Dr. Ernesto M. Pernia
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General
27th Anniversary of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development
Montilla Room, South Wing Annex, House of Representatives, Quezon City
October 12, 2016


Chairperson Representative Teddy B. Baguilat;
Other members of the Philippine congress;
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

It is a great honor to be invited to the 27th Anniversary Celebration of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD). The National Economic and Development Authority thanks and lauds the committee’s efforts in championing the people’s population and human development issues, such as reproductive health, children’s rights and environmental protection.

In his quest to improve the Filipino people’s quality of life, President Rodrigo Duterte has laid out the 0+10 point socioeconomic agenda. It expresses his desire for a government that has the interest of the people in its heart and mind. It also expressly states for government to invest in human capital development, the improvement of social protection programs, and the intensified implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law.

The President’s agenda echoes the dreams and aspirations of the people for a Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay, as expressed in the AmBisyon Natin 2040, the collective long-term vision of the Filipino people for themselves and the country for the next 25 years.

Matatag because they live together with their family and have enough time for them. Maginhawa because they are free from hunger and poverty, be able to go where they want to, and they have secure home ownership. Panatag because they have enough resources to meet their day to day needs and unexpected expenses, security in their communities, and have a stable income during retirement.

We in NEDA have come up with long term developmental goals that will enable Filipino individuals, communities, and families to attain a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay. These are embodied in four goal statements: 1) That by 2040, the Philippine will be a prosperous, predominantly middle class society where no one is poor; 2) Our people will live long and healthy lives; 3) Our people will be smart and innovative; and 4) Our people will live in a high-trust society.

Each of these four goal statements, pertains to an independent dimension of development. First, we estimate that our per capita income will have to increase three-fold in 25 years, to be able to afford a maginhawang buhay.

Second, a long life and good health will greatly increase the opportunities for Filipinos, to do the things that they want to, and what they want to be.

Third, we need smart and innovative individuals that will produce quality goods and services at affordable prices, so that we can easily afford a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay. We need to go beyond ensuring that they have the foundational literacy, they should also attain competencies, and developed character qualities.

Fourth, a high trust society will make for a matatag at panatag na buhay. Corollary to this, is having a caring society to ensure that everyone can enjoy a maginhawang buhay.

The strategies to meet this AmBisyon will be identified and elaborated in the next four Philippine Development Plans. We recognize that the full implementation of the RPRH Law to be very critical in attaining our people’s ambitions. For one, it will provide the basis to maximize the demographic dividend, so that we can shift our growth trajectory upwards.

However over the next five years, we will see the greatest number of Filipinas coming of reproductive age, it will go higher every year up to 2020. Therefore, our window for maximizing the demographic dividend is the next five years. We think that the next four Philippine Development Plans should elaborate on each of these four dimensions and should be focused on Ambisyon. If that happens, we will succeed in enabling our constituents to enjoy a matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay.

The executive and legislative branches, while maintaining their position in checking and balancing of power, must also move together to foster a stable progress for the country and its people.

While we in the Executive branch may lay out projects and programs to address these needs and concerns, it is only through legislative action that the government’s efforts can be retained beyond a single administration. Legislators, such as yourselves, were bestowed with the responsibility to mold the country’s future.

As you finalize the legislative agenda and strategic directions for the next three years, NEDA hopes that you keep in mind the administrations’ priorities. These are crucial in mapping out the path that we must take in guiding, protecting, and nurturing the Filipino people to help them achieve their dreams and aspirations for themselves and for the country.

We would like to congratulate the new set of members and officers as you take your oath of office. We in NEDA would like to express our solidarity with the PLCPD in crafting and pursuing policies that will put the improvement of the Filipino people’s welfare in the forefront.

Thank you and good afternoon.