By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, News5-InterAksyon
MANILA, Philippines – Tax reforms, massive infrastructure, rural and agricultural productivity, and human capital development are among the key components of the socioeconomic agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte or Dutertenomics.
On April 18, Tuesday, the Department of Finance and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will hold a forum to discuss the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic reform agenda aimed at accelerating poverty reduction and transforming the Philippines into a “high middle-income economy” by 2022.
The “Dutertenomics Forum” will also showcase the government’s aggressive infrastructure plan, which will have a budget of some P8 trillion over the course of President Duterte’s six-year term.
For this year alone, some P860 billion had been programmed by the administration for public infrastructure, which targets to ramp up infrastructure spending to 5.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, or twice the 2.6 percent average in the past six administrations.
The website www.build.gov.ph, which contains information on government infrastructure contracts as well as drone images showing the progress of big-ticket infra projects, will also be launched at the forum, which to be held at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III will deliver the keynote speech at the forum, which will be preceded by a video message from President Duterte.
The other speakers at the forum are Secretaries Ernesto Abella (presidential spokesperson); Ernesto Pernia (National Economic and Development Authority chief); Benjamin Diokno (Department of Budget and Management chief); Mark Villar (Department of Public Works and Highways chief); Arthur Tugade (Department of Transportation chief); president and CEO Vince Dizon (Bases Conversion and Development Authority); businessman John Gaisano; and professor Richard Heydarian.
The President’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda focuses on:
- Continuing and maintaining current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary and trade policies
- Instituting progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection while indexing taxes to inflation
- Increasing competitiveness and the ease of doing business, drawing upon successful models used to attract business to local cities such as Davao, as well as pursuing the relaxation of the Constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership, except with regards to land ownership, in order to attract foreign direct investments
- Accelerating annual infrastructure spending to account for 5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, with public-private partnerships playing a key role
- Promoting rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and rural tourism
- Ensuring security of land tenure to encourage investments and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies
- Investing in human capital development, including health and education systems, as well as matching skills and training to meet the demands of businesses and the private sector
- Promoting science, technology and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity toward self-sustaining and inclusive development
- Improving social protection programs, including the government’s conditional cash transfer program, in order to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks
- Strengthening the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning.