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Duterte gov’t identifies priority thrusts of development initiatives

Posted on August 15, 2016

POVERTY REDUCTION and disaster risk management will remain key priorities under the Duterte administration as the government drafts a new development plan, an official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a press statement yesterday.

NEDA Deputy Director-General Rosemarie G. Edillon outlined five priority areas of the government in line with the country’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), namely: poverty reduction and social inclusion; environmental sustainability, climate change and disaster risk management; accountable, responsive and participatory governance; fair and stable order based on international rule of law; as well as peace and security.

“The strategies will be mainstreamed in the next medium-term development plan, the Public Investment Program and the yearly Budget Priorities Framework, and will be further elaborated in the various sub-national and sectoral development plans,” Ms. Edillon was quoted as saying as she presented the country’s approach before a policy forum on SDGs held last month at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

The NEDA under President Rodrigo R. Duterte now leads the team crafting a new medium-term development plan for the country after he succeeded former president Benigno S.C. Aquino III, who ended his six-year term last June 30.

UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2000 which build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were targeted for achievement by 2015.

The Philippines met its MDG targets on improving infant mortality rate, eliminating the gender gap, as well as reversing cases of malaria and tuberculosis, but missed the goal of halving poverty and hunger incidence, according to the NEDA’s latest progress report.

Meanwhile, the SDG agenda seeks action on climate change, development of sustainable cities and communities, reduced inequality and 14 other goals that cover economic development, social inclusion and environmental stability by 2030.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said during the BusinessWorld Economic Forum last month that the Duterte administration will be targeting “poverty and inequality-reducing growth,” building on the Aquino government’s own thrust of “inclusive growth”.

Monitoring teams for the previous MDGs will be tapped to track progress of action on SDGs.

Economic managers of Mr. Duterte said they aim to reduce poverty levels by 1.25-1.5% yearly to end with a 16-17% rate by 2022, considerably lower than the 26.3% rate recorded as of end-June 2015 while supporting economic growth of 7-8%. -- M. L. T. Lopez