Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Wednesday cited the successful anti-crime efforts and ambitious infrastructure program of President Rodrigo Duterte as the key engines that have propelled the country’s economic growth to greater heights.
“No doubt about it, the President’speace and development efforts were the twin engines that propelled our economic growth,” said Romualdez, one of the top contenders for Speaker in the 18th Congress.
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“If we can sustain this, we might just propel our economy to greater heights never seen before.
Romualdez said it was the duty of the 18th Congress to help sustain the successes of the President’s programs and projects by acting favorably and swiftly on the proposed legislative agenda that Duterte was expected to outline in his State of the Nation Address on July 22.
“We should not waste precious time in politics and bickering. We need to hit the ground running in the opening of Congress and help sustain this momentum for economic takeoff, said Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and the Philippine Constitution Association.
“Philippine GDP is expected to grow by 6.4 percent in 2019 and 2020. The inflation rates are forecast to fall from 3.8 percent in 2019 to 3.5 percent in 2020. Per-capita GDP growth is also expected at 4.4 in 2019 and 2020. Economic experts are right: the best is yet to come.”
Romualdez said the investors he had talked with had expressed confidence in the country’s economic prospects due to the success of the President’s war on crime and the breakthrough in his peace efforts in Mindanao.
“With the President staying just two years in office, the country’s crime rate is at all-time low and the local drug cartels are dismantled. Kidnappings are no longer a thriving industry and peace has been restored in the streets," Romualdez said.
“This the climate that investors are looking for before they decide to pump billions of pesos into our economy. It is no wonder that investor confidence in the Philippines is at all-time high.”
Aside from the improved peace and order situation, Romualdez said, investors also cited the ambitious infrastructure development program of President Duterte as one of the reasons for the upsurge in business confidence.
The Build, Build, Build Program seeks to accelerate infrastructure spending and develop industries that will yield robust growth, create jobs and improve the lives of Filipinos. Public spending on infrastructure projects is targeted at P8 trillion to P9 trillion from 2017 to 2022.
The key infrastructure projects under the BBB Program include six airports, nine railways, three bus rapid transits, 32 roads and bridges and four seaports that will help bring down the costs of production, improve rural incomes, encourage countryside investments, make the movement of goods and people more efficient and create more jobs.
The Duterte administration, according to Romualdez, has also scored points in the “Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and Trade Program,” which was developed to create and enhance industry-developing infrastructure in priority economic and manufacturing zones.
Under the program, a total of 9,610 kilometers of roads supporting industry and trade development were identified. As of 2019, P18.37 billion has been appropriated for the construction and upgrading of about 865-kilometer access roads leading to industries and trade corridors across the country. As of May 2019, 175.92 kilometers has been completed.
Romualdez also acknowledged as a big plus for investors the billions of pesos poured by the Duterte administration into programs and projects related to human development and social protection.
He specifically cited the free tuition in state universities, free irrigation to farmers, free Internet access in public places, the institutionalization of feeding programs for public school students, free medicines and financial support to indigent patients.
“Investors need a competent workforce for world-class products and services. The investments that we made in human development and social protection are now starting to bear fruit, Romualdez said.
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