THE Philippines is projected to be one of the fastest rising economies in Asia, with 6.4 percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2017, accelerating to 6.5 percent in the second quarter.
But no less than the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has emphasized the need for economic growth to be felt by majority of the people, particularly the poor.
NEDA Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia acknowledged that while sustained economic growth is a necessary condition for poverty and inequality reduction (or inclusive growth), it is not sufficient.
Economic growth must be complemented by well-thought-out pro-poor programs to meaningfully lead to inclusive development, said Pernia in his presentation to the Cabinet last Monday.
Embodied in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, these pro-poor programs and policy reforms are designed to sustain economic growth towards inclusive development.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the first Mindanaoan to occupy the top political post of the land, assumed office in June 2016 and set to leave Malacañang at 12 noon on June 30, 2022.
And the pro-poor programs, including the highly-successful conditional cash transfer, K to 12 and free tuition in state universities and colleges, ought to be enhanced to make them more effective.
By implementing policy reforms and pro-poor programs, the Duterte government is on track in addressing the problems of hunger, poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
We, thus, urge government authorities to do something more effective regarding these problems, which continue to worry the suffering Filipino people, notably those in the countryside.
The Duterte administration should waste no time in implementing pro-poor programs if we are to sustain the country’s economic growth as we march with the fast-changing times.