Jobs, rural dev’t focus of Aquino’s next 3 years
MANILA, Philippines—To prove his critics wrong, President Aquino is embarking on a jobs generation and rural development program in the next three years as part of the economic road map that he will present in his State of the Nation Address next month, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
After some hits and misses the past three years, the Philippine Development Plan was being “tweaked” to address realities on the ground, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told reporters at a press briefing.
The adjustments are geared toward generating more employment and developing the countryside to sustain domestic economic growth, Almendras said.
“The focus is on inclusive growth,” and the President’s instructions are to “make it happen at a greater magnitude and a faster rate,” he said.
This is the road map that Aquino will unveil when he delivers his Sona at the opening of Congress on July 22. The “pillars” of the road map will be completed before that time, Almendras said.
Unlike his predecessor, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was credited with building networks of roads and bridges in nine years, Aquino hopes to leave a legacy of a government that was “well-run,” Almendras said.
Aquino met on Monday with several Cabinet members, including Almendras, to conduct a “full-blown” review of economic issues in the past three years.
“We’re driving down planning to the level of execution,” Almendras said.
The Philippines reported gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.8 percent in the first quarter, outpacing China and other countries to make it Asia’s fastest-growing economy.
The construction industry registered the biggest expansion with 32.5-percent growth for the first quarter compared to only 29.9 percent in the last quarter of 2012. The manufacturing industry grew by 9.7 percent.
Malacañang said the government would focus on “fostering inclusive growth” in the face of criticism that Aquino was presiding over a “jobless economic boom.”
At the Monday meeting that lasted at least 10 hours, Aquino and his Cabinet tackled policies and programs that worked and those that didn’t in the past three years, and solutions to future challenges, Almendras said.