Department of Finance

Diokno posts long list of achievements before stepping down as finance chief

Ralf Rivas

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Diokno posts long list of achievements before stepping down as finance chief

FINANCE CHIEF. The Commission on Appointments confirms the ad interim appointment of Benjamin Diokno as secretary of the Department of Finance, November 23, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

'I am proud knowing that I will be leaving my post at a time when the Philippine economy, in general, and the DOF, in particular, are in a better state of affairs than when I inherited them,' says outgoing Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno

MANILA, Philippines – Outgoing Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Friday, January 12, expressed confidence in his successor, House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto, saying that he is “pleased” to turn over the Department of Finance (DOF) to the lawmaker.

Diokno is going back to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as a Monetary Board member, according to a statement from the Department of Budget and Management. He served as BSP Governor from 2019 to 2022.

Diokno already sits at the Monetary Board, as one seat is allocated for a Cabinet member.

But before returning to the central bank full-time, the DOF enumerated Diokno’s achievements, noting that he is turning over the post with the Philippines “on solid footing.”

“I am proud knowing that I will be leaving my post at a time when the Philippine economy, in general, and the DOF, in particular, are in a better state of affairs than when I inherited them,” Diokno said.

Here’s a summary of his achievements:

  • Improved revenue generation: For the first 10 months of 2023, revenue collection grew by 9.4% to P3.2 trillion
  • Revenue collection exceeded the target by 5.2% due to better performance by the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of the Treasury
  • The Bureau of Internal Revenue and BOC were able to digitize some of its processes
  • Advocated reforms that will broaden the tax base, including reform on real property valuation and passive income; as well as excise taxes on pre-mixed alcohol, sweetened beverages, and junk food; taxes on single-use plastics; rationalization of mining taxes and motor vehicle road user’s tax.
  • Proposed value-added tax on digital service providers
  • Brought down the country’s deficit-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio for the first three quarters of 2023 to 5.7%, which is below the 6.1% full year deficit target of the entire 2023
  • Decreased debt-to-GDP ratio to 60.2%, below the target of 61.2% for 2023. External debt-to-GDP ratio was down to 28.1% as of the end of the third quarter of 2023, the lowest among ASEAN countries.
  • GDP grew by 5.9% in the third quarter of 2023, among the strongest in Asia. This, however, is still below target of 6% to 7%.
  • Maintained investor-grade credit ratings
  • Lowered inflation to an average of 6% in 2023. This, however, was still above the 2% to 4% target
  • During his term as finance secretary, unemployment reached a record low of 3.6% last November 2023 
  • Poverty incidence improved to 16.4% in the first semester of 2023 from 18% in the same period of 2021, equivalent to 230,000 households lifted out of poverty
  • Led 12 international Philippine economic briefings
  • As People’s Survival Fund board chair, he was able to approve P579 million worth of climate adaptation projects in 2023

Rappler.com

2 comments

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  1. ET

    If CESO-eligible government officials cannot be trusted in the highest positions of the government, then it would be better to scrap the CESO program and save some funds by doing so.

  2. ET

    A Politician replaced Diokno – is this a part of the Political Patronage system? Secondly, is there no CESO-eligible Assistant Secretary who is available and qualified?

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.