Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon


2017 Socioeconomic Report (SER) Media Briefing

Board Room, NEDA Bldg., J.M. Escriva Drive,

Ortigas Center, Pasig City

April 3, 2018


Our good friends from the media;

Colleagues from NEDA;

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

From the start, the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 promises to lay down the foundation for inclusive growth, a high-trust and resilient society, and a globally-competitive knowledge economy. The foundation should be solid enough to propel the country on a faster economic growth path while ensuring that no one is left behind and that all Filipinos are empowered to attain their AmBisyon.

As the NEDA reports on the first year of the Plan’s implementation, the theme that we have adopted reflects the comprehensive agenda for change, consistent with President Duterte’s 0-10-point socioeconomic agenda, and geared towards the country’s long-term vision. The 2017 Socioeconomic Report or SER contains strategies to address the binding constraints that severely limit the effectiveness of programs and projects to achieve the desired outcomes.

The SER showcases the gains achieved thus far, the priority strategies in 2018 and 2019 to guide the various government agencies, and as well as the policy directions in the next two years.

For many sectors, the groundwork for change was initiated in 2017.  Some even reached successful conclusion either through legislation or executive action. The former was made possible with the reactivation of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council or LEDAC.

This year is expected to be a transition period as the changes are implemented, in full, by 2019.

For others, however, the spadework for change still needs to be continued all through 2018, thereby pushing back the transition to 2019.

Let me now present an overview of the major groundwork done in 2017 and the recommended priority strategies for 2018 and 2019.

Starting with the target core indicators, the Gross National Income or GNI per capita grew at a rate of 4.8 percent for 2017, which already exceeded the 4.5 percent target set for the year.

However, data for poverty, rural poverty, and subsistence incidence were not available in 2017. The 2018 poverty data will be released sometime in 2019. After which, the Family Income and Expenditure Survey or FIES will be conducted every two years, which will enable us to monitor these poverty statistics more frequently.

Meanwhile, food inflation increased from 2.6 percent in 2016 to 3.7 percent in 2017, but still remains within the target for the period.

The United Nations Development Programme or UNDP has not released an update on the rankings of the countries in terms of human development index and the latest is still from 2015.

Furthermore, preliminary estimates show that the national unemployment rate registered 5.7 percent in 2017 from 5.5 percent in 2016. While the current unemployment rate has improved compared to previous decades, we are still behind the 5.1 to 5.4 percent the target we have set in 2017.

Also, employment creation remains a challenge as there were more than 650,000 net employment losses in 2017, far from the target of increasing employment to 900,000 to 1.1 million per year.

Youth unemployment rate for October 2017 increased to 11.9 percent from 11. 6 percent in October 2016. The youth unemployment rate for full year 2017 is at 14.4 percent; hence the target of 11.0 percent youth unemployment in 2017 was not met.

Underemployment rate in areas outside NCR continues to decrease and is at 17.4 percent in 2017, down from 19.7 percent in 2016. We have exceeded the target of 18.3 to 20.3 percent underemployment rate target that we have set for the year. This is consistent with our objective of making sure that development outside NCR also progresses.

Lastly, based on the 2017 Global Innovation Index Report, the Philippines placed 73rd of 127 economies, branding the country as one of the new Asian Tigers and leaders in ICT services exports in Southeast Asia.

The highlights of the performance of each sector in 16 of the total chapters of the SER will be provided to all of you in detail in a separate presentation or handout. We are ready to answer your questions in the open forum.

In retrospect, the PDP 2017-2022 promises to lay down the foundation for attaining the country’s long-term vision while addressing short- and medium-term needs. However, the strategies outlined in the Plan can only be effective if implemented against a backdrop of important reforms.

A number of these reforms will have begun implementation this year and the changes will be fully felt in 2019. There will be changes in the market such as the entrance of new players, new production patterns, there will be a new way in which citizens will be transacting with government, the way government delivers goods and services to the public, among others. There may be some handholding necessary for sectors that will be adversely affected during the transition. This must be done with utmost sensitivity, but with the objective of facilitating the transition and fully implementing the change.

Thank you and good morning once again.