Socioeconomic Planning Secretary

Director-General, National Economic and Development Authority


13th National Convention on Statistics

EDSA Shangri la, Mandaluyong City

October 3-4, 2016



Dr. Lisa Bersales of the Philippine Statistics Authority,

Dr. Johannes Jutting of PARIS21 and our other development partners,

Colleagues in government,

Members of the academia,

Friends from the media,

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

First of all congratulations to the Philippine Statistics System for organizing the 13th National Convention on Statistics (NCS). I am profoundly pleased and honored to be here.

Statistics have always been a constant in my work as an economist and a teacher. It is through high-quality and reliable statistical research that we are able to observe the behavior and condition of people and the environment they are in. Without statistics, monitoring and evaluating economic development and crafting appropriate policies and programs are impossible. Effective teaching would neither be possible.

As some of you are aware, the NEDA is crafting the next Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022. The PDP will be generally anchored on President Duterte’s 0+10 point Socioeconomic Agenda, but, also importantly, it will take into account our long-term goals as we factor in the country’s Long Term Vision called Ambisyon Natin 2040, and the UN’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

With three frameworks, it will be a challenge to weave a comprehensive yet coherent, cohesive and doable national development plan. The Sustainable Development Agenda alone entails 169 targets and 200-plus indicators. Unlike our previous plans, the upcoming PDP will take into account many new indicators for poverty, employment, rural development, culture and the arts, science and technology, migrants’ rights, climate change resiliency, peace and order, maternal health, housing, gender equality, energy security, among so many others.

For this reason, we will need your support and your expertise in exploring new data sources and data processing technologies. This includes possible partnerships with civil society, international development agencies, business groups, and the academia.

The Philippine Statistical System has been an integral part of the country’s development efforts. If you remember, the Philippine Development Plan 2010-2016, included a multidimensional poverty index or MPI. We definitely want to continue this initiative and develop a multidimensional and transdisciplinary approach in addressing the multiple facets of poverty. Note that the Duterte administration aims to reduce poverty incidence in the country to as low as 17 percent by the end of his term. That will require a lot of effort from the economy side and the population side.

Also, according to the Ambisyon Natin 2040, Filipinos across regions and social classes want to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, to have enough for their daily needs and unexpected expenses, and want to be enabled enough to prepare for their own and their children’s futures. Filipinos also desire for a clean, efficient, and fair government.

While we have a long way to go, I am optimistic that we can be on the right track with a good plan based on quality statistics, moving forward towards our goal.

I would like to recognize the Philippine Statistics Authority for developing an official MPI for the Philippines that will integrate the economic dimension with the social, environmental and political facets of poverty. With an official and more inclusive MPI, it will be easier to gauge, monitor, evaluate, and hopefully achieve authentic inequality-reducing economic growth, which should be the primary objective of this government.

I also commend the PSA for its work in incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals in the national agenda by including them in the Philippine Statistical Development Program for progress monitoring and data generation.

As we start regional and sectoral consultations for the PDP, expect more demand from government for high-quality statistics, considering how heavily we rely on your work to craft necessary evidence-based policies. Indeed, statistics are the life blood of the work that we, economic planners, do.

It is an honor to be learning from and be working alongside many brilliant minds such as yours.

As I end, I would like to tell you—statistics practitioners, theoreticians, researchers, data users, students, teachers, and the media—that you play a huge role in national development. We join you in the vision of a responsive, relevant, and empowered Philippine Statistical System.

May we all have a productive two days ahead as we share insights on emerging issues and developments in the field of statistics as well as discuss how we can further improve our capacities. May our work be ever inspired by sincere service to the nation, and may it be done always with excellence, consistency and integrity.

I thank you all, and good morning again.