PH to sustain investments in social, economic services programs

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MANILA – A ranking Department of Finance (DOF) official has vowed the government’s continued investments in social and economic services, and programs to bolster the domestic economy’s recovery from the pandemic.
In his speech during the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) annual scientific conference and 88th general member assembly on Wednesday, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said the domestic economy posted improvements since the third quarter of 2020 following the easing of quarantine restrictions.
“We are doing our best to bounce back and fiscal policy will be supportive of programs aimed at reviving the economy. We need to spend more money to assist our affected citizens and businesses. All governments in the world today are doing the same in order to regain business and consumer confidence and keep the wheels of the economy rolling,” he said.
After the decades-long 16.9-percent contraction of gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2020, the Philippine economy registered improvements in the next two quarters with prints at -11.4 percent and -8.3 percent, respectively.
Full-year contraction stood at 9.5 percent, within the government’s -8.5 percent to -9.5 percent target.
Economic managers aim for economic recovery of between 6.5 percent to 7.6 percent this year.
Beltran said higher government spending and reform measures like the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE), which has been approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act, which has been signed into law, are seen as the main economic drivers for this year.
These measures are “envisioned to enhance the country’s business environment and attract more investors,” he said.
Beltran cited the continued construction of infrastructure projects like roads and bridges which, he said, have the highest multiplier effect in the economy.
He also underscored the positive impact of the government’s digital initiatives, which got a big boost since the government implemented the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March to April in Luzon and until end-May in Metro Manila.
Beltran said “those who appreciated the sense of urgency are more prepared than others to transition smoothly to the new normal.”
“Nonetheless, we also need to address the technological divide within our society. Just like other products and services, digital technology and innovations become more valuable and beneficial to society if these are available, accessible, and affordable for all so that no one is left behind,” he added. (PNA)

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