NEDA Board approves dev't plan, vows 'inclusive growth' under Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and his economic development team gave their nod to the blueprint that seeks to lift Filipinos out of poverty and boost growth in the rest of the country.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) announced on Tuesday, February 21, that the NEDA Board chaired by the President approved the final version of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 in their meeting on Monday night, February 20.

The plan targets a 7% to 8% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the medium term. The country's GDP grew by 6.8% last year and has averaged 6.2% growth over the last 6 years.

NEDA added that growth is expected to be more inclusive, as it aims to reduce the overall poverty rate from 21.6% in 2015 to 14% in 2022, and the poverty incidence in rural areas from 30% to 20%.

The government also included in the PDP its target to cut the unemployment rate from the current 5.5% to 3-5% by 2022.

Public trust, agriculture, investment

In order to achieve these targets, NEDA identified trust in the government, a renewed focus on agriculture, and attracting investment as priorities.

"Opportunities in agriculture will be expanded. We will increase our presence in the global market, and we will streamline bureaucratic processes for both local and foreign businesses," said NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon, who presented the PDP strategies to the NEDA Board.

Edillon added that "we will pursue strategies such as achieving quality and accessible basic education for all, enhancing disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) mechanisms, and adopting universal social protection."

In order to focus on regional growth, the new plan also includes for the first time a National Spatial Strategy (NSS). The NSS will identify concrete ways to decongest Metro Manila, connect rural areas to key growth areas, and improve linkages between settlements for higher resilience against natural disasters.

Anchored on vision

NEDA said the PDP 2017-2022 is the first medium-term plan to be anchored on a national long-term vision, or Ambisyon Natin 2040, which used surveys to discern Filipinos' long-term ambitions.

"The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 is close to a masterpiece and is unlike any other medium-term development plan I have read," said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

The PDP is also aligned with the Duterte administration's 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda and was crafted after a period of open consultations with stakeholders and the general public.

"By the end of 2022, Filipinos will be closer to achieving their long-term aspirations. Through this PDP, the current administration will lay a solid foundation for inclusive growth, a high-trust society, and a globally-competitive knowledge economy by grounding its development thrusts on malasakit, pagbabago, and patuloy na pag-unlad (care, change, and continued growth)," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia during his presentation at the NEDA Board meeting.

Following NEDA Board approval, and after minor revisions are incorporated, NEDA will draft an executive order mandating all government agencies to ensure that their programs, projects, and activities are aligned with the plan.  Rappler.com