November 23, 2021

As the agency works on the country’s economic recovery program, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is also gearing up to look beyond the pandemic and prepare for the future.

“We are working on two things: the current problem, and the future. For the remainder of my term, I have instructed the agency to focus on four key areas to provide also the next administration with much better foundations to achieve our Ambisyon Natin 2040, where no one is living in extreme poverty,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said on Wednesday, during the panel discussion at the 47th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.

These four key areas are smart infrastructure, innovation, regional equity, and climate change.

Chua explained that smart infrastructure would integrate the existing road infrastructure into the concept of smart cities, where principles of urban mobility and development are at the heart of infrastructure. This also covers all forms of transportation, digital communication, planning, land use, and the environment.

Meanwhile, innovation will lead to the generation of new ideas within various industries to help the country compete globally. Aside from technological advancements, innovation also includes systems and process improvements, especially in basic sectors like agriculture.

Chua also expounded on regional equity. According to him, the government has to pay attention to the proper allocation of resources to make the poorest areas, with the biggest gaps in social services, receive just financing.
The fourth key area he mentioned is climate change, emphasizing that this sets the backdrop for all present and future development challenges.

“Going forward, I would like [climate change] to be at the center or heart of our socioeconomic planning. And I have actually directed NEDA to craft next Philippine Development Plan as revolving around climate change. Everything we do in infrastructure, agriculture, innovation, governance should revolve around protecting the country [from the threats of climate change],” Chua said.

Moreover, when asked about the government’s digitalization efforts and the current initiatives of the agency, the Secretary highlighted NEDA’s knowledge management program.

“In NEDA, we are building a data science team to integrate all our databases and to establish a ‘single source of truth’ within the agency. This will enable us to be more productive without working longer hours, just searching or reconciling data from different sources that are crucial for policymaking,” Chua said.

Chua also reiterated the significance of the Philippine Identification System, which aims to give every Filipino a valid proof of identity. This will allow the government to roll out its social protection programs efficiently.

Chua added that NEDA is pushing for economic liberalization bills that include amendments to the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization, and the Foreign Investment Act. These bills will relax restrictions to attract all the necessary innovation, investment technology management, and technical know-how to give our people better products and services at lower prices.

All of these, according to Chua, will help the country recover and achieve AmBisyon Natin 2040.

“We have the economic foundations in place to recover strongly, and we will continue to pursue these structural reforms to help us be prepared for the future and achieve our long-term vision,” he said.

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