MARTIAL LAW declaration has no impact on Philippine growth momentum, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd as stated in the official statement of the Department of Finance posted on Facebook on May 25.
Dominguez said, “The economy is in no way threatened by the imposition of martial law. The military is in full control of the government installations and major infrastructure on the island.”
“Martial law will ensure that these facilities are protected so that business transactions will be unaffected,” he added.
Dominguez pointed out that President Duterte himself, upon his arrival from Russia, said at the airport that the government is prepared to do “anything and everything” to put an end to the lawless violence and restore normalcy in the affected areas as quickly as possible so as not to affect the economy.
“The economy is rapidly growing, it is expected to grow by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent during the year with both internal and external demand[s]contributing evenly to growth,” he said.
Although Marawi City is Lanao del Sur’s economic hub, Dominguez added, “the threats by lawless elements are contained in areas far from Mindanao’s major business centers and the military is doing everything to minimize these.”
“Martial law in Mindanao for a limited period is intended to protect the flow of commerce, protect the innocent and eliminate future threats to the communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines supported the President’s decision to wipe out terrorism to allow economic development.
A statement issued recently by the chamber said, “Acts of terrorism by [the Islamic State]and similar groups must not be allowed to even germinate; we are one with the world in protecting peace, security and safety as pre-requisites to progress and prosperity.”
Businessmen also support the decision of the President. In a recent “Pandesal” forum at Kamuning Bakery in Quezon City, George Siy, a businessman, said, “Martial law does not matter at all for businessmen. With the “Build Build Build” infrastructure strategy of the administration, what is important is to determine if projects are worth investing in. The government has to prioritize them, see to it that they are productive.”
The power of “DuterteNomics”
On April 18, DuterteNomics was officially unveiled by the Department of Finance and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), in cooperation with the Center for Strategy, Enterprise and Intelligence (CenSEI) through a forum.
DuterteNomics is the President’s economic and development blueprint for the Philippines. It includes the current administration’s main governance and fiscal policies, comprehensive big-ticket infrastructure pro, by 2022, transform the Philippines into a high middle-income economy.
The forum was divided into six sessions: Session 1: Economic Overview and Philippine Development Plan (PDP) Highlights; Session 2: Build Build Build Infrastructure Plan; Session 3: Fiscal Issues on Revenue and Spending; Session 4: Mindanao Economy/ Major Development Initiatives in Mindanao; Session 5: International Context and Environment for the Philippine Government; and Session 6: Reactions to DuterteNomics. The six sessions were presented by the President’s Cabinet members.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, also director-general of the National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA), presented the first session on the country’s recent economic performance and outlook, as well as the Duterte administration’s Medium-Term Development Plan 2017-2022, focusing on strategies for infrastructure development as one of the foundations for sustained economic growth.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar opened the second session on the Build, Build, Build Infrastructure Plan.
“The main program of the Duterte administration to grow the economy, reduce poverty and solve congestion in Metro Manila is to build, build, build,” Andanar said, noting that it is the first time in history that members of the Cabinet are working together to make the infrastructure plans of the government a reality.
“We will embark on the most ambitious infrastructure in history [that]will usher in the Golden Age of Infrastructure,” he added.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella mentioned that the government has created a Build, Build, Build portal (www.build.gov.ph) to underscore the administration’s commitment to transparency in governance.
“It’s a real-time tool where projects are monitored and tracked with relevant information made available to everyone. It’s a manifestation of the Duterte government’s commitment to ensure that all these projects will be corruption-free,” Abella said.
Joining Andanar and Abella in the discussion of the Build Build Build Infrastructure Plan were Pernia, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation, President and CEO Vince Dizon of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management .
Diokno discussed fiscal issues in revenue and spending in Session Three. The Budget chief also touched on additional investments needed to finance the administration’s development priorities, including Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train).
Business tycoons supported the project and attended the second forum.
DuterteNomics was also launched in Cambodia and China recently.
WITH JAIME R. PILAPIL