6%-plus growth to boost PH to high-income status

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The Philippines could become a high-income economy in 25 years if it sustains the above 6 percent economic growth achieved over the last five years, a Cabinet official said.

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Future leaders of the country, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said, must prioritize strategies under the proposed “Filipino 2040” initiative.

Filipino 2040, currently being finalized, contains strategies that will guide future administrations in transforming the Philippines into a modern and high-income economy, he claimed.

“Included in program is a long-term vision for the country that envisions what we want as a country or what our people would want to see for themselves and how are our leaders to lead us to ensure that our aspirations are achieved,” Balisacan told reporters earlier this week.

The underlying assumption is that if the Philippines sustains the pace of economic progress achieved in the last five years, it should become a modern, high-income country by 2040.

The Philippine economy grew by an annual average of 6.3 percent from 2010 to 2014. It is expected to grow above 6 percent in 2015.

Aspirations under the Filipino 2040 program, Balisacan said, requires a lot of things such as additional reforms to sustain gains made and deepening not only policy but also governance.

“This is to ensure that the economy will not go back again to the starting point that was … only 4.5 percent or 4 percent a year, and where social services are poorly provided, access to health and education is low, the probability of escaping poverty is low,” Balisacan said.

“We would need to ensure that the . . . chances that we will slide back to that is as low as possible and it requires commitments of our political leaders,” he said.

Balisacan said the National Economic and Development Authority, which he heads, was conducting focus group discussions and surveys nationwide to determine what various groups, social classes, sectors, regions and provinces want to see 25 years from now.

“We want to translate the results of this discussion into strategies, into scenarios on how you can get there,” he said.

“We create scenarios and how you get there, and that scenario can identify the policy . . . so that we can tell our policymakers, our politician, that these are the things that we need to prioritize.”

The Filipino 2040 blueprint is set to be completed by yearend and presented to the public early next year.

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