DAVAO CITY: PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will articulate his vision of sustained and inclusive economic growth through peace and order and infrastructure investments in The Manila Times 5th Business Forum today at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.
This year’s Business Forum, dubbed “The Philippine Economic Outlook 2017: Peace Toward Sustainable Prosperity,” will tackle the economic prospects of the country amid significant policy changes under Duterte’s nascent leadership, highlighting national government policies and plans aimed at sustaining the growth trajectory of the Philippines, one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.
The Davao City forum will feature a high-caliber roster of speakers, led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, who will outline the Duterte administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program that will help finance what has been touted as the “golden age of Philippine infrastructure.”
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua will discuss how the Philippines can benefit from the One Belt and One Road initiatives, Beijing’s ambitious development and global connectivity strategy that encompasses Asia, Europe and Africa.
Richard Bolt, Philippine country director of the Asian Development Bank, will give forum participants an economic update as well as highlight the country’s prospects and development challenges.
Alexander Cabrera, chairman and senior partner of PwC Philippines, will discuss how a fast-growth country like the Philippines can thrive in a “slow-growth world,” while Corazon Guidote, senior vice president of SM Investments Corp., will map out a strategy for the Philippines to move toward its economic potential.
To cap this year’s Business Forum, The Manila Times Chairman Emeritus Dr. Dante A. Ang will bestow the “Man of the Year” 2016 award in recognition of a pivotal event in the nation’s history and the person who made it happen.
The 2016 Man of the Year will be given to “the leader of the masses who broke the mold of traditional politics and rose to power to set a new direction for the Philippines on the path of graft-free governance and new foreign policy partnerships toward real peace, a society free of illegal drugs, and sustainable prosperity,” Dr. Ang said.
‘A home for every Filipino’
The Business Forum will also serve as a venue for the country’s largest real estate and housing group to push for the adoption of its proposed five-point agenda for housing to address the ever-increasing housing backlog, estimated by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council at 5.7 million units as of 2016.
Charlie A.V. Gorayeb, national president of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations, Inc.
(CREBA), said the group’s policy and legislative reform proposals aim to raise annual housing production to 500,000 units to address the housing backlog and demand over the next 20 years. “Three major issues need to be addressed towards a holistic and effective national shelter program: land, governance and finance,” Gorayeb said.
CREBA wants a Centralized Home Financing Program that will run a secondary mortgage market system to make long-term and affordable financing accessible for millions of qualified low-income earners.
The group said the resulting surge in beneficiaries – both formal and informal – can be covered by a proposed P350-billion fund from bond investments by the Social Security System (P5 billion), Government Service Insurance System (P25 billion) and the Pag-IBIG Fund (P70-billion), P200 billion from the banking system’s unused lending portfolios for agriculture-agrarian purposes, and the P50-billion informal settler families (ISF) housing provision in the national budget.
“This is a crucial yet promising time for the country,” said CREBA national chairman Noel Toti M. Cariño. “So we, in CREBA, appeal to government – particularly our policy-makers and the legislature – to provide housing the priority it deserves given its huge pump-priming economic multiplier effects that impact job creation, tax generation and over-all social advancement,” he added.