The Philippine economy grew unevenly in the last six years and failed to reach the majority of the poor, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said .
To correct such anomaly, NEDA is banking on its 25-year vision—Ambisyon Natin 2040—to do the job.
It will be translated into four medium-term development plans, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said during the Social Initiative’s Summit in Davao City on Wednesday.
In a presentation, Pernia said the economy expanded by a cumulative 43 percent from 2009 to 2015.
However, the incidence of poverty fell by only 2.3 percentage points from 28.6 percent in 2009 to 26.3 percent in 2015.
“Part of the explanation for this puzzle is the imbalance in the distribution of the benefits of this economic expansion, across regions as well as across sectors,” Pernia, who is also the NEDA director general noted.
Another reason is the significant increase in food prices, particularly rice, which upped the poverty line by almost 30 percent over the last three years.
The fast pace of population growth, with an additional 10 million Filipinos in just six years, also make poverty reduction more challenging.
“Clearly, economic growth was uneven. But the biggest criticism is that the benefits of economic growth have not been felt on the ground,” Pernia said.
NEDA’s response is the Ambisyon Natin 2040 survey to determine the aspirations of Filipinos so that developments plans can be formulated in such a way that help the people achieve their aspirations.
Held in January to February this year, covering 10,000 respondents in urban and rural areas, the survey showed that 70 percent of those polled want “a medium-sized home, enough earnings to support everyday needs, at least one car or vehicle, the capacity to provide their children college education, and going on local trips for vacation.
“Our intention is to translate the Vision into the next four medium-term Development Plans, while taking into account our international commitments like the Sustainable Development Goals,” the NEDA chief said.
Pernia said each of the plans must build on previous plans.
To reach the prosperity goal, the first Plan (2017-2022) could aim for reducing poverty and inequality in the first six years and eradicate extreme poverty by 2028, as well as expand the middle-class in the third Plan (2029-2034) and eradicate poverty by 2040.
“A higher growth trajectory can be attained beginning the second Plan (2023-2028) period, if we are able to provide the basis of a higher demographic dividend during the current administration,” Pernia noted.
The next five years will see the highest number of women of reproductive age. This means that the biggest population momentum could happen during this current Plan period.
“We need to significantly reduce fertility rate over the next five years, or else miss out on the demographic dividend altogether,” Pernia pointed out.
The first Plan could focus on expanding health care and implementing the Reproductive Health law for the country to nurse a healthy and resilient society.
The second Plan would reduce morbidity and the third Plan would promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage wealth build up and diversification.
For a smart and innovative society, the first Plan would continue education reforms, increase learning opportunities in the second Plan and improved the IPR framework in the third Plan.
The fourth Plan would encourage research and development and innovation, Pernia said.
To achieve a high trust society, the first Plan would focus on building trust in government, the second Plan on promoting harmony in diversity, the third Plan on cultivating national pride, and the fourth Plan on building pride in our national identity.