The Duterte administration will hold the follow-up to its trailblazing “Sulong Pilipinas” consultative workshop on August 8-9 in Manila to meet anew with leaders of the business sector and assess the progress made on their recommendations last year on how to fulfill and carry out the government’s high–and inclusive–growth agenda.
The first Sulong Pilipinas workshop was held in June 2016 in President Duterte’s home city of Davao prior to his formal assumption to office to unveil before the business community and other stakeholders the then-incoming administration’s 10-point socio-economic agenda and gather additional inputs and feedback from the private sector on how to best realize its goals.
The Department of Finance (DOF) will host the follow-up two-day national workshop one year into President Duterte’s term.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III had also spearheaded the first forum, the “Sulong Pilipinas: Hakbang Tungo sa Kaunlaran” in partnership with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) on June 20-21 last year.
This upcoming forum was among the top DOF concerns taken up in the Department’s recent executive committee meeting.
According to the DOF, the follow-up forum aims to make an assessment of the Duterte administration’s first year and identify the priority actions that need to be done to speed up the implementation of the government’s development agenda.
The business sector had hailed the first Sulong workshop as a “seminal event” as it was the first time that an incoming administration had held extensive consultations with the private sector on what needs to be done to fulfill the government’s reform agenda.
In his keynote address at the first Sulong workshop, Dominguez had challenged the business community to partner with government in wide-reaching “coalitions for change” that would enable the country’s growth streak to continue.
He said then that both the private and public sectors need to jointly build reform coalitions behind the next administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda.
Dominguez had also called on the business sector to help the then-incoming government draw up new and correct metrics to understand how economic expansion could be more meaningful to majority of Filipinos.
These standards are meant to measure how the socioeconomic targets are beneficial to the poor and low-income families.
On the part of Government, Dominguez had said then that the Duterte presidency would continue with the sound macroeconomic policies that have allowed the economy to grow under the current administration, but would overhaul the policies and systems that have barred an overwhelming majority of Filipinos from partaking of such benefits.
This would require sweeping reforms from the incoming government, he said, ranging from much higher public spending on human and physical capital in order to improve living standards to tougher law enforcement that would make our homes and streets safe anew, Dominguez had said.
Against this backdrop, he said the incoming government would pursue “an environment that would be good for business” by, among others, leveling the playing field, carrying out investor-friendly initiatives, ridding the bureaucracy of graft and inertia, and freeing government agencies from “regulatory capture.”
With Dominguez at the helm, the DOF has begun carrying out such reforms via its anti-red tape program, implementing tax administration improvements in the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs, running after tax cheats, helping map out an unprecedented infrastructure program to sustain the economy’s high growth path, and urging the Congress to approve the first package of the Duterte administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), among other initiatives.