By Mike Baños
The Philippines’ socioeconomic planners at the national and regional level see a bright future ahead for the country’s medium term growth.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto M. Pernia said starting off in the right foot given the country’s present socioeconomic metrics is a good start.
In his keynote address during the July 18 regional launch of the Philippine Development Plan and the Northern Mindanao Regional Development Plan held at a local hotel here, Pernia cited three key messages on the Philippines current economic status.
“First, our country’s economic trajectory has been on a sharp, consistent uptrend for the past 3 decades and a half,” Pernia noted. “Second, our economy is undergoing structural transformation or qualitative change. No longer just driven by consumption, but increasingly driven by investment. Not just driven by the service sector, but increasingly driven by industry and manufacturing.”
Not the least, Pernia said total factor productivity, which is a measure of the economy’s ability to grow based on a better organization of capital and labor, with technology (i.e., total factor productivity) is increasing sharply and is now the highest in the ASEAN.
“Altogether, these three messages suggest strongly our economic growth is sustainable. It will no longer be a flash in the pan, or just be a boom-bust syndrome that we used to have earlier,” Pernia noted.
“Economic growth is affected by a lot of external and internal factors,” he cautioned. “Assuming that factors and circumstances are favorable, we are optimistic that we can achieve our objectives.”
The NEDA Chief said the 2017-2022 Regional Development Plan for Northern Mindanao represents the fulfillment of the PDP’s main thrust for regional development, geared to the long term development of Ang AmBisyon Natin, crafted through intensive, multi-sectoral, multi-level consultations to ensure it is the people’s plan.
“The Northern Mindanao RDP adopted the national development framework, which stand on the pillars of Malasakit, Pagbabago, and Pagtuloy na Pag-unlad. This is expressed in the region’s vision to be a major gateway and leading industrial core and trade center in Southern Philippines.”
To realize this vision, Northern Mindanao will implement strategic interventions, coined as GATEWAY, where G stands for good governance, peace and order; A for access , logistics and other infrastructure; T for trade, tourism and industry; E for environment and sustainable development; W for well being and improved welfare; A for agriculture and fisheries; and Y for youth empowerment and education.
“These interventions, supported by science, technology and innovation, will firmly drive the development of the region,” Pernia said. “While some may question the region’s capability to attain this goal, it is important to note that the region contributes an average of four percent to the country’s gross domestic product, and about 26 percent to Mindanao’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP).
The region also has the highest contribution to agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing in Mindanao, and is second to Davao in contributions to industry and services sectors in Mindanao.
“The region’s economy is mainly made up of manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, and trade sub-sectors. This confirms the potential of Northern Mindanao to be a major industrial hub, and trade center in Southern Philippines.”
Metro Cagayan de Oro
The PDPs national spatial strategy foresees Metro Cagayan de Oro becoming the country’s fourth metropolitan center by 20205 after Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao, based on its population growth and functional role as a principal gateway and transshipment hub in Northern Mindanao, and as a key industrial center in the region.
Pernia also noted the plan of the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines (USTP) based in Cagayan de Oro to make region a center of science and technology as a very promising and challenger specter, considering how it challenges the government’s plan to set up a techno-hub in Clark’s Green City.
The PDP further highlights the region’s potential particularly in the industries of banana, rubber, bamboo, cacao, coco coir, coffee, agribusiness, and tourism.
A big boost from E.O. No. 27
In a press conference following the PDP/RDP presentation, Pernia said he foresees projected growth would be further boosted by the President’s issuance of Executive Order No. 27, last June 1, 2017, directing all government agencies, and instrumentalities at the national and local levels, including GOCCs, to align their plans, programs and budgets, with the PDP.
“This means that the national government and LGUs need to closely work together, towards common goals,” Pernia noted. “With all these plans and programs aligned, and efficiently laid out, I am confident that Northern Mindanao will not only be the gateway, but also a leader in regional development in the country.”
“Let us work together to make sure that the socio-economic progress of each region, can seamlessly contribute, to a vibrant and self-sustaining, inclusive development of the country,” Pernia stressed. “Then and only then can the Filipino have a matatag, maginhawa and panatag na buhay.”
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