we continue to recover from the pandemic and face new challenges, it may be wise to revisit our vision and goals over the long term. Therefore, in this forum, we would like to once again listen to you.  

Has the pandemic changed your outlook and goals as a planner? If so, how? What are the things that hinder the country, you and our fellow Filipinos, from realizing our potential and enjoying the life we want? What kind of changes, policies, or initiatives should the government undertake to address these issues?  

Surely, there are as many answers and preferences as there are Filipinos, and the future is riddled with uncertainty. As planners in government, we must listen and learn from each other so that our plans are carefully crafted and are responsive to people’s needs and aspirations.  

We, at NEDA, are excited to hear your ideas moving forward. Let us work towards a society that is prosperous, inclusive, and resilient – one which supports our desired matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay para sa lahat.  

Once again, thank you for your vigorous support and participation.  

I wish you all the best, and a pleasant morning to all.