April 20, 2018

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) allayed concerns about imminent risks of overheating, stressing that the country’s solid macroeconomic conditions and ongoing reforms make the economy disposed for sustained and even higher growth.

The World Bank in its April 16 report titled “Philippines Economic Update: Investing in the Future” cited the country as among the top three growth performers in the region, after Vietnam and China in 2017. It attributed the Philippine growth to the strong exports which rose sharply in 2017. It added, however, that the Philippines is at risk of overheating

“As we tread a high growth trajectory, risks are typically present on both domestic and external fronts. Nevertheless, we remain vigilant in monitoring these developments. And we already have the platform to effectively address these concerns,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

Pernia reiterated that reforms are gaining traction with the groundwork for change already initiated in 2017. Some of these reforms are focused on easing business transactions with the government, filling the infrastructure gaps, and improving both the quantity and quality of the human capital in the Philippines.

For one, “Build, Build, Build,” the massive infrastructure campaign of the Duterte administration, which will propel the Philippines’ economic growth, is expected to be felt this year. At least 34 flagship projects of the administration are expected to roll out this year or early next year.

NEDA is also pushing for the full implementation of the Republic Act 10687, also known as the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Act which will expand access to higher education as the government continually invests in teacher training and other critical inputs to ensure the quality of education

Pernia said the government must also strictly enforce and monitor the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA), which is expected to reduce the unnecessary burden the government is imposing on the private sector.

“This is also the first time that we are seriously implementing measures to maximize our demographic dividend.  At this point, we want families to attain their desired family size while the government pours sufficient investments into programs helping children reach their full potential,” Pernia said.

“With the increase in physical and human capital, the economy can accommodate faster growth,” he added.