Neda chief bullish on business after siege of Marawi
The country’s chief economist on Tuesday expressed confidence that the end of the Marawi siege would usher in increased optimism among businessmen as well as consumers in war-torn Mindanao.
“We are optimistic that the people of Marawi will be back on their feet as soon as possible. With this, we anticipate a renewed boost in business and consumer confidence in Mindanao,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement.
Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), was particularly optimistic about the resurgence of business activities.
“Investors who may have put on hold their plans to expand their business or set up new ones, as well as consumers who have postponed their purchases, can now carry out their plans with greater boldness and certainty,” Pernia said.
Citing expectations of more positive business and consumer confidence in the fourth quarter, as reflected in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ quarterly surveys, Pernia said such optimism would further boost economic growth.
“This confidence is expected to be reflected in the country’s gross domestic product growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the succeeding quarters of 2018,” the Neda chief said.
According to Pernia, Neda is currently in close coordination with the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), the interagency body spearheading the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the city, which was flattened by five months of fighting between government forces and the Maute terrorist group.
Besides being the lead in rehabilitation planning, Neda, together with the budget and finance departments, is also on top of resource mobilization, he said.
“The government is committed to integrating crucial peacebuilding activities in the recovery and rehabilitation program. The ensuing peacebuilding efforts will also help ensure stability in the Mindanao region and help attract longer-term investments and boost greater consumer confidence,” according to Pernia.
Neda said it had provided recommendations to build “safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient communities” in Marawi City, These include making the Maranao culture integral in rebuilding the city and neighboring local government units, including concerns on overlapping land claims; improving economic and social conditions as well as ensuring peace and security; and producing maps containing proposed land-use and urban plans.