The National Economic and Development Authority encouraged the administration’s Cabinet members to implement policy reforms and pro-poor programs, discussed in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, to sustain economic growth towards inclusive development.

The Philippines is poised to be one of the fastest rising economies in Asia, with 6.4 percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2017, accelerating to 6.5 percent in the second quarter.

In his presentation to the Cabinet last Monday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia highlighted the need for economic growth to be felt by majority of Filipinos, especially the poor.

“While sustained economic growth is a necessary condition for poverty and inequality reduction (or inclusive growth), it is not sufficient. Economic growth must be complemented by well-thought-out pro-poor programs to meaningfully lead to inclusive development,” he said.

Currently, the country’s poverty incidence is at 21.6 percent, among the highest in ASEAN.

Among the pro-poor programs Pernia identified that needed to be further enhanced to be more effective were the Conditional Cash Transfer, K to 12, Free Tuition in State Universities and Colleges (through judicious IRRs), and the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law.

The NEDA Secretary also identified policy reforms in the PDP that need to be prioritized, including the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, reducing of the cost of doing business, easing of restrictions on foreign investments, and lifting of quantitative restrictions on rice.

Thus, Pernia requested the President to issue needed instructions, in line with Executive Order No. 27 (1 June 2017), for the Cabinet to implement the recommended policy reforms in the PDP 2017-2022.

“We need bold decisions followed through by bold actions. Now is the time. We have a President with unprecedented popularity and trust ratings due to his audacity and heart for the poor. There can be no better time,” Pernia concluded.