Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez today said the “wide gamut” of political and economic initiatives outlined by President Duterte in his first-ever State of the Nation Address (SONA) will let the new government put on the fast lane its 10-point socioeconomic agenda meant to disperse income and spell progress for all over the next six years.
Dominguez said the President’s must-do list for inclusive growth ranges from a “relentless” war on criminality and “fanatical” terrorism to a transport and communications infrastructure build-up to comprehensive tax reforms and prudent fiscal policies to attack poverty and create enough jobs, especially for the poor.
“President Duterte has spelled out in his SONA a wide gamut of political and economic initiatives that will let the new government put on the fast lane its 10-point socioeconomic agenda for a genuinely inclusive growth,” said Dominguez, “in keeping with his electoral mandate for our people to truly benefit from the nascent economic overdrive.”
“In unmistakable terms, the Chief Executive has spelled out what needs to be done between now and 2022 that will enable his Administration to bequeath to the next one a country that is much safer and an economy that is even stronger and more inclusive for the benefit of all Filipinos, especially the poor and underprivileged sectors,” Dominguez said.
“These sweeping initiatives are for us in Government to carry out and for Filipinos and private business to give their full backing to in order to guarantee a sustained high—and inclusive—growth for all,” he said.
Apart from announcing an all-out war against criminality and terrorism plus a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels, Dominguez pointed out that the President bared in his SONA a slew of measures meant to create enough jobs and attack poverty by promoting ease of doing business, reforming tax administration, accelerating infrastructure spending, modernizing agriculture and reversing traffic congestion in Metro Manila and other urban centers across the country.
Dominguez pointed out that to create an environment more conducive to private investments, the President has outlined pro-business initiatives, including cutbacks in personal and corporate income taxes, relaxing the bank secrecy law, creating alternative airports in Sangley Point in Cavite and at the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga, and establishing a national broadband plan that will include the provision of free wi-fi in certain public places.
President Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda comprises the following:
1. Continue and maintain current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary, and trade policies;
2. Progressive tax reform and better tax collection, indexing taxes to inflation — a tax reform package will be submitted to congress by around September of this year including expanded sin taxes to include junk food;
3. Increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business, including relaxing the economic provisions of the Constitution to attract foreign direct investments–except land ownership. Follow successful models used to boost business (e.g., Davao);
4. Accelerate annual infrastructure spending to account for 5% of GDP, with Public-Private Partnerships playing a key role;
5. Promote rural and value chain development, including increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and tourism;
6. Ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments, address bottlenecks among land management and titling agencies;
7. Invest in human capital development including health and education systems, and match skills and training to meet the demand of businesses and the private sector;
8. Promote science, technology, and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity towards self-sustaining inclusive development;
9. Improve social protection programs, including the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program; and
10. Step up implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on the number of children they can adequately provide for.