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DOF eyes faster growth in Duterte’s final quarter

The government’s chief economic manager vowed to “redouble” their efforts in the final months of the Duterte administration to recover lost opportunities incurred by the economy during the prolonged pandemic.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that their goal in the final quarter of the Duterte administration is to grow the economy at a much faster rate to recover the opportunities lost in the two-year pandemic.

Armed with the passage and implementation of its hard-won reforms, the Duterte administration “will continue working till the last hour of our mandate to contribute all that we can to our strong economic resurgence,” Dominguez told a virtual gathering of Rotarians.

“The reward for all the work we do now is a better future for the next generation of Filipinos,” Dominguez said in his recorded video message during the first day of the virtual Rotary International District 3870 Conference.

Dominguez said conditions for the Philippines’ post-pandemic rapid growth have never been better, owing largely to how President Duterte exercised strong political will to push game-changing reforms that that had gotten stuck in the legislative mill for decades.

“The election season will not be an issue. We have a long history of orderly and peaceful transfers of power. We will transition to the next administration a comprehensive fiscal consolidation plan to bring the country back to its high growth trajectory,” Dominguez said.

With the pandemic now subsiding and the Covid-19 vaccination program proceeding at a quick pace, Dominguez said the country is well on its way to a strong recovery from the pandemic that broke out in March 2020.

“Our risk management strategy culminated in a full-year growth of 5.6 percent in 2021, exceeding target and market expectations. This year, we expect our economy to grow by seven to nine percent,” he said.

In 2021, revenue collection was already five percent higher than in 2020, while total merchandise trade and remittances were also above the pre-pandemic levels, which all signal a return to robust economic activity, Dominguez said.

Dominguez said he expects to fully bring back revenue collection to pre-pandemic levels this year.

Moreover, the Duterte administration marked its final full year with foreign direct investments (FDIs) reaching a record-high of $10.5 billion as it continues to gain ground in reducing unemployment, Dominguez said.

The only glitch to this bullish outlook, Dominguez said, is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, which has magnified the dislocations created by the country’s two-year battle with the pandemic.

He said the Philippines, like all other nations, will most likely experience elevated inflation levels because of the impact of the crisis on oil and commodity prices.

“The Duterte administration is closely observing the developments and it is doing its utmost to mitigate the impact of oil and food price increases on our people,” Dominguez said.

“Our priority is to support the vulnerable sectors of our society from the ill effects of inflationary pressures brought about by the conflict,” he added.

The support will be in the form of cash grants for the bottom 50 percent of the population, fuel subsidies for the public transportation sector, and fuel discounts for small farmers and fisherfolk, Dominguez said.


Source: Manila Bulletin

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