Hopes to elevate individual average income to about P200k by 2028
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr aims to lower the poverty incidence to 9 percent before the end of his term in 2028, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday.
By then, Diokno added, the country should have attained an upper middle income status.
“We are shooting for a $4,046 per capita income for Filipinos,” Diokno said.
Diokno said Marcos will unveil his economic game plan at his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) later this month.
Diokno said the government would have enough funds as tax collections are expected to rise with economic growth.
“We are confident that our revenues will pick up,” Diokno said, while playing down his predecessor’s call to raise taxes to cover debts incurred during the pandemic.
Diokno said the economy is expected to grow 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent this year, and 6.5 percent to 8 percent from 2023 to 2028.
The Finance chief said the administration hopes to cut the deficit-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio from the current 9 percent to 3 percent by 2023.
The national debt-to-GDP level will also be reduced to about 60 percent by 2025, Dioko said, from the current 63 percent due to pandemic-related expenses.
Diokno added that the administration plans to spend 5 percent to 6 percent of GDP on infrastructure yearly from 2023 to 2028.
The government will also spend 5 to 6 percent of GDP on infrastructure annually from 2023 to 2028, Diokno said.
At the same briefing, Diokno said the President was “misunderstood” when he disagreed with the 6.1 percent inflation rate in June reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Diokno clarified that the President was referring to the full-year inflation rate, the year-to-date average of which stands at 4.4 percent.
He said Marcos was also correct in saying high inflation in June was not a problem unique to the Philippines because other countries are suffering the same problem.
“Among our peers, Indonesia’s overall inflation climbed to 4.4 percent in June from 3.6 percent in May. Meanwhile, Thailand’s inflation rate increased to 7.7 percent in June from 7.1 percent in May. Inflation in the Euro zone stood at 8.6 percent in June, the highest in 11 years. Meanwhile, the United States’ inflation rate in May reached a 40-year high of 8.6 percent,” Diokno said.
The increase in June was driven by increases in fuel and transport costs as well as higher prices for basic commodities.
Diokno said the government would work to maintain price stability.
Among the measures aimed at easing inflationary pressures are the fuel subsidies for public utility vehicle operators and drivers.
“Considering that oil prices are expected to remain elevated in the near term, the government will expedite the release of the second tranche of subsidies for the transport sector,” Diokno said.
The President said his administration will focus on providing long-term solutions to the problems hounding the agricultural sector as a key to building a strong economy.
Marcos, who heads the Department of Agriculture (DA) in a concurrent capacity, said the agricultural sector has a production shortfall in palay, corn, livestock, and fisheries.
“That is why I made agriculture the single highest priority of everything that we are doing. Because you cannot build a strong economy unless you have a foundation of a robust agricultural sector, which assures food supply even in emergencies. And that’s what we’re working towards,” he said.
“We need long-term solutions. Solutions that can take care of this problem. We no longer take care of the symptoms, we take care of the disease. And that’s what we are trying to do in agri. We have a ways to go.”
Short-term solutions include increasing production for the rest of the year.
He said he would try to address gaps in the value chain by encouraging integration.
“When you vertically integrate, there are savings all along the line. And hopefully that gets to the point that we can retail these agricultural products at a good price that’s affordable to people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said another round of wage increases is only possible if there is a supervening event that will warrant it.
Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum that the regional wage boards can issue a wage order only once in a given year as a general rule.
Within the 12-month period from the effectivity of the wage order, no petition for a wage hike may be entertained, except when there is a supervening condition, such as an extraordinary increase in prices of petroleum products and basic goods and services.
The existence of the supervening condition is to be determined by the regional wage boards and confirmed by the National Wages and Productivity Commission.
This comes as consumers and minimum wage earners continue to bear the brunt of soaring commodity prices, with the country’s inflation soaring to a three-year high of 6.1 percent in June.
Earlier, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPB) in the National Capital Region (NCR) granted a P33 increase for minimum wage earners in the region.