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PIA Press Release
Tuesday, January 03, 2012

 

News Feature: Gov’t to pursue inclusive growth

by Jaime S. Cabag, Jr.

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 3 (PIA6) -- When the government announced recently that it would start 2012 with a bang and accelerate spending for infrastructure projects with P141.8 billion, it was in effect, driving home the point that it was seriously pursuing its overall goal of “inclusive growth” spelled out in the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan.

Although mobilizing and increasing spending on public infrastructures is just one of the major fixes conceived by the government to achieve its goal, the government believes it will have a significant stimulating effect on the economy and reflects its resolve to catch up on slow although well-measured spending in 2011.

Sooner or later, something must be done to achieve inclusive growth. And the new year is just the appropriate time to do it.

No less than President Benigno S. Aquino III himself stressed the importance of inclusive growth in his message on the country’s development blueprint until 2016.

“Consistent with my commitment to transformational leadership, the Philippine Development Plan 2011 – 2016 adopts a framework of inclusive growth,” said President Aquino.

Just what is inclusive growth and why does the Aquino administration vigorously pursue it?

This development framework was adopted by the current administration to make economic and social progress become truly beneficial and meaningful to all Filipinos.

To the framers of the PDP, inclusive growth means growth that is rapid enough to matter, given the country’s large population, geographical differences and social complexity. Also, it is sustained growth that creates jobs, draws the majority into the economic and social mainstream, and continuously reduces mass poverty.

They admitted that the country’s growth has lagged. Since 1981, growth has averaged only 3 percent annually, well below the postwar growth rates of several high-performing Asian economies. It has also failed to benefit the majority. In other words, inclusive growth has been elusive.

The underpinnings of this poor growth include: inadequate infrastructure especially in transport and power due to weak investments in these sectors; major gaps and lapses in governance that have tended to hinder investments; inadequate levels of human development in terms of health, nutrition and education; and a poor and degraded state of environment and natural resources.

The government intends to achieve inclusive growth in the country through the PDP that in effect seeks to address the gaps. Listed in the Plan are strategies and programs to help put it in the government’s grasp.

These include making the industry and services sector competitive, promoting a competitive and sustainable agriculture and fisheries, massive investment in physical infrastructure, transparent and responsive governance, human development, employment generation, fiscal reforms, ecological integrity, higher education and science and technology, and putting an end to armed conflict and attainment of lasting peace.

In particular, human development programs include education, basic health care for all, Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), and the Conditional Cash Transfer or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Among the fiscal reforms conceived by the government are putting expenditures within bounds and placing the revenue system on an even keel, primarily through comprehensive coverage of taxpayers and uniform coverage of commodities and activities.

One major concern that government would also focus on is to ensure ecological integrity and mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Natural disasters and calamities can nullify hard-won gains by damaging physical infrastructure, directly endangering human lives and health, and destroying livelihoods, particularly among the poor and vulnerable,” said government planners.

Higher education and science and technology also have an important role in the development by serving as a platform for pursuing high-quality and high-productivity activities in business process outsourcing and tourism as well as for producing a critical mass of scientists, engineers and other technical personnel “that would allow the country to climb the value-added ladder in sectors where it possesses global competitive potential”.

President Aquino said “Through this Plan, we intend to pursue rapid and sustainable economic growth and development, improve the quality of life of the Filipino, empower the poor and marginalized and enhance our social cohesion as a nation.” (JCM/JSC/PIA6)

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