By Chino S. Leyco
There is no turning back on the Duterte administration’s comprehensive reform agenda despite opposition by some sectors to a number of controversial measures necessary for the country’s rapid and inclusive growth, an economic manager said.
In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government is determined in strengthening the economic “foundations” necessary in ensuring future generations will have “a comfortable life.”
Dominguez said that sustaining the country’s economic expansion is not just an option but a necessity to realize the ultimate target of significantly reducing poverty incidence from 27.6 percent in the first half of 2015 to just 14 percent by 2022.
“We are confident that, over the next two years, we will continue strengthening the foundations of rapid and inclusive growth. If you look around you, with all the construction projects going on, you will see a new competitive economy being born,” Dominguez said.
In particular, he said the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program covering 100 strategic projects will enable the country to close the infrastructure gap with its neighbors in the region “in the shortest possible time.
The infrastructure programs, in turn, will create jobs, opening numerous investment opportunities and pulling “our economy almost literally by our bootstraps,” the finance chief said.
Dominguez then appealed to businessmen to help spread the word about the bright prospects facing the Philippine economy on the watch of President Duterte.
He pointed out that the Philippines, for instance, is expected to rise to the rank of upper middle-income country ahead of schedule by next year, a testament to the country’s strong and resilient domestic economy.
He also cited the vibrant participation of international and local companies in “Build, Build, Build” as indicative of the strong confidence and trust of the business community in the Duterte administration.
“There is, therefore, no turning back from our 10-point socio-economic program that is designed to sustain our rapid and inclusive economic growth. The wellbeing of our people depends on the success of this strategy. There is no time to spare,” Dominguez said.
On top of “Build, Build, Build,” a key plank of the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic reform agenda is its comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP), Dominguez said.
According to Dominguez, the CTRP is responsible for the strong growth position of the economy and the steady revenue source for the government’s public investments in the future.
He also said the CTRP is the source of confidence in the government’s ability to bankroll its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” and realize its goal of accelerating poverty reduction.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, for instance, has been delivering substantial tax savings equivalent to a month’s pay to 99 percent of individual taxpayers, that, in turn, has boosted their purchasing power and strengthened consumer demand, he said.