#AskNEDA Briefing on Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022
Opening remarks of Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua
February 4, 2021
Members of the Plan Steering Committee, I understand Secretary Dar of DA, Secretary Lopez of DTI, and Secretary Esperon of the NSC are with us, good morning. To other members of the Plan Steering Committee, our colleagues in NEDA and attached agencies, fellow public servants, our friends from the media, and to our fellow Kababayan, a pleasant morning!
The Original Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022
Almost four years ago, the NEDA Board approved the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 anchored on the government’s zero to ten-point socioeconomic agenda and geared towards the achievement of our long-term vision: Isang matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay para sa lahat.
The PDP serves as our guide in carrying out programs to provide the foundation for more inclusive growth, a high-trust and resilient society, and a globally competitive knowledge economy.
We started 2020 with a strong foundation and the country was likely to become an upper-middle income country in 2020 if not for COVID-19. Between 2015 and 2018, poverty fell from 23.5 percent to 16.7 percent of the population, lifting six million Filipinos from poverty, or four years ahead of our 2022 target.
Key reforms, such as the Rice Tariffication Law, helped to stabilize our inflation well within the government’s target of 2 to 4 percent. The comprehensive tax reform program expanded our fiscal resources, resulting by 2019, in the highest revenue-to-GDP ratio in decades at 16.1 percent and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio at 39.6 percent. In October 2019, we also had recorded the lowest level unemployment rate at 4.5 percent and underemployment rate at 13 percent.
These, together with our other reforms, including the National ID, the Universal Healthcare, the Ease of Doing Business, our prudent macro fiscal management, and our infrastructure or Build, Build, Build program, all have helped us prepare better for this crisis we have been experiencing since last year.
The Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022
Then came COVID-19. This disrupted our growth momentum and development trajectory. To address this unprecedented crisis, the government made the difficult decision of imposing community quarantines last year up to this year as it put a premium on saving lives and protecting communities from the virus, while beefing up our healthcare capacity. This is, of course, not without any consequence.
When we restricted the economy in the second quarter of 2020, GDP fell by 16.9 percent and the unemployment rate rose to 17.7 percent. However, improvements were seen with the gradual easing of restrictions. By the fourth quarter of 2020, our economy performed better with a smaller GDP contraction of 8.3 percent while unemployment rate dropped to 8.7 percent. This performance brings our full-year GDP contraction to 9.5 percent, which is at the low end of the DBCC estimate of -8.5 to -9.5 percent for 2020.
The Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022
The reality today is that the virus is not going to go away soon, and we will have to learn to live with it. We need to safely open our economy and address both COVID and non-COVID challenges—such as hunger, poverty, unemployment, and non-COVID-19 diseases.
Our focus for the next two years is to build a healthy and more resilient Philippines as the basis or foundation for the future. Today, we will be sharing with you the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. Our goal remains the same: to bring Filipinos closer to a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life. To achieve this, the Updated PDP’s strategies have been adapted to respond to the needs of today while preparing for the requirements of tomorrow. The task ahead is beyond thinking about what to do. It is more about coming up with ways on how we can do it together.
The Updated PDP will be presented by NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rose Edillon. We are also joined by our colleagues from various agencies who have worked hard with us in fine-tuning our strategies. This year and the next, we expect every one of us to work even harder and smarter to make good on our commitments in this Plan.
Conclusion: Whole-of Nation Approach Needed
For us to succeed, we will need to help each other. The road ahead remains long and challenging. However, it also presents us with many opportunities.
Together, as one nation, we need to work together, working not only on the what to do but on how to do it, and seize every chance to bounce back better. We all need to do our best to give ourselves, our families, and our country a chance of having the best future that we can possibly have.
Personally I did not plan to be in government, but when I did join government, I only had one main goal—and that is to make my son Ashby’s, who is five years old, future, his classmates’, and his generation’s, much better than mine.
May we stay safe always and healthy as we contribute to our nation’s development. Maraming salamat po!
– END –